Me vs. the Butter Knife

April 26, 2011 at 7:27 am | Posted in Life and Living | 7 Comments
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Accidents happen. All kinds of accidents.  And I’m not talking about car accidents.  I’m talking about people doing the mundane tasks of their lives and slipping up just one time.  Accidents are not reserved for children or risk-takers — we can all break bones and we can all bleed.

Up until this past week, I had gotten stitches four times in my life, three times in which I was under the age of 5, and were the typical clumsy accidents like banging my head into a cubby or falling off my bike.  The fourth time, I was 11 years old and away at sleep-away camp for the first time.  I was racing one of my friends down a hill and we both fell at the end.  It was fun and we were laughing it up until somebody told me my knee was bleeding.  I must have fallen on glass and didn’t even notice it.  The blood definitely freaked me up as I hobbled a half a mile down the road to the infirmary where I was taken to the hospital to be put back together.  I spent the next six weeks in an air cast so that I wouldn’t bend my knee and break the stitches.

Little did I know all these years later I would add a fifth time to my list.  I was in the kitchen at work getting my 11:30 snack, an avocado.  While talking to a colleague I attempted to stab the pit with a butter knife so I could twist it out, like I had done a thousand times before.  My office doesn’t keep sharper knives, which are much more useful when trying to get into that pit.  The butter knife ended up slipping passed the pit and right into my middle finger, really deep.

A butter knife.  A freakin’ butter knife.

The shock of the incident and the sudden loss of blood made me woozy, so I sat down, but I really needed to lie down.  My colleagues tried to help me get to the President’s office so I could lie down on the couch, but I didn’t make it far.  A few steps out of the kitchen, I fainted and smashed my face on the floor, nearly biting through my lip.

You cannot make this stuff up.

By now, I am surrounded by colleagues who hoist me up in a chair, give me ice, and proceed to roll me across the office to the couch, passing by the conference room where my boss and the other executives were having a meeting.  We waved them off, saying “she’s ok,” when clearly I wasn’t.  It must have been pretty hilarious to see!

I finally end up going to the hospital and getting sewn up, and return to work a couple hours later.

Best story ever, right?

But this is not the first time I’ve done something insanely stupid as an adult.  There was that time that I gave myself my first black eye by tripping over something in a bar and landing on my face.  But at least I was a few too many drinks deep at that point!  Or the time that I slipped on black ice and landed only on the back of my head, causing a minor concussion.  But that was black ice!  And I won’t even get into the dog bite story because that was just about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No, no.  This time, I had no excuse.  They say butter knives can’t hurt you.  I call bluff.  Anything can hurt you if the moment is right.  And it doesn’t matter how old you are.  You can always make stupid mistakes.

At least now, I am old enough to laugh about it.

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You Can’t Live in a Bubble

January 11, 2011 at 7:32 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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A few weeks ago, on Christmas Eve in fact, my dog was playing ball in our yard.  My boy is a Labrador retriever who literally lives for ball.  Where ever he is, you are likely to find a tennis ball not too far away.  When he plays, he puts his all into it, making very dramatic catches that rival any outfielder.  So when we threw the ball to him on this day, and it rolled into a pipe that protrudes out of the grass, it’s not surprising that he went at it like he was in a race against time.  Unfortunately, it was not a happy meeting of pipe and dog face.  The dog was left with a cracked and bleeding canine tooth, and the pipe (believe it or not) has a nice scrape on it forever marking this day.

This is not the first time my boy has gotten hurt, and like any parent of human or animal kin can tell you, it kills you when your child is hurt.  With dogs, it’s even harder because they don’t understand why it hurts and they don’t complain.  They just try to keep going as if nothing ever happened.  But it’s very obvious when your boy can’t even pick up the ball that he so adores.

This dog has been through a lot.  He’s been bitten twice by other dogs, slammed into many walls, fallen off the bed when he least expected it.  He’s become less submissive when dogs approach him and start bothering him, but when he hears other dogs barking in their yards as we walk by, his fur still stands up in fear.

When we finally got him to the doctor (bad timing for an accident with the holidays), we learned that he would have to get the tooth removed.  The doctor said that this particular tooth was designed specifically to kill game on a hunt, and clearly my dog would never have to work that hard.  His response to our rant about how this dog is always getting into something — “You can’t live in a bubble.”

This is a hard fact for any parent to take in.  Aren’t parents’ jobs to protect their young?  So in terms of my boy, I will continue to try to protect him as best I can.  But I took this lesson to heart for myself.  You can’t be afraid to do things that you love, or that seem fun.  I continue to fight my fears of doing things I’ve never done before, and probably will for the rest of my life — not so much for fear of getting physically hurt, but for fear of getting emotionally hurt through humiliation.

Dogs don’t get humiliated.  They get happy, tired, jealous, excited, angry, and sad, with happy being the default emotion.  But they do get hurt.  We all get hurt, sometimes.  If we could all go on with the same attitude as my boy and keep on chugging along, doing our best to do the things we love, we will all live happier lives.

Fly Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

September 21, 2010 at 7:40 am | Posted in Life and Living | 3 Comments
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I was walking my dog one morning last week the way I always do – with my eyes barely open, my hair a mess, and in my pajamas. We always walk the same route, with very little variation (dog owners know that dogs run on routine – when you break that routine, you will have a very confused and neurotic dog on your hands).  On this morning, there was an outdoor cat doing what cats do. Well, for my dog, it’s true what they say about their feelings towards cats. Whenever my dog sees a cat, instinct takes over and the cat’s life is at high risk. So I decided to turn down another road to avoid confrontation.

It was on this road that I felt a sudden prickling on the top of my foot.  At first I thought it was just a weird pain that I got from moving my foot in an awkward way, but when I lifted up my pants I saw a bee harvesting my foot. I shook it off, but it was too late. I had been stung.

I was completely shocked.  I totally forgot about bee stings.  I haven’t been stung since I was a child.  I remember the constant summer worry about bees. All children were aware of it. They were told to stand completely still when a bee was around.  I also remember exactly where I was the last time I got stung about twenty years ago.   I was at the pool, standing by the water on the grass when the bastard came up and got me in the back of my thigh.  I don’t really remember the pain, but I do remember that children in general don’t usually handle pain well.

With all this in mind, I tried to act cool.  I’m an adult now. It’s just a bee sting. I’ll be fine.  Let me tell you, it hurt!  I was putting ice on it and trying to get ready for work.  I can’t call out sick for a bee sting, right? That just sounds ridiculous. But my foot was swollen to twice its size. I couldn’t put much pressure on it and had to elevate it when I got to work.

It’s now days later and my foot is doing much better.  I have just started wearing normal shoes again. But I know I’ll be fine.  I know you must think I’m being such a baby, but when was the last time you were stung?  To me, this was a reminder for when I have kids that bee stings hurt, so when mini Dana comes crying hysterically to me with a swollen limb, I’ll be able to relate to her pain.

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