If You’re Gonna Spew, Spew Into This…

Once we put vacation behind us, I also thought that we could put flu season behind us as well. I know, you’re probably at home shaking your head at me and thinking, “you silly girl…when are you going to realize that you have chosen to work in an incubus of germ and snot?”

I guess sometimes I like to think that after years of hard work, and multiple advanced degrees that maybe, just maybe, my work place is somewhere that welcomes dry clean only pants and doesn’t insist on giving me hideous ailments such as ringworm (oh yes…I said ringworm), the flu and snot-caked pants. But alas, pee, runny noses and wadded up tissues are my life.

Now, let’s not get it twisted. While I have resigned myself to dealing with SOME aforementioned bodily fluids, there are still some that I prefer to keep out of the classroom. Such as puke, barf, boot…whatever you like to call it. And for some reason, the kids puke ALL THE TIME. I do not remember so much puke in my elementary school years. I chalk it up to the declining quality of cafeteria food combined with a steady diet of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for breakfast.

Usually there is a warning when someone is about to blow chunks. They will raise their hand with their other hand clutched across their mouth. Or start to dry heave. Or just run out of the classroom and I assume it had to be pretty urgent.

Friday a little girl calmly raised her hand (which shows she was listening when we talked about how screaming doesn’t get things done any faster…) and said, “Mrs. Mimi, I need to hurl.”

To which I replied, “Do you think you can make it?”

She nods her head yes, and with my blessing is soon off to boot all over the bathroom. When she returns, she looks pretty foul. I decide that she doesn’t look ready to puke-and-rally (a term I’m sure many of you are familiar with from the college years..) and send her to the nurse with a friend. I scribble out a note on a nearby post it and send the girls on their way.

Several minutes later the girls return and Pukey Patty looks a bit worse for wear.

“Mrs. Mimi, we went to the nurse’s office but she said we needed to come back to class to get an Official Pass.”

“What?! An Offical Pass??!?” (insert an incredulous tone dripping with moderate sarcasm here)

“Yes. She said you should know better than to send her a note on regular paper.”

“Let me get this straight. You handed her my note about Patty and she sent you back to class??”


“Is Pukey Patty ok?? She doesn’t look so good..”

“She threw up again. But the nurse told us to leave, so I took her to the bathroom to do it.”

“Ah, I see.”

I sent the two girls back down to the nurse’s office after digging up an Official Pass.

Ten minutes later, the girls returned once again.

“What’s the problem now??”

“The nurse says Patty isn’t really sick enough. She wrote you a note.”

“Let me see it.”


Oh no she didn’t.

About thirty seconds after I finished reading the nurse’s absolutely ridiculous note, Patty barfed again. A lot. But my poor little friend managed to make it to the trash can. She’s such a good girl.

Then, despite some better judgement, I sent Pukey Patty and her friend back down to the nurse for a third time. This time they carried the trash can full of boot with them. They also carried a note:


And wouldn’t you know it…but my little helper came back to class alone and poor Pukey Patty mercifully got to go home.

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  • Oh, awesome! I love that you actually gave her the puke! Too funny…

    March 2, 2008 at 3:57 am
  • WOW! That’s a great story – sorry, at your collective expense. In almost 5 years at my middle school, I’ve only seen barf in my presence once (after kid asked me to go to nurse, I said write out a pass for me to sign, and he did, then barfed on the floor).

    Another kid felt sick while taking her ELA state exam, so I walked her to nurse, who said go back to your exam, and she did, then barfed on her exam paper (but not in my presence), which was cleaned off and placed in plastic baggie and later scored. Was that too much info? Sorry. Good times.

    March 2, 2008 at 4:51 am
  • haha, I like the comment about scoring the puked score card; that’s hilarious.

    I like your blog. I’m in school to do more of a high school scene, but school-related sarcasm is always a good thing.

    March 2, 2008 at 5:30 am
  • That post was freakin’ puke-tastic! I am having similar issues in my classroom, only it’s coming out the other end… I just blogged about it the other day, coincidently!

    Hang in there!


    March 2, 2008 at 5:49 am
  • “an incubus of germ and snot” – how true!!!

    can’t recall anyone having puked in my actual classroom (think i would remember!) but have had plenty wet themselves! not good…not good at all!

    we have a certain staff member in the office who sounds a bit like your nurse! so happy to hear you got the opportunity to send that poor girl back with a bin full of puke!!

    March 2, 2008 at 12:00 pm
  • I know! They throw up ALL THE TIME!!! It’s redic. Sometimes it’s as often as once a week. I used to think they were faking to get out of class, but now I don’t care. They go straight to the nurse.

    March 2, 2008 at 6:22 pm
  • That’s why I teach the older kids- and it must be nerves, but in 10 years, the only time I’ve seen a kid puke was during the ELA exam. After that, administration took my constant nagging for hall monitors during state exams seriously.

    I hope the kid’s mother comes up screaming at the school nurse. What could have only been more perfect was an official pass, covered in vomit (is that official enough for you?)

