Monday, January 3, 2011

"Whole Again"

So I had to write 2 creative non-fiction pieces for my English 285 class. This is the one that I actually liked. I figured I would post it. So yeah. Yay, right?

"Whole Again"

A little over a year ago I cut my finger on a meat slicer while training someone how to use it. It wasn’t terrible, just a small portion of my right index finger had been removed, and it was chillin’ on the table looking at me. I grabbed a paper towel, wrapped my finger and went out to the lobby where both my bosses were and in a little girl voice, which I get when I’m trying to not cry, I said, “I’m so sorry.” Of course, they had no idea why, but quickly discovered as blood started gushing down my arm. Luke, the owner, decided the best course of action was to get a horrible and terrible blood coagulator called, “no bleed.” After cursing at Luke for five minutes for making me endure the excruciating and burning pain of the no bleed, the blood still wouldn’t stop, so we decided on the hospital.

The hospital visit was like any other. I waited to hours in the lobby while sitting next to a guy with head trauma. Then I finally get called back to discover that not only had my cut stopped bleeding, but the hospital charges forty-five dollars for Neosporin and $500 for a doctor to tell you the cut had stopped bleeding and for a nurse to half-heartedly wrap up the wound. Then the doctor writes a prescription for hydrocodone and never looks me in the eye the entire time. Hospitals are always tons of fun.

Now, it’s about four hours after the incident that the real trouble begins. I had seen the cut three times. Once after the incident, once when Luke almost burned my finger off with the no bleed and once while they were cleaning it in the hospital, and each time it seemed more and more of my finger was disappearing. Every time I looked at it I cried, harder each time.

By the time I got to the pharmacy, in my dramatic, “whoa is me” state, I felt as if half my finger was gone. I was depressed at the thought of living with half a finger and desperately wanted the pain to go away. I was doing everything in my power not to cry in the middle of the store. Then, the pharmacist broke the damn. My friend Jess and I were waiting on my prescription when the pharmacist walked up and asked what happened. After explaining the whole debacle, she looked at my wrapped up finger, and then at my strained face and then back at my finger then said, “Oh! You know that won’t grow back, right?”

Of course, I knew, but in my mind, half my finger was gone and hearing her say that out loud made me realize I would be disfigured for life. I must have made that woman feel awful because I burst out in tears in the middle of CVS. Apologizing for making such a scene, while Jess is trying to stifle her laughter as she puts her arm around me. I can blame it on the blood loss, the pain, the exhaustion, but in reality, I felt I was no longer beautiful because I had, what I felt at the time, a permanently disfigured finger.

After apologizing some more and standing awkwardly next to Jess as she picked up my prescription, I went home, popped a few pain pills and sat down to watch TV. Bad idea. The very first thing I see when I flip on the TV is a commercial for nail polish. This gorgeous woman on the screen seemed to be rubbing my new disfigurement in my face. I switched the channel and came across another ad, but this one was for some alcoholic drink. I remember the woman, with her long, dark, wavy hair and her dark sultry eyes catching the attention of every man in sight. She makes eye contact with one. He motions her over, and buys her a drink. She goes to pick up the drink and her hands were flawless. By this point, I am wallowing in self-pity and hoping the next channel I switch to is either playing The Elephant Man or the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I needed to see non-perfect people, not supermodels.

After two hours, and barely a flaw in sight, I was so very close to just giving up and going to bed. Then I flipped to NBC, and SNL was on. It just so happened that Tina Fey is one of my idols- and it could not have been more appropriate. That scar on her face, from an incident where someone cut her with a knife, is hard to miss. I watched her for a while, and instantly felt better. I somehow felt less scarred. I mean, my cut was on my finger. Hers was on her face, and she wore it proudly. Not to mention that Tina Fey has her own show, which she created, and she was the first woman Head Writer of SNL. She has been defined by her accomplishments, not by her scar. This whole time, I was focused on a relatively small wound, and I completely forgot the fact that my finger, or any part of my body, is not who I am

The main point is that I’m not ruined because of a scar, if anything, it’s given me more of a reason to have a sense of humor. I mean, how many people can say they ended up in the hospital while training new employees? I am who I am because of my personality and my beliefs and my actions, not because I have a little bit less of a finger than I did before. Besides, if someone were to notice it, It’s a nice conversation starter, and luckily, it’s a funny enough story that I don’t mind telling it.