No, I wasn’t really trying to edit my tattoo–I like what it says. And, no, I wasn’t trying to end it all. I believe that since I didn’t create myself, I don’t have the authority to destroy myself. And anyway, I mostly like being alive. Besides, my cats would miss me.
No, I was replacing a ballast on a light fixture at work today. It’s a job I have done thousands of times. What’s more, I am Mr. Safety at work. I had the breaker locked off. I had inspected the ladder and had it set properly. I had my safety glasses on. I removed the bulbs and set them to the side. I tested the line voltage at the ballast, even though I had the breaker locked off.
I did everything right, damnit!
So what happened? I dropped the sheet metal ballast cover and tried to catch it, and instead it hit my forearm and sliced right through me. It was one of those cuts that’s so fast and so deep that I didn’t even feel it until I looked down and realized that I was seeing parts of my body that aren’t supposed to be exposed to daylight. Ever.
So one of my coworkers got to drive me to the Urgent Care place and we sat around for about an hour and a half until the MD on duty had the time to do a little needlepoint on me. She did a heck of job, too–quick, and neat–it probably won’t leave much of a scar.
As far as incidents involving metal objects cutting you open are concerned, this one was a fairly benign one. The cut missed all of the important wires and pipes and linkages in my forearm (I had to have tendon reconstruction surgery on that arm once and believe me, there are a lot of parts in your forearm that you would really miss if they were gone) and didn’t even trash my tattoo.
It didn’t even hurt that bad–sheet metal is sharp, and it cuts rather than tears your skin. Trust me, cutting is better than tearing. The kept asking me to describe my pain on a scale from one being none to ten being “the worst pain you can imagine”. The worst pain I can imagine? Obviously you don’t know my imagination very well or you wouldn’t put it like that. I said “two”.
We got back to work just in time for lunch, and yes, I worked the afternoon. In fact, the first thing I did was go back and finish the repair on the fixture that had cut me. You can’t let them see fear on you, or they’ll never obey you.
I had the usual comments about being dumb for coming back to work instead of taking the rest of the day, and the usual questions about what kind of pain meds I had scored at the clinic. (None, for the record. I hate opiates. Pain I can deal with, feeling spaced out is not something I handle well.)
At the clinic they did give me the option of going home–they would have written me an excuse. That’s not me, though–it takes more than a lousy six stitches to make me give up and go home.
And that is when it hit me. This is one of those flippin’ object lessons, isn’t it?
Other people get discouraged and they get a pretty rainbow, or a bird singing on the windowsill, or that spider, getting up and building that web one more time. I get my flesh sliced open. My guardian angel must be one sick bastard.
Okay, okay, okay, I get it. Message received, loud and clear. I am not a quitter.
I wish I was, sometimes. I’d like to be able to just lie down and give up and let the world spin on without me. That sounds really relaxing. But it ain’t me, babe.
Yeah, I’m hurt, I’m tired, I’m sick of fighting, and I don’t want to do this any more. So what? It’s time to get to my feet, Cactus Jack up, and soldier on.
My tattoo, the one that didn’t get cut into? Contra Mundis. Against The World. Being outnumbered and outgunned is no excuse. You don’t give up the fight just because it’s hopeless–it’s only the hopeless things that are really worth fighting for. My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Sometimes I forget that and need to be reminded. It would be nice if those reminders didn’t hurt so often, though.