Scarred for life

Today’s Plinky prompt: “Tell the story of a scar, either real or imagined.”

Well, I’ve got a good one for you.  It’s real.  On my right hand; my ring finger.  I was 8 years old, in the 4th grade.  But first, here’s some back story:

I’ve never been Ms. Sally Homemaker.  When little girls dream of what they’re going to be when they grow up, my fantasy *always* included a job and a life outside of my home.  I don’t even think I really wanted children.  Not then, at least.  I didn’t dream of the big wedding.  I didn’t imagine myself being the “little woman” to some “big man.”  As a matter of fact, I generally thought men were disposable.  They weren’t consequential, at least.  I saw my mother who, back then, was a proud and hard-working woman.  I liked the person she was.  That is irrelevant to my story though.

The point of this little back-story is that I never liked housework.  I liked to cook, but only because I liked the experimentation and the wow factor for people who ate my food.  I still do.  But cleaning and laundry and general house chores?  Hated it then.  Hate it now.

My family was particularly fond of me doing the dishes.  That was the dreaded chore in our home.  I, of course, loathed it, too.

On one occasion, my mother asked told me to do the dishes.  I was angry with her and instead of throwing a tantrum, I decided I would disobey her request to use as little dish soap as possible.  I grabbed the large bottle of blue Dawn liquid and squirted a good cup worth of the potent suds-maker into the sink and filled it with water.  I washed each dish with intent.  I wasn’t slamming dishes around, but it was obvious I was grouchy.  My mother was oblivious to my mood, as chatted away on the telephone with her friend in the room adjacent to the kitchen.  It only infuriated me more.

I came to the final dish to wash: a giant pickle jar.  You know the kind I’m talking about – the ones you get at Costco, filled to the brim with pickle spears.  The kind of jar you use, afterward, to collect cookies or cereal or grease (because back in the 80s we used grease to fry everything).  Yep.  I had that jar in my little tempter-tantrum-throwing-hands.  I’ll never forget it. It was slow motion.  I grabbed it, plunged it into the water and swished it around.  I cleaned inside with a sponge.  Then I did the outside.  But the time I pulled it from the shallow depths of the soapy water, it was nice and sudsy.  And that’s when it happened: as I moved it from the wash side to the rinse side, it slipped out of my hands.  I dropped it on the median of the sink and it shattered in several large chunks of sharp glass.  It was seconds before I realized that it cut my finger on its way.

**If you’re squeamish about bleeding, I’d stop reading now.  Know this: I kept my finger.  It’s pretty wounded though.  That’s the bottom line.  But if you’re not squeamish, continue for the rest of the story, as I find it quite entertaining.

I was bleeding, and not just a little; I was bleeding heavily.  My first thought was, “Oh crap!  My mom’s gonna be so mad!”  But that fear suddenly moved to panic as I realized that I was bleeding way more than I ever have with any cut before.  I grabbed a kitchen towel to try to put some pressure on it.  Hey, it worked on TV, didn’t it?  Surely it would work for me now.  It didn’t.  I dripped blood off the, now soaked through, towel.  I was making a huge mess on the floor.  Suddenly, I was afraid of my mother.  Again.  A light bulb went on in my head and I thought, “Run it under cold water!”  I’d seen my brothers take care of an ouchie that way a million times before.  It has to work this time.  It has to!

I walked with quiet urgency to the bathroom.  I shut the door and began to cry again.  I knew my mom was going to whoop me for being so obstinate.  Plus, my finger… really, my whole hand!, was throbbing with unseeing pain!  I grabbed a bath towel now.  I ran it under cold water and oh….my….goodness.  You have no idea the pain.  Running it under cold water = a bad choice.  At this point, I had succumbed to the fact that my mom was going to kill me, or I was going to bleed to death.  Either way, my life was coming to an end at 8 years old.

(Yes, I was dramatic, even back then.)

Truthfully, though, I was woozy.  I had lost a lot of blood in a small amount of time.  I was sitting on the floor when my brother heard me crying and came in to check on me.  He wasted no time in making a tourniquet and getting me back on my feet.  “You have to tell mom,” he said.  I cried that I didn’t want to.  She was going to beat me!  He said, “I won’t let her.  Come with me.”  Since he had already managed to take care of me better than I had in the last 30 minutes, I let him lead me into the dining room.  She took one look at the bloody towel and exclaimed into the phone, “Shit!  I’ve gotta go!” and hung up.  I was bawling again, and losing my balance.  She immediately ran to get her keys and off to the emergency room we went.

The end of the story isn’t as entertaining.  As it turns out, pain numbing shots are very painful.  And iodine soaks are even worse.  But the damage was done.  I lost a whole bunch of blood.  I have no feeling in my finger on one side, as I severed a whole set of nerves in it.  Slightly worse positioning, and I would have lost the entire finger.

My mom didn’t end up beating me.  Thank God for small miracles, huh?

And that’s my favorite scar story.


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