Thumbs Up

Tonight the husband ordered sushi for dinner.  While he was chatting with the restaurant owner before hanging up the phone, I debated with myself whether to request a roll or two of my own.  "No," the eating disorder shrugged in casual victor.  "Apples for dinner."

Later, I was slicing apples with a knife we got as an engagement present from some very generous family friends (translation: high-quality knife).  The knife was smallish and serrated. I was on my very last chop of the last apple slice.  I was chopping a little inattentively.  I was laughing at something my husband said.

I think you see where this is going.

I felt the knife slice into my thumb tip and immediately clamped my right thumb over the left-hand slice.  I jumped up and down in a fair impersonation of Mario or Luigi, and I hopped to the bathroom to stick my hand under cold water.  "I really don't want to look," I said.  I've cut my fingers before, once deeply enough to scare me, but in general my own blood doesn't bother me.  Bodies don't bother me in that way.  When my husband had his pilonidal cyst excised, I stuffed the healing wound with gauze for two weeks with no problem.  Here I'd felt the knife go into my thumb tip more deeply than would do for a Band-Aid, but I know that fingers are bleeders (thanks to my previous deep thumb slice taking place with my mother at hand), so it was the sensation that bothered me more than the idea of the blood.  I didn't want to see my skin hanging apart, so I kept my right hand clamped down on my left, and both under the faucet, and I opened my eyes.

I glanced down at the tap water running over my hand and saw it pooling distinctively pink over our drain.  And despite the fact that I know my own blood doesn't bother me, seeing the blood gushing enough to color swift water really bothered me.  I started crying.  My thumb didn't hurt.  (I mean, it did, but not in an alarming way.)  I simply found myself deeply upset.

The husband came into the bathroom to ask if I wanted to go to the ER, a little perplexed by the fact that I was crying not out of pain, but out of sheer distress.  I told him no, but asked if he could run out for butterfly closure strips when he'd eaten.  He put his sushi in the fridge and went out.

When he left I began to feel nauseous, then woozy.  I kept crying, but more quietly.  I kept my hand under the water, running perfectly clear now.

He came back, opened a bandage for me.  I realized I'd have to let go of my thumb and view the open slice in order to bandage it.  I'd been applying enough pressure that the blood had stopped and didn't immediately well up when I released my thumb.  I looked at the slice, looked into it.

I started having dry heaves.  I started seeing stars.  I was absolutely hyperventilating as I plunked down on my bum and slid forward on the bathmat, slumped against the sink.  I was laughing like a creepy wind-up doll.  I thought, for only the second time in my life, that I was really and truly going to faint.  It took two tries to get a bandage on.  (I wouldn't let the husband do it because he has dirty man hands and I've seen him pick his nose with those fingers.)

Things I Learned:

1a.  I have viscerally accessible existential issues with being separated from pieces of my body.  This seems reasonable, given that you aren't really supposed to lose certain pieces.

1b.  While I have no problem getting up close and personal with pilonidal cyst wounds or the goo that comes out of a ganglion, I do not want to look into my own body if I'm not supposed to be able to see into wherever I'm looking.  I would psychoanalyze the shit out of that aversion if I felt like it.  I don't feel like it.

2.  I would be terrible in zombie combat operations.  Or any combat zone, really.

3.  Just have the damn sushi for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. When I was in grade school, I poked my friend in the butt with the eraser end of a freshly sharpened pencil. The lead tip went straight into my palm and stuck there. I panicked and prompty began shaking my hand all about. The pencil flopped back and forth repeatedly until I finally yanked it.

    There's not much point to this story, but I remember feeling overly traumatized by the event.

    Anyway, I like your blog.


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