Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicks Dig Scars

I've injured myself yawning

I am a huge klutz.

I don't consider myself accident-prone, but I definitely have my share of accidents. I think my guy friend R described it best when he said I was "lacking in that whole hand-eye coordination thing."

It's true. I trip on flat surfaces. I bite it and fall down on my face pretty regularly. I walk into doors and furniture. It's such a natural occurrence at this point that when I do something that would be embarrassing to a normal person, like walking straight into a door in a very public space, I just get up, wipe myself off, shrug it off, and keep going.

I was always envious of graceful girls, ballet dancers, figure skaters, women that carry themselves regally and probably never get concussions from getting hit on the head by refrigerator doors (Senior year of high school, no big deal).

But then again, they probably don't get into the shenanigans that I find myself in, and therefore don't have the fun anecdotes that I have, best chronicled by the scars and bruises leftover from my multiple injuries.

My most impressive bruises were an assortment left after a horseback riding adventure in South Africa. I had this fabulous fantasy in my head of riding a horse into the sunset on the beautiful white sand beaches of South Africa, but it turned out to be much more physically demanding (and smelly. and dangerous.) than I had originally anticipated.

When my horse Chelsea took off into a trot with me on her back, with no previous horseback riding experience (other than that one time I rode on the back of a pony when I was four), I clung on for dear life until one of the instructors saved me. Apparently I hung on so tightly that I was left with huge baseball-sized bruises all along my butt, thighs, and calves.

Later, back on steady ground in our hotel room, my sister fell over laughing as I gingerly examined my injuries. It looked like I had been massively beaten on only the lower half of my body. The bruises were so resilient they outlasted the jet lag. Luckily the trip to South Africa took place in January, summer in the Southern Hemisphere, but frigid in New York, so warm clothing covered up my physical memoirs, and I avoided any questions about the obvious fight I had gotten into with an angry elf.

I haven't always been that lucky with my mishaps. I managed to ram my head into the edge of my armoire once when I was reaching down to pick out a shirt. I did this with such gusto that I wound up with a black eye, and had to go to work for the next few days sporting a lot of concealer and dealing with incredulous looks and a kindly inquiry from the HR woman if I'd been having problems at home.

In less of an accidental move, I got my belly button pierced as my first act of independence my freshman year of college. I, just like every other 17 year old out here, thought it was the coolest look ever, but hadn't anticipated the pain, not only the pain of the actual piercing, but the subsequent pain while it healed.

I learned quickly that every time I sat down and my pants rubbed against the ring, there would be substantial pain from the shifting. I solved this problem by unbuttoning my pants every time I sat down, from class to mealtimes, to an embarrassing encounter when I stood up to meet my friend's father and realized my fly was unbuttoned.

Four years later during my senior year, I decided the ring wasