Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I’m a walking disaster. Within 24 hours last week, I had blood bubbling from under a fingernail, lost a crown and wound up at Doctor’s Care with a damaged eyeball.
I’ve always been accident-prone. As a kid I toppled out of trees, fell down a well, stepped on nails and got thrown from horses. (One time I was bucked off, trampled and knocked unconscious for 12 hours. Which, now that I think of it, may explain a lot about a lot.)
To this day, I regularly trip and/or fall. While hiking in Tennessee, I stumbled over a root and literally rolled down a hill in front of a dozen horrified onlookers. After my roll ended (thanks to a large oak tree), I popped up like a Whack-a-Mole chirping, “I’m good! I’m good!” You’ve never seen so many red-faced people stifling laughter in your life.
I’ve fallen down stairs and up stairs, off chairs and down ladders. I smack my head getting in cars. I cut my fingernails off because I kept jabbing myself in the eye. I’d reach up to tuck my hair behind my ear, miss and spork my eyeball. It’s easier just to whip out the nail clippers.
And speaking of nails… The latest mishaps started Saturday. I lost my balance as I let the dog out and fell into the door with my entire weight on my pinky fingernail. Before you could say “broken,” blood was dripping from the cracked nail bed.
I squeezed the finger and hopped in circles shrieking, which is always my first response to a crisis. When the bleeding slowed, I poured on peroxide and bound it up like a battle wound.
The next day I was eating a protein bar when a tooth gave way with a loud, sickening “cruuuuunch.” Of course it was a crown. Of course it was an upper front crown. I looked like an extra on “Moonshiners.”
I coughed, grinned gap-toothed at Widdle and said, “There goes my new kitchen floor.” There was no time to pout, however, because we had to make a four-hour drive to pick up a vehicle.
I prefer driving in glasses, so I removed my soft contacts… but the right one didn’t come out. When it did, there was only half of it on my fingertip, leaving the other torn half floating around in my eye.
“It’ll pop out eventually,” I said. I put on my glasses and headed out the door.
But it didn’t. No matter how much saline I used or how many times I rubbed my eyelid, it was gone.
The next morning the eye was hideously swollen and my optometrist was, of course, out of town. It was a grim, one-eyed, 18-mile drive to Doctor’s Care. In a dark room, a PA had me hold a big blue light as he peered into my eye. Then came a long, low whistle. “You’ve done quite a job on yourself,” he said.
He applied numbing drops, eye dye and a swift, practiced cotton swab. Out came the half-contact, lodged deep in the inner corner. Then my eye slammed shut.
I figured he’d tell me to avoid makeup and contacts for a few days. To my astonishment, he gave me antibiotic drops and stern instructions to go home, lie down and avoid books, TVs and computers for the rest of the day.
The good news: I took his advice and had a long, delicious nap. Even better news: I didn’t fall out of bed.
Julie R. Smith, who once sliced her toe on a piece of granola, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.