While I can easily be labeled, I defy categorization in a number of odd ways. For example, I have no trouble seeing my own blood. The picture below captures the aftermath of my encounter with what’s known locally as “cesped gigante” or, in english, big freaking grass. I didn’t enjoy breaking my little finger or spilling a quart of blood in our yard during last fall’s gardening mishap with the big, f’n grass, but I found the red trail I made coming back into the house funny (like a horrific version of Family Circus).
This gives the impression that I am far from squeamish and probably enjoy watching reruns of Nip Tuck. The truth is that the only blood I can tolerate seeing is my own — the sight of anyone else’s blood is nauseating, debilitating.
I recently performed my own analysis of this quirk as I helped a doctor pin our eldest (affectionally known as Thing #1) to the table so she could stitch up the horrific, three+ inch long gash in his throat with what eventually turned out to be thirteen stitches. I knew I couldn’t throw-up as Thing #1 was justifiably freaked out enough on his own without me adding vomit to the equation. That said I couldn’t wrap my arms around the idea that things that were very much supposed to be hidden on the inside of his body were staring out at me.
During the 90 minutes my wife and I spent mostly lying to Thing #1 about how things looked and how much longer it would be I had ample opportunity to cast doubt on a number of things. Just below evil thoughts I harbored regarding the existence of a deity that would allow events like this to happen to an innocent boy, the political process in the US, and whether or not the NBA is fixed lay the real issue: was I up for this or would my phobia get the best of me?
As Thing #1 wriggled, kicked and yelled I tried to tamp down memories of articles I’d read where husbands had passed out while purportedly trying to help their wives through the birthing process. In rare occasions these men had died when their unconscious heads collided with something on the way down to the floor (or the floor itself did them in).
I envisioned a headline of “Big, Wimpy Gringo Dies When His Oversized Head Hits the Floor of Doctor’s Office, Permanently Emotionally Scarring His Now Physically Scarred Son Who Had Recently Lost a Battle With Bamboo Whilst Riding a Horse.” Yes, that headline is entirely too long but in real life that’s what editors are for and fear knows no word count.
During the process we learned that Thing #1 was going to be fine. Wounds heal, chicks dig scars and particularly in this case, Costa Rica has some of the better doctors in the world. My relief at his situation unfortunately gave me more time I didn’t need to focus on my own obvious short-comings.
Ultimately we emerged from the little emergency clinic with Thing #1 stitched-up and primarily interested in ice cream and video games. Thing #2, who had been uncharacteristically well-behaved during this span, proclaimed that he was happy his brother was ok, and also happy to share in the upcoming treats and indoor inactivity. My bride, who was present when the freak accident occurred, was fighting through a mix of shock, fear and relief.
I felt strange for days. I take no pride in the fact that I didn’t pass out, and give myself a D-minus for my performance. I am very grateful that Thing #1 is ok, and take back most of the negative things I thought about higher powers. I remain dubious of my ability to see the blood of anyone other than myself. I also remain unconvinced of the NBA’ s credibility and the two-party system.
Finally, with the score now 2 – 0 in favor of grass (including bamboo and big-f’n varieties), I have resolved to stick to the dirt roads whenever possible and leave interaction with cesped to those better physically and emotionally equipped to deal with it.