Late this afternoon, I sliced the top of my right index finger open on a sharp can lid while I was sorting the recycling.
Crap, that hurt.
Now I have cut myself cooking numerous times. But I knew right away this was something bigger. Maybe it was the blood running down my finger and into the white sink; maybe the flapping skin; maybe just the absolute moment of agony. I ran my hand under cold water, grabbed paper towel and wraped my finger up in it. Classic first aid. The kids were doing homework and asking me questions. Quesitons I did not answer. Instead - and why I cannot explain - I found it comforting to walk in circles around the kitchen, clutching my finger, and pausing every couple of laps to run under the cold water. It numbed the pain.
And then I started to feel faint.
I've cut my finger open, it's bleeding, and I'm going to faint, I announced, making my way giddily into the living room to the couch.
I lay on the couch feeling the sweat of shock over my skin, and the room began to fade in and out. And there were voices.
Will she die? (Grace)
No! (Erik, scathingly). Her eyes are opening.
We should put her in the recovery position. (Grace)
We should apply pressure (Anna)
Can we put her in the recovery position? (Grace)
Get some bandaids and paper towel (Erik)
I could stitch it up. (Anna)
No! (Erik, scathingly)
She could choke on her tongue. We should put her in the... (Grace)
She doesn't need the recovery position until she passes out (Erik)
You won't die, Mom (Grace, rather cheerfully)
Good to know the first aid training they did at Cubs paid off. They sat there, Anna clasping my finger to staunch the flow of blood; Grace touching my forhead to see how hot I was, and trying to convince the others to let her practice the recovery position; and Erik taking charge and telling me it would be okay. And gradually the room receded and stabilized again. They gave me fresh paper towel, a dry towel to wrap around it, and a hot cup of sweet tea.
And hey, we were able to save the whole finger. It still hurts like heck. And when I get up the courage to take the bandage off, we'll see just how bad it is.
Until then, thank you to my little first aiders!