This sort of thing is just part of my daily life and most people's lives, (Right? Right you guys?) so I have learned to use the first few seconds of numbness that you have before your nerve endings are able to communicate to your brain just exactly how much pain you are in, to assess the immediate damage.
It is important to point out at this time that because your brain is trying to decode frantic shrieking from your nerve endings, it makes slightly less urgent messages from your retinas it's last priority, which tends to affect the aforementioned assessment of carnage.
As I attempted to prevent blood from staining the carpet and/or my top, I finally ascertained that a portion of my thumbnail* had been completely ripped off, exposing that sensitive area underneath that, once exposed, reacts to open air much more like your insides than your outsides. What I mean is, it hurts like hell.
*closer inspection several hours later revealed that it's a much smaller portion than originally thought, or than my hypochondria-tic Facebook posts led my friends to believe.**
**That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, only that there was a lot of blood and I am a total drama queen.
Since I am ironically lacking in proper first-aid materials, I had to settle for the ever popular "poor man's band-aid" of Kleenex and tape that my father was so adept at (I don't think it's because we were poor but rather because when you have four kids and one of them scrapes a knee you don't really feel like hauling them all to Wal-Mart just for a Little Mermaid band-aide).
If you have ever ripped off a fingernail you are one of the unfortunate few who know just exactly how dis-proportionally painful it can be considering the surface area. It hurts to even bump things with it, even the opposite side, no matter how much padding you add. In order for the rest of this post to really work, you have to be able to visualize the current state of my thumb.
I am not quite as talented my friend and fellow Blogger who can produce great sketches in just a few minutes, but I present to you a two minute sharpie-sketch entitled The Current State of My Thumb.
P.S. That nail polish is purple, not blue. Blue is so tacky.
Hopefully this has helped you understand how gross my thumb is and why I can't even use it without experiencing a (I might be exaggerating this a little) horrible searing shooting pain up my forearm.
I don't even know how people who actually lose a whole thumb make it through a day. I applaud all the thumb-less humans in the world (I don't count people who were only born with one thumb, their bodies just naturally adapt). I could mention all the people missing serious appendages such as an arm or legs, but that puts my personal issues into perspective and not only ruins this whole post but exposes me for the giant Cry-Baby I really am.
Anyway, here is my list so far of Everyday Activities Made Practically Impossible Without the Use of Your Left Thumb.*
*I don't even want to think about how much longer this list would be if it was my right thumb in the bandage.
1. Putting in Contacts
- it's fine until the contact flips inside out. It takes two thumbs to correct that problem.
2. Shaving right arm-pit.
- just don't shave. Trust me. it's nearly impossible to safely hold a razor with no thumb.
3. Putting on a bra.
- That clasp is tiny. I recommend sports bras.
4. Buttoning jeans.
- "I hurt my thumb" is not a viable excuse for wearing sweatpants to work, but it totally should be.
5. Cracking an egg.
- what started out as poached eggs ended up as crunchy scrambled eggs, and not before a few casualties occurred on the counter. My dad can crack eggs with one hand, but he possesses both larger hands and more dexterity.
- I have a full keyboard on my phone that requires two thumbs to use. This discourages texting and driving, and in today's case, texting altogether.
7. Putting earring in right ear.
-Not impossible, but more difficult.
8. Putting backing on earring in left ear.
- See: above.
9. Carrying 6 bags of groceries in each hand.
- had to make two trips. Not from the store.. just from my car to the front door. Which means I'm lazy, but you're all right there with me.
Thankfully I hold a fork with my right hand or this list would be so much longer. I made it through today (barring any complications during dinner, also I anticipate removing my contacts will also be an issue) but it has left me pondering how long the healing process of a simple fingernail could possibly be. I don't think it's that long and here's why:
I have a very clear memory of my little sister losing her toenails when she was three or four. We were holding on to opposite ends of a rope and swinging each other around the living room (centrifugal force is, and always will be, one of the easiest and most delightful forms of human entertainment). Her foot scraped against our rock fireplace, removing four toenails. I remember clearly that is was disgusting and she screamed for hours. She screamed especially hard when our mom applied the band-aides to each one of her tiny toes- a pain I can now understand.
To this day it is one of my most vivid childhood memories. But it stops there. I have absolutely no memory whatsoever of the following recovery period. Did it hurt to walk? Did her nails grow back quickly, or did the skin just become accustomed to air and stop hurting? It must not have taken long to heal or I would have memories of her crying while the band-aides were changed, wouldn't I?
Either that or at three years old my sister was already less of a baby about this sort of thing than I am now. That's probably it.