The Kindest Cut

Round tomato with a tough skin.
Sharp knife. Ouch.
My skin not as tough as the tomato
Blood and tomatoes are both red.

Thus began my afternoon adventure. Not at all what I’d planned. The index finger on my left hand bled like a stuck pig soaking through cotton ball after cotton ball. For 1 1/2 hours it bled even elevating it and applying pressure–first directly on the cut and later pressing on either side of the finger at the base to cut off arterial blood supply.

Was it deep? Did I need stitches? Hard to know with all that blood. Not to neglect those possibilities, I drove myself to the Barnes Jewish Hospital emergency room only a few blocks away.

I checked in. I got my vitals mapped and interviewed. I got registered. I waited, and waited and waited. There ought to be a law against showing medical shows in an emergency room. I learned more about my fellow waiters. Did you know you can have a full-scale argument just short of a knife fight…right there in front of God and the waiting public? It’s true. I met a man with AIDS, slid my feet to let wheelchairs pass…and read. Finished my book, too.

By the time I finally got to the exam room, the bleeding had stopped. It wasn’t too deep. I told Kenny, my nurse that I was embarrassed to be here. It just wasn’t that bad. So, I slid out and went on home. Door to door elapsed time? Four hours.

Thanks to my book “Return to Laughter” (Bowen, Elenor Smith, 1964, Return to Laughter: an anthropological novel. New York: Anchor Books) the four hours flew by.

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