Warning: this post contains photos and descriptions of actual events that are graphic in nature and may not be suitable for younger audiences or adults who are huge pussies. Reader discretion is advised.
I know this for sure: when I woke up Saturday morning, I had ten fingers. And I had no warning of bloody conclusion that would befall my day.
My unbridled excitement at having both kids asleep and no plans and a second vodka-OJ with just a splash of OJ weakened my dexterity and ninja-like reaction time…
[Full disclosure, that video is the first tasteful 5 seconds of a blog idea gone wrong in which I attempted to fuel up with Voddy-O’s and read timeless children’s book, “Goodnight, Moon”, with a thick Newfie accent. Wish I was kidding. Things got weird.]
Anyway, I was chopping onions. Red ones. The ones that stay with you for days. Clearly, no make-out sessions were in store for Saturday night.
And with one wanton chop, everything changed…
“Uh oh, oh no, uh oh, oh no, uh oh, oh no”, I repeated, frantically pacing the kitchen. I squeezed hard a paper towel around the wound, aiming to stop the blood loss. Was there even a finger left underneath? I felt a wave of nausea wash over me and I knew it was best not to look.
Just keep pacing. Just keep saying, “uh oh, oh no”. No matter how much your husband tries to snap you out of your post-traumatic trance (“what’s wrong? Are you ok? Heather. Heather? You’re fine. Heather, it’s just a little cut. Heather, seriously, just stop pacing, sit down, you’ll be fine”…), ignore him. Pace. Compulsively utter nonsense. Repeat.
“Oh God, Oh God, it’s bad. It’s bad, is it bad? I need help. I NEED HELP!” I knew I was losing my grip on consciousness and that action needed to be taken. Do I call 9-11? Surely I need stitches.
I made my way back to the living room, gripping my toweled finger tightly, and lay on the floor, my legs, obviously, air-bicycling furiously.
J’s words washed over me. “What the fuck is happening right now? You’re fucking with me, right?”. Even though I was beyond mortal conversation, cycling through the fog of hypovolemic shock, chased by the threat of syncope, I felt soothed – nay, indeed, swaddled – by the unconditional love and devotion evident in my husband’s words. He was confused. He too was feeling the shock of my blood loss and potential dismemberment. Perhaps it wasn’t even me he was questioning. In all likelihood, he was directing his questions to some higher powers.
Continuously fighting the urge to vomit and refusing to slow down the frantic leg cycling, I pulled J by the gray jogging-panted leg down next to me.
“Help me. Help me” I whispered weakly, compulsively stroking his face with my intact hand. At one point I felt my frantic index finger jab deeply into his left cornea. “Fuck sakes”, he reassured me, “this is a fuckin’ nightmare”. He was clearly referring to the nightmarish state of wavering consciousness I was floating in and out of and reminding me not to be scared because this was, indeed, just a nightmare.
If only, my beloved. If only…
Words failed me, as did J’s attempts at consolation.
“Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. Hurry. Hurry. Please”, I begged incoherently, frantically rubbing J’s forearms now, the coarse hair on my palms providing some pacification, perhaps stimulation of the nervous system my failing body desperately needed.
That’s when I farted.
“Good Christ”, my husband cried, clearly summoning any bit of religious fervor necessary to thwart the evils that had plagued his poor wife’s body. It broke my heart that he felt so desperate he was turning to Jesus to give him and, of course, me, the strength to not succumb to my injuries.
I may have farted again, I can’t be sure. I was too focused on getting the much needed oxygen back to my brain via reinvigorated, haphazard leg-cycling.
“Seriously, if I had seen this before we had kids I never would have agreed to do the natural home-birth”, J assured me. Even in the wild throes of demonic possession my near-death state found me in, I felt a pang of heartache, in that moment, for my poor husband’s grief. I knew what he really meant: had he known he would come this close to losing his beloved wife – and, indeed his children’s beloved mother – he may have reconsidered a past event that entrenched his love and admiration for me. One that perhaps made him love me too much; need me too much. Put me on too high a pedestal, I think. It was his resultant, deep, brooding affection (dare I say, obsession?) that made that night’s event all the more painful for him to witness. And I felt that.
The farts lingered.
I used to extol the subtle nuances with which my husband showed his love. But after that night, I am reminded that he is as blatant and forthright a romantic as ever there was.
Reflecting on that dreaded day, my husband remains my rock: “You were a Goddamn mess and I’m trying to forget it”. Indeed, invoking the Biblical desperation I did not know he had, he admits, even now, that he felt we were forsaken by God, damned in fact. Witnessing my horrific bloodbath is an image he cannot too soon forget. Bless him.
As you can see my physical scars are healing nicely… but it will be a long time before the emotional scars – etched deeply in my memory – begin to fade.
Be well, HOAR-readers. And please, surround yourself with kindred spirits who will hold your trembling hand in the darkest of moments and tell you, “fuckin’ gross, your farts smell like diaper genie and hot garbage”.
Your healing (and still-ten-fingered) HOAR