February 18, 2005

Blood & Tears

When I was very young, so young, in fact, I can't even really place a year on how old I was, I slit my wrist open.

It wasn't intentional, mind you. I wasn't a suicidal toddler, or anything like that. It was just one of those freakish series of events that forever burns its way into the formative brain of a youth.

My mother, who was typically a hawk when it came to watching me, had to run an errand, which meant a quick walk uptown and a quick walk back. Total time of absence? Fifteen minutes, tops, which in toddler time is about four and a half hours. But, I was watching TV at the time, so my mother figured she was safe.

No sooner had the door closed behind her, I was busy getting myself into trouble, and I didn't even know it.

As I sat there, watching TV, I became aware that my tiny hand and wrist were the perfect size to slide under the couch. For some reason, this delighted me to no end. I started sliding my hand, palm-side up, under the couch and then bringing it back out.

I was searching, of course, for any lost toys that may have snuck under there but, also, I just thought it was kind of fun.

That is until my encounter with a carpenter's staple.

I encountered the staple towards the corner of the couch, where carpenter's staples abound. Apparently, this particular staple had a loose end, and that loose end was pointing down and slightly inward, not unlike a shark's tooth. So, although my hand slid effortlessly beneath the couch on the way in, when I tried to pull it out. . . boy howdy!

The staple punctured my right wrist at almost exactly the dead center, right smack on top of the main tendon. For my tiny toddler wrist, that staple may just as well have been a steak knife.

Naturally, I panicked. I tried to yank my hand out which, of course, just drove the staple deeper. I tried to wiggle my hand out which, of course, had an effect not unlike a dull saw. So, I did what any child would do when confronted with pain and mild shock: I screamed and cried bloody murder.

When screaming and crying failed to rectify the situation, I mustered every last bit of toddler strength I could to lift the corner of the couch, just enough so I could slip that staple out of my wrist and get it the hell out from under the couch.

It wasn't a major or bad cut in my wrist, but it WAS deep, and the staple had, apparently, punctured something important because, man, there was a serious amount of blood being spurted to and fro. Each beat of the heart sent another miniature crimson geyser up and out of the cut.

I didn't know first aid, but something in my young mind told me that A.) I had to stop the bleeding, and B.) because mom was going to be furious about all the blood on the floors.

I ran to the bathroom and unspooled an entire roll of toilet paper, which I then applied to my gushing wrist. I was then faced with a difficult decision.

My mother had told me that she would be back soon, and that I wasn't to leave the house. That was one side of the coin. The other side of the coin was that I didn't want to die all alone in the house. Okay, I wasn't really afraid of dying, but I was extremely scared by all the blood. I had never seen so much blood come out of my body and, young though I was, there was a part of me that knew I had a finite supply of blood, and I was afraid of running out.

So, I decided to leave the house and see if I could locate my mother. Surely she could kiss this thing and make it all better. The thing with my small hometown is that it's really not that big. You can get to pretty much any point in town with a ten minute walk. Of course, for a toddler, it's about the biggest metropolis imaginable. Still, I knew enough of the town to know which route my mother had most likely taken.

Sure enough, about a block into my journey, I saw my mom coming towards me. I was extremely relieved to see her, but I imagine she was pretty well horrified to see me, what with the wad of blood-soaked toilet paper on my wrist and my incessant, terrified bawling.

At that point, I can't really remember what transpired. Once I transferred all concerns over to the mother auto-pilot, things just kind of went hazy.

Either that, or I passed out due to loss of blood, which I guess is possible.

Posted by Ryan at February 18, 2005 10:18 AM



Posted by: Joshua at February 18, 2005 12:11 PM

I'm a bit of a moron, so I didn't get the "Biter" comment. Please explain.

Posted by: Ryan at February 18, 2005 12:22 PM

Why don't you ask her what happened? I'm sure most moms would delight in retelling such a story.

I don't understand the 'biter' reference either.

Posted by: simon at February 18, 2005 06:50 PM

Yikes! This reminds me of when I put my hand through a window at the age of 5, but my mother was right there. If your mother is anything like mine, the concept of asking her what happened might be sketchy. My mother recounts what happened completely inaccurately.

Posted by: Jay at February 20, 2005 09:40 AM
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