The Deepest Cut

Last weekend, I was supposed to do a live reading in another town. I get very stressed about things like this—not because of the reading, but because the venue was downtown with very little parking, and I have a lot of anxiety over parking. It’s always my first question: “Where will we park?” In fact, I will actively avoid doing things if the parking situation is unknown or sketchy. I know some people who are about to open a new store and my first reaction was “No one will ever go there. It’s right downtown and the parking is terrible.” By ‘no one’, I obviously meant me, because I know I’m the only weirdo who stresses about parking and most people are happy to just leave their cars literally anywhere:

Carefree Person 1: Oh my, we’re two miles from the venue. Stop the car. Right here.
Carefree Person 2: Excellent choice. I shall abandon the vehicle on this verge.
Carefree Person 1: It’s a lovely night for a trek to the concert and the weather continues charming. Well, it’s raining slightly, but no matter.
Carefree Person 2: Might we be late? Yes. Yet it matters not.

So anyway, I said to Ken, “We need to leave by 2:15 at the latest, so make sure you’re ready to go. I’m serious.” And Ken nodded and went back outside to ‘finish up the one thing he was doing’, which was using the table saw to make a small wooden box to house the transformer that runs our outdoor Christmas lights. I was preparing by silently reading and timing myself in the kitchen when he came back in, around a quarter to two. He looked weird.

Me: What’s wrong? Why are you cradling your hand…
Ken: I think I’ve really hurt myself.
Me (panic rising): What did you do?
Ken: I cut my finger. With the table saw.
Me: Let me see!…Oh god. We’re going to the hospital.
Ken (weakly): No, it’s okay. I’ll just tape it.
Me: You can’t tape THAT. You need stitches.

Then Kate came in:

Kate: What going on? Let me see. JESUS! Is that bone?
Ken: Can you stitch it up? You’re a vet tech.
Kate: NO! Go to the hospital.

In the meantime, I was calling to cancel my reading, and then calling the nearest Urgent Care to see if they did stitches, to which the nurse I spoke to cheerfully replied, “We sure do!” as if people almost dismembered themselves all the time. Which, in fact, people probably do, judging by the casual attitude when we arrived, Ken holding a wad of blood-soaked paper towels around his hand and me looking like I was about to faint, cry, or both. The nurse was like, “Go sit down in the waiting area, and someone will bring you some gauze.”

After about an hour, we finally saw the doctor (which was actually pretty quick, although I think we maybe got pushed to the head of the line due to ALL THE BLOOD), and his immediate and unsurprising reaction was, “Wow, that needs stitches. But it doesn’t look like you severed the ligament, which is a good thing, or you would have lost the use of the finger altogether.”

Ken: I hope you can fix it. It’s my favourite finger.
Me: It’s the one he uses for texting. The ONLY one. That’s why he texts so slowly. Will this heal quickly? Otherwise, I’ll never hear from him.

After he was all stitched up, we came home. Did we have a conversation that started with “How many times have I TOLD you to wait until the blade stops” and ended with “I love you and I’m so happy it wasn’t worse”? Of course. At any rate, I can’t show you the picture of his finger after it was stitched up because it looks pretty gross, but here’s a picture of a very cool wooden hand that he made once I’d given him his tools back.