Monday, December 28, 2009

Packing Tape and Christmas Miracles

Everyone has their own Christmas miracle story. Mine is the miraculous ability of packing tape to stop the loss of blood when one has been stupid enough to use a mandolin without reading the instructions.

I never read instructions. One would think, if one were a rational sort of person, that one would learn, after numerous incidents of this type, that reading instructions is not something people do just for fun, but also to prevent household accidents. As we’ve learned previously, most accidents, especially ones I’m involved in, happen in my house.

So there I was on Christmas, and in my enthusiasm to give my long-suffering husband a break, I went into the kitchen to slice potatoes with the new mandolin. “Be careful,” long-suffering husband said, “do you want me to help?"

“No, I’ll be fine,” I said, and I whipped the new mandolin out of its box and promptly attempted to slice my thumb off.

Fortunately I failed to slice it off, as that would be even worse.

“Uhm, I sort of have a problem here,” I said to long-suffering husband.

“How about if I slice the potatoes?” he asked, already on his way. He would have been on his way anyway – this man does not let me brandish knives without checking to see if I’m using the proper ones – I never am, according to him.

“Great, I’ll just go upstairs and clean this up,” I said, despite the fact the blood was oozing out at an unprecedented speed. I didn’t want to tell him how bad it really was, so I fumbled around with paper towels and went upstairs in search of bandages.

Unfortunately, with my right thumb out of commission, the blood kept flowing until the bathroom looked like a crime scene, the sort of place one sees on TV when there’s been a particularly heinous murder.

Sometimes I think I watch too much TV. Should I be that familiar with what a crime scene looks like?

I grabbed some gauze (from the recent burn incident) and headed back downstairs. By that time charming husband was done with the potatoes, so I had him wrap my thumb in layers and layers of gauze and we stuck it all together with packing tape.

Marvelous stuff, packing tape. Even when the gauze is all bloody and soaked through, the packing tape keeps it from leaking out. And it’s kind of nice and shiny. I’m a big fan of shiny things.

Some people would go get some stitches for this sort of thing. Reasonable people, mostly. I’ve never claimed to be reasonable. Instead I took a Vicodin, my very last one. They’re not something I have access to except once a year or so when I do something so horrendous I really need them, and then I save them up so I have them for my second degree burns and things of that nature.

By the next day the bottom layer of gauze has become a part of my wound, and I considered letting it heal just like that. The only other option was to rip the gauze off, but that would cause more bleeding, not to mention more pain. On the other hand, gauze isn’t meant to be a permanent sort of thing, is it? But I am pain averse.

Eventually long-suffering husband talked me into it, and I began by soaking my thumb in warm water. I still wasn’t convinced however, though eventually I did manage to get all the gauze off. And it only bled a little. So we applied more pressure, and a band-aid.

A friend recently gave me cupcake band-aids: all the healing power of cupcakes in a band-aid. However, charming husband instead decided to use some nifty padded band-aids that were terribly expensive, so I let him. They’re not as pretty as the cupcake band-aids, but I guess they work.

I’ve discovered that without my right thumb, which is still pretty much useless, I myself am pretty useless. I can’t do dishes. Or laundry. Or cook anything complicated. Or fold clothes. I can work however, since working means my thumb only has to hit the space key now and then, and, since it doesn’t have to bend, which it can’t, I can manage that, though after a short while my thumb is very unhappy with me. (This is okay with me, since my thumb and I don’t need to be on speaking terms in order to work together.) This is good since it appears tax season is starting whether I’m ready or not.

I also can’t wrap packages, and since we had a few to mail out today (I know, Christmas was last week, but we’re still sending things, so just deal with it), charming husband finished wrapping them. And guess what? Packing tape works really well for boxes too! It’s like a miracle product. I say it’s even better than duct tape. No doubt the duct tape lobby is going to come after me for that one, but I’m willing to fight the good fight for what I believe in.

So my Christmas miracle is that we managed to avoid the ER, stop the loss of blood before I ran out, and we had a damn fine Christmas despite it all. Sometimes that’s the most we can hope for.

Oh, and charming husband decided the new mandolin was not any good, and he promptly threw it away. Serves the damn thing right.

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