    March 2, 2008 at 8:40 pm
  • Aw! What a sweet child Patty is to be so calm and collected while so ill. Poor thing. And what a nasty nurse!

    I once had a kid who could barely keep his eyes open without wincing and tearing up. I sent him to the nurse three times, but they just kept sending him back.

    And one of my students threw up during the state test too! It was a couple years ago and I didn’t even hear it; I just saw the other kids react. But for the most part, I’m glad I have older ones who can mostly control themselves. 🙂

    March 2, 2008 at 10:21 pm
  • i hate not recognizing when the child is about to puke. About two weeks ago J. raised his hand and very calmly says, “I don’t feel very well.” I called him over to me and felt his forehead, no fever, so I told him to go get some water. Ever so sweetly he agrees but before he leaves my room he gets sick all over the rug and two of his friends. ICK!! I felt horrible.

    Oh, and as for ringworm… I’ve gotten it. Yep, and lice too.
    “I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.”

    March 3, 2008 at 2:52 am
  • Anonymous

    i’m not a teacher and i don’t even play one on tv but i have MANY friends who are teachers so i can totally relate to your blog. i am actually a clerical sub in the office where my 2nd grader goes to school and there is no nurse on site. the secretaries are the nurse and they are constantly tending to barfing, lice, fevers, pink eye, bandaids…you name it, they take care of it. your nurse deserved to get a garbage can of vomit; too bad no one had anything coming out the other end!!

    hang in there; the world needs great teachers and you sound like one of the best–i just wish you had better support!

    santa clara, ca

    March 3, 2008 at 3:36 am
  • ygpunfsdTeachers work in Petri Dishes, eh?

    I think +all+ school nurses should get staionery that has that as the header..”No facilities for runts who aren’t sick.”

    Whatta crock:) I got that message a good bit too…


    March 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm
  • hehehe

    I wuvv how I started that previous comment w/ the WORD VERIFICATION

    March 3, 2008 at 3:14 pm
  • I am very fortunate to live in a town with an amazing school district. We have 2 full time nurses and they could not be nicer. Last year my oldest got a nosebleed and they pre-treated the stain for me! And yes I did send flowers and bake them mufins.

    Love your blog


    March 3, 2008 at 5:00 pm
  • Loved this story, too!! We can ALL relate!

    March 4, 2008 at 12:48 am
  • Anonymous

    Geez, your nurse sounds a lot like the one we have. Wait, make that HAD, until she was forced to resign. I too sent down the “vomit bucket”. She returned the kiddo and the bucket back with the vomit still in it, with the message, “You find someone to clean it.” Yeah, because having a bucket of vomit sitting in my classroom until I can get ahold of the secretary, who has to get ahold of a custodian, is really sanitary!

    And yep, I’ve battled the ringworm too. Her solution when kids were sent to her for it? Tinactin and a band-aid. No phone call home. I guess she felt like that was my job too.

    Thank goodness she’s gone!

    March 4, 2008 at 1:03 am
  • Anonymous

    I think this post is speaking directly to you!

    How funny …

    March 7, 2008 at 3:59 pm
  • Dude, you’re my hero.
    We just sent one of our APs down to the elementary (from high school)as a full principal. A youngish 6-5 jock type who has never worked below middle school. I wish I was a security camera…

    March 10, 2008 at 1:26 am
  • OK. That is just the best story. Good for you, telling Nurse Ratchet where to go! Love it!

    March 11, 2008 at 12:07 am
  • Anonymous

    I can relate. Whenever I send a very green kid to the nurse and he comes back saying “I don’t have a temperature. She said to drink water.” I just email their parents to come get them and since I can see the parking lot, I send them again just as parent arrives. Works everytime.

    March 17, 2008 at 9:28 pm
  • I’d say that was an unbelievable story, except that it happened to me, almost word for word. (And Lord bless the poor kid who was in the middle of it.)

    There ought to be a law against that kind of stupidity.

    I envy your ability to put pedagogical horror into entertaining stories! 😉

    Hugh aka Repairman

    March 18, 2008 at 4:37 am
  • Robyn

    Oh! OH! I have heard it said before, and will continue to believe : THERE IS NOT A SINGLE SCHOOL NURSE THAT LIKES CHILDREN. !! Why do nurses insist that we lie. The girl is sick! And for the “official note”……….. glad you told her!

    March 21, 2008 at 4:04 pm
  • this was the best story ever. . . unbelievable!

    March 19, 2009 at 4:57 am
  • I’m sure there are school nurses out there who truly love children, but I’ve not had the good fortune to meet one. Perhaps they start out as cock-eyed optimists, just like teachers do, but they become angry rather quickly.

    My kids have learned the hurling procedure: take the trash can outside, when you finish, tie off the bag and take it to the dumpster, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, rinse out your mouth, bring the trash can back, and then I can give you a note to the nurse.

    Your story was awesome – the “Official Note” part was almost as good as the image of a kid carrying a bucket of puke 🙂

    June 1, 2009 at 1:53 am
  • What kind of nurse does something like that!? That's a pretty good one!

    January 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

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