Burning to Write Right

If you’ve read parts 1 – 4 called, Writing When You “Ain’t Quite Right,” you’ll understand when I say I’m having difficulty getting my sister to open the box I sent to her containing the manuscript.  She hates editing.  It’s worse than asking her to watch Glenn Beck.

I know her oh so well.  I can see her passing by the box.  I can see her saying, “I really should open this.”  I can see her passing by it to head straight for the chocolate.  I can see that in order to avoid her beeline to the chocolate express I’ll have to pour on the serious guilt. 

Fate may have provided the perfect guilt inducer.  However, there’s no way to avoid the truth:  Stupidity caused it.

To say that particular Friday was a hellacious day is an understatement. It took 3 days for the smoke to clear (figuratively speaking) so that I could write the story down.  Not just because of what happened, but because of where it happened.  

I was freezing.  The dogs were freezing.  I was too lazy to shred 2 trash bins of paper.   I liked the fact that I could burn the damned papers, including the junk mail, in 1/3 of the time using the wood stove.

We tend the fire with an old section of rod, adjusting the wood, stirring the ash, sifting through the debris to make sure every piece of it burns.   I’d poked, prodded, and stirred the fire for the better part of an hour, laying the rod on the concrete floor to throw away the remains of magazines not containing identifying information.  On the return trip, I noticed the rod was not where I remembered placing it.  

One end of the rod has silver duct tape on it and it’s darker than the other, so without thinking I picked the rod up by the darker end, screamed, and headed for the sink. Turns out, dark can also mean “superheated” and not “duct tape.  My hand spent about an hour in ice water as I contemplated what to do next. 

This paragraph needs a major disclaimer.  A woman with Tourette’s and dyslexia who can’t sequence worth a damn is not easy to live with.  The man of whom I am about to write has, in the years I’ve known him, broken his hand when moving my treadmill (he said not a word about the fact it was my fault—which it was), and dropped everything to make a 7 hour drive so that I could go home early from a visit gone wrong.  Everyone has a bad day.  It was just incredibly bad luck that both of us were having one at the same time.   My husband was busy rearranging stuff, so he was otherwise occupied. When he did pass by and saw me with my hand in a container of ice water, he said he was in no mood to be sympathetic.  I just had to burn my hand on one of the rare days when it’s best not to ask for help, better not to pursue the issue, optimal to die on the spot rather than say another word.

Well aware that I had to do something with the well-done edge of my palm, I wracked my brain for where there might be something for burns.  Yes!  I remembered!  I had a first aid kit.  I scampered to the hallway, found it, and rushed back to the water before the searing pain overpowered my ability to think at all. 

Could this day get any worse?  The answer to that was apparently, “yes.”  The bottom contents of the small first-aid kit were floating in goo.  I managed to save the stuff that was above the goo line, but not a pair of scissors whose once silver sheen was now replaced by sick looking, black welts.  This, I surmised, was the result of “instant ice pack” contents that had escaped their pliable plastic container. 

I had to find a plan B. 

Plan B–carry around water to stick my hand in while looking for first aid stuff that wasn’t acidified into oblivion or drying on the kitchen counter.  Was there a single thing in this house for burns?   Noooooo–not that I was aware of.  The one thing–one–I found that might be the beginnings of a plan C was a tube of cream used to relieve the burning sensation of yeast infections or “feminine itch.”   There were also some bandage pads left over from some other injury years ago and a roll of gauze that had been perched on top of the first aid contents and secured in plastic wrap. I slathered vagina cream all over the pad and slid it over the edge of my hand.  It didn’t take all of the burn out, but it took the edge off.

Now all I had to do was come up with a plan C. 

Two things were clear.  First, my husband was going to be no help (unless I was eager to hear a lecture).  Second, if I was going to get relief, I’d have to find a way to get to the only drugstore within 15 miles. 

Regardless of the fact that I’m 1/2 blind, it’s nice to know that I can still drive one-handed. The turns are a bit tricky, but the drive is mostly a straight shot down a  2-lane country road.  My parking job may have left people wondering but, hey, I didn’t kill anybody. 

What idiot decided that all first aid boxes should contain 4 font explanations?  Yes, I tried to read the fine print holding a box 1 inch from my eyeball.  I picked up 2 tubes of burn stuff, 1 gauze pad, and a roll of wrapping tape.  $22 later, I was applying silver gel to the gauze pad (costing 10 times the price it was worth), and wrapping the injury.  The initial application of the gel added to the burn, then the pain began to subside. It was the kind of relief you feel when the urinary tract infection finally stops boiling your urethra.

The next day, when I changed the dressing, I was able to determine the result of my stupidity.  It’s roughly a 2 inch x 1 inch area that runs from the bend in the heel of my hand to about 1/2 inch from the beginning of my little finger.  The skin is swollen and dimpled–but pliable.  It’s a bit of a darker beige with redness but if I leave the dressing off for a few minutes it starts to darken, swell up higher, and burn.  But–and this is a big “but”–I’d found a way to minimize the curse words, allow the area to heal, and reduce the pain.

Was the problem solved?  Ha!  I had to figure out how I was going to write, since the injury was on a part of the hand that slides as you type.  I slathered the gauze with so much silver gel that my palm was swimming, and perched my hand on an icepack.  Then I let the typos fly.  In a few weeks, I might be able to type decently again. 

In the meantime, I’m sending this blog for my sister to edit.  If she’s not burning with guilt by the time she reaches this sentence, I’m losing my touch.

Postblog:  I find I have to end this a bit differently than planned.  My sister opened the box the day before I sent this to her to edit.  And…and OMG!  She started reading it.  Is there such a thing as psychically induced guilt?  Not according to my sister. She commented with way too much jocularity, “no guilt here—I was simply inspired to contemplate the wonders of heredity.”  Loosely translated into sibling speak it means, “Ha, ha, I win!”