Wednesday, January 8, 2014

'Tis But A Flesh Wound: A Love Story

 My father and I are alike in many ways, to the point of irritating each other and everyone around us.  It makes sense, as I have half of his DNA.  We both have strong personalities.  We expect a lot out of the people in our lives, and this can make both professional and personal relationships difficult at times, but we give as much as we get.  We struggle with change and not having a plan for the future but are the type of person that is reliable, trust-worthy, and prepared.  We both have a great sense of humor, but one that can get us into trouble occasionally.  We are good leaders, principled and hardworking.  We have little patience for things that irritate us and our feelings are usually written all over our faces.  (We would make terrible poker players.) Also, we both become lactose intolerant during periods of great stress. (TMI? Not sorry.)

Yet in certain ways we are vastly different. If Dad is the very photograph of a type A personality, I'm more of a painting.  There's a thin layer of type A, but it is obscured in places by great swirls of types B-Z.
I may have made those types up, but I stand by my analogy.

My dad is the most organized person you will ever meet, the inventor of the Do It Now Rule.  In the land of Time Management and Life Preparedness, he is king.  Last night I asked him if there was ever a situation in his life, large or small, for which he was unprepared.  He had to think very hard.  Only one answer came to mind and I'm not sharing because it's an embarrassing story that involves hiking a mountain with me and my extreme night blindness.


Here are a few ways in which we differ: I am organized more in theory than in actuality.  For example, my clothes are always arranged by color, type, and season in my closet
...when I've actually bothered to hang them up.
My car is always clean and clutter-free
...except for a small army of Cheerios that are forever wedged between the edge of the driver's seat and the middle console.  
I see things that need to be done and I do them
...when I've exhausted every method of procrastination.
I always make decisions based on logic and not emotion
....except for none of the time ever.

The point of all this is to say I felt our differences most keenly last Tuesday night when I received stitches for the first time ever.  I immediately compared it to when my dad got stitches this past summer. He was cutting pieces of siding and got a little too close to the saw.  I was out at the time, but according to my brother, he came in to the house, cleaned his wound, made himself lunch, took a shower, combed his hair, filed his taxes and who knows what else before driving himself to the clinic, finger flapping in the breeze. Meanwhile, my brother was home the entire time, willing and able to take him immediately but Dad refused.  He came home, carried on with life, and six days later removed the stitches himself like some sort of fearless renaissance man.

In my case, I cut my finger while slicing an avocado.  As usual, I employed the Ellie method of "Act Now, React Later".  By this I mean I stuck my hand under some running water and then wrapped it in a paper towel. I sat calmly in a chair and asked my mother to please finish the guacamole for me.  But over the course of the next hour, the pain set in as the bleeding refused to stop and I started to panic. "WHAT DO I DO?" I wailed to Dad when he walked in the door, "DO I NEED STITCHES? I'VE LOST TOO MUCH BLOOD, I FEEL FAINT." He told me to get ahold of myself.  Overcome by his lack of compassion, I retrieved a blanket, laid back in a recliner and weakly requested some orange juice to regain some strength. My mom said she would take me to a clinic to get stitches but decided to eat first.

As I watched my family leisurely enjoy dinner, I muttered crossly to myself, "Well, I suppose it's a good thing I'm not in mortal peril. I wondered if I casually started to bleed on the carpet, would they hurry up? Heaven forbid THE BEANS GET COLD before I receive MEDICAL ATTENTION."
Just before my twenty-eighth birthday, they finished eating and Mom took me to the clinic.

That in and of itself was an ordeal.  They admitted me almost immediately but I languished in a patient room for quite awhile until a PA came in to stitch me up. "No need to make a fuss at this point. Time has already healed my wound," I grumbled to myself.  Nevertheless, she gave me a tetanus shot and proceeded to practice what could only be described as award-winning embroidery.  If you look closely, a tiny Mona Lisa appears in my stitches.  Ok not really.  But seriously, it was an unnecessary amount of needlework for such a small cut.

I'd share a picture but this is a family establishment and I don't condone the sharing of photos of one's injuries.  Ain't nobody need to see that.

I then proceeded to go home and vigorously Google the side affects of the Tdap vaccine.  With great bravery, I made peace with my life-altering disability and fell into a troubled sleep.  A day later, a stitch fell out of its own volition.  Within forty-eight hours, I removed the others without much struggle.  All that ruckus over what ended up looking like a mildly irritated paper cut. 'Twas but a flesh wound.

So what did I learn from this? A number of things, in fact.

1. I would never make it through childbirth.

2. This moment of my life would not make it into the Lifetime biopic on my life.

3. Never cut an avocado while holding it in your hand. 

4. Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm quite pleased to share some of the qualities of my father and there is still a need to learn more.  While I will never ever ever ever ever see the need to rake leaves more than once a season (why does no one understand that waiting until they all fall is the only way to do it?), I could use a larger dose of rationality and mental fortitude. Also I should probably vacuum up those Cheerios in my car.

I love you, Dad.


  1. Seriously woman. You have MAD writing skills. Also, it almost appears in the first picture as though you only have one leg...but I think it must be the fluff of your cute red dress and the angle, because I've seen you in real life since this picture was taken and I know you have 2 legs.

  2. Your blog posts make my day - every single time. Your wit... okay I can't think of anything profound to say that doesn't make me sound like a creeper. But seriously, you are incredibly witty. Anyway, thanks for writing and for always making me laugh and smile like a total weirdo by myself in my cube.

  3. Ah yes, these Carolus' probably already have plans for Memorial Day! Ha and us, we are still wondering what to do for Christmas...

  4. I loved this post from the moment I first saw the title several days ago. My favorite part is the paragraph about your personality being like a painting. And your dad coping with his injury. :-)


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