I mentioned it in passing on Friday night when I was eager to get to the market to get the ingredients for White Bean, Chard, and Pancetta pot pies and didn’t want to be writing or thinking about what happened… but I’m ready to talk about it now.
In a haphazard attempt to pry apart two frozen salmon patties on Thursday evening, I put a butcher knife into my hand. It happened super fast, and I acted fast too. I piled paper towels up on it, wrapped the hand in ace bandage and knowing that I had put enough pressure on to stop the bleeding then resting my hand on top of my head, put the salmon patties on the stove to cook and paced around my apartment wondering what to do next. I sat down at the computer for a moment and googled “how do I know if I need stitches” which revealed nothing… Then I called my mom, who in her attempt to avoid coercion encouraged me to go see a doctor without telling me to go see a doctor. Then, knowing they would tell me to go in and get it checked out, I called the nurse advice line at my insurance/medical provider (anyone else see an issue with the insurer and the provider being the same entity? yeah. me too… we can discuss that later though) and waited on hold for about 15 minutes before hanging up.
Having had responded so quickly to the stabbing I really wasn’t sure what I was dealing with so I went back to the scene of the crime to do a little investigation. What I remembered from the glimpse I got of the wound was that it was about an inch long… and what I remembered from how it happened I knew the knife went straight in. So, I looked at the tapered point of the knife and discovered that in order to make a cut an inch long it would have had to be embedded in my flesh about an inch deep. Yeeouch.
Next step: get on the phone with Devon who was housesitting for a friend who lives only 4 minutes away and asking to be taken to urgent care. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal to most… but this was hard for me to do. First, deciding to go to a doctor rather than attempting to sew/steri-strip up my own hand is pretty big for me. Second, deciding that I needed someone to help me (and Spiderman, he’s home this whole time engrossed in a cartoon oblivious to the carnage going on behind him) get there safely rather than believing in some false super powers I have, also a biggie… and third, asking the person I’m in love with and have been dating for four months, but am not officially “in a relationship” with (until a couple days later-woot!) and who is very squeamish and may be very uncomfortable in this situation… um… SUPER HUGE. The “worst case” scenario in my head was that we get to the doctor, they tell me I’m fine, put a band-aid on me, call me dramatic with their eyes, and I’ve wasted Devon’s time, she’s been miserable having to deal with my kid and my bloody hand, and I feel guilty and full of shame.
What can I say? I got issues.
On the way to urgent care the nurse advice line called me back and started asking questions about what happened. I tried to answer but I’m still sensitive to the potential worst case scenario so I’m trying to describe it while not describing it as Devon tries to move as far away from me in the car as a driver can move from the person in the front, passenger seat. Urgh–is the worst case scenario happening before my eyes?! Eventually I use my gift for radical honesty and tell the advice nurse why I’m being so elusive and she speeds up her assessment and tells me I need to be in the Emergency Room, not the urgent care office. Instead of hearing “you’re seriously injured” I heard an addendum to the worst case scenario that I can’t recall well enough to describe in detail, but definitely is about taking the drama up a few notches.
Of course the worst case scenario doesn’t happen… it rarely does with me because I have a gift for imagining things up that are worse than life gets. We go to the ER. Angus and Devon play, I’m a charming, pleasant patient as usual. I get 5 stitches which seems to be an appropriately dramatic treatment for the level of drama of the injury itself. The ER nurse is all in tune with my drama motive and gives me an extra bulky bandage that will draw lots of attention. He also tells me to use a butter knife next time which is helpful because I had been thinking to myself:
“self, how are you going to prevent this from happening again? I know you and I know it’s not likely that you’re going to change your behavior… you WILL try to pry something frozen apart with a butcher knife again and hopefully you’ll remember to put your other hand in a safer place next time. I guess that’s the best chance we’ve got.” And… instead of that half ass attempt at self-preservation I got to keep my foolish behavior and still be safe by just using a different tool! brilliant!
I tried to apologize to Devon for taking her away from her evening plans and she was lovingly reassuring that this is what she was supposed to be doing this evening which even the broken, worst case scenario creating parts of me believed. We go back home (Spiderman threw a tantrum about potato chips on the ride home which was unpleasant, but hey… we all survived) and I still manage to get to bed before 10pm that night which was my goal for the entire day.
And the next day… I am high on life! If I think about the injury and how it happened I feel pretty wiggly inside (and not in that good “wiggly in my panties” kind of way) but if I just accept the attention that comes from having the dramatic bandage and think about how loved I feel after the whole worst case scenario turned best case scenario thing I am goooo-oood. And this feels surprising! I mean, I have a pretty major injury and it hurts (but I almost don’t feel the pain because I am so happy in the head)… But I chalk it up to the reward of doing right by myself: allowing myself to get vulnerable and ask for help, and accept it, and have it work beautifully and feel loved and… yeah–good stuff. I spend zero time wondering why it happened or what I’m supposed to learn from it or exploring the symbolism behind causing myself so much harm (yadda yadda-my normal headspace-yadda yadda) and I am just really fucking proud of myself.
|hello. i am a caterpillar. aren’t i cute?|
And the day after that… I find myself staring at my hand in the shower moaning “somebody stabbed me!” and it’s gone a bit downhill since. The pain has been more present, the bruising on my palm is getting darker before the dawn, and in general I feel a bit assaulted. I still haven’t gone into “why do I hate myself enough to stab myself in the hand” because it feels unproductive and untrue… BUT I have definitely been a whiney-whiner-pants and I’m hurt by what happened.
My hand looks gnarly… and also like a caterpillar is sitting on it, but mostly gnarly… and it hurts my feelings to think about/recall/experience that someone stabbed me in the hand (and that someone was me).
I’ll write something about dildos on Wednesday. Promise.