Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pieces of Me (Part I)

WARNING: This posting is a detailed account of a painful injury I that I inflicted on my hand. If you cringe easily at the mention of blood, you might want to skip this posting.

If you look closely at my left index finger, you can see a white splotch about the size of a pencil eraser. This splotch is a scar -- one so thick that I can no longer feel sensation with the tip of my finger. Once, while sewing, I accidentally pushed a needle into my fingertip and did not notice until I looked down upon my hand.

This is the story about how I got that scar; how, one day, I went to school and sliced off my entire fingertip as neatly and as cleanly as you'd slice the top off a ripe strawberry.

One morning when I was in fifth grade, a large box arrived on my family's porch. Looking for goodies, I picked up the box and tore into it. Inside, I found a variety of stainless steel scissors with orange handles. I picked out the smallest pair and made a few quick snips through the air. As the metal ends opened and slid back together, they made a bright and satisfying "zing." I loved it. I stuffed the scissors into my backpack and dashed to school.

That day, the class project was to cut shapes from sheets of paper that we would use to decorate the classroom. I excitedly took out my new pair of scissors. I took a sheet in my left hand and held it with my thumb on the top side and the forefinger was underneath. I started snipping.

I only knew I had cut myself when I felt the cold steel brush against the skin. The scissors were so sharp that I hadn't felt any resistance in the handles. The metal edges sliced through my finger with no more effort than it took to cut through the paper. Zing. I looked down and saw the round, peach colored fingertip where it landed on my desk. The blood drained from my face. I looked at my hand.

I had sheared off so much skin, I exposed the bright, red muscle of my finger. My muscle twitched, like it was bewildered by the light it should never see. Blood began to seep out and run over the thick rim of skin around the muscle. I screamed and ran to the class sink to wash the wound. This was a mistake. The cold water on my raw muscle caused excruciating pain, and I shook my hand, sending droplets of blood splattering in the sink, on the walls, on the floor, and on myself.

From the sink I ran to my teacher to ask for a pass to the nurse's office. One would think my teacher might have prepared one during this time or commanded me to run there right away; however, though a lovely, well-meaning woman, she was not a person of decisive action. I stood there at least a minute and a half, dripping blood onto my shoes, as she fumbled with her desk to find one and fill it out. Pass in hand, I sprinted down the stairs and down the hall to the school nurse.

I hoped as I ran, that the school nurse would be the end of the ordeal -- that she'd hear my frantic footfalls and meet me at the door, ready to leap to action with anesthetics and bandages in hand. Of course, it didn't happen that way. The avalanche of moron tax that I set in motion when I picked up those scissors was still gaining speed.

to be continued...

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