|An Indian Lady by Thomas Hickey|
I’m afraid that this Sunday series on snippets of wisdom gleaned from my mother is going to end up being rather short due to lack of material, but hopefully they’ll be inspiring while they last.
“Don’t let boys give you a hickey because it can give you a blood clot that can travel to your brain and kill you.”
This potentially life-saving tip was delivered unto me when I was about 16.
At the time, I was in possession of a big, fat, purple hickey that I thought I was hiding pretty well. In retrospect, I think probably not. Knowing my mother, it is unlikely that it was simple happenstance that led her to produce this hickey hokem out of thin air. Anyway, for once, don’t ask me why, I believed her.
I wish now that I’d let boys continue to give me hickeys and had believed her about staying out of the sun instead, but youth is wasted on the foolish.
After she told me this, I, as a general rule, didn’t allow boys to give me hickeys. Occasionally, I’d get one anyway (shrug) and then sit and worry that I was going to die.
Years passed. I thought my hickey days were over. I got married with this hickey wisdom secretly nestled deep within my psyche just waiting for the day I could impart it to my daughter were I lucky enough to have one.
One day my husband and I were wrestling around and he attempted to hold me down and give me a hickey. I fought for all I was worth. But since he’s bigger and stronger, he was able to get me in a hold that I couldn’t escape. Then he started to suck on my neck while I screamed and thrashed (and my husband insists that I insert here that I also was giggling because he doesn’t want my readers to think he’s some sort of hickey pervert or something).
Finally, realizing that death was imminent, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “NO! STOP! I’m going to get a blood clot to the brain and die!
That was all it took to break the suction because apparently you can’t suck on someone’s neck while laughing hysterically. In my mind, attempted murder is no laughing matter, but that’s a fight we’ll discuss on another day.
So, that brings me to the question: Was my mother right? Can a hickey kill you?
It is difficult to get a clear answer. I checked on Snopes, from whence all urban myths are blown, and they don’t even address this urban legend.
WikiAnswers says, “Yes.” But doesn’t give any more information than that.
ChaCha and Ask.com both say “No.” They assert that a hickey is merely a bruise from broken capillaries in the neck and that you can’t be killed by a hickey any more than you can be killed by any other bruise.
But it appears now that my mom may have been right.
MSNBC Weird News reports that on January, 21, 2011, a New Zealand woman was partially paralyzed after suffering a stroke as a result of a hickey on her neck. She didn’t die. They gave her some blood thinners and I guess she’s all better now.
While, in fact, this is the first, (and, my husband insists that I insert, “only”), medically documented case of a hickey causing a blood clot to go to someone’s brain, this wouldn’t have fazed my mom at all since she considered herself prescient. If she were here, she would smile knowingly at me, and I would roll my eyes just like I did at most things she told me.
So there you have it. Wisdom to live by. And Mom, because I know how much these words mean to a mother even if they are a little late in coming, “You were (maybe) right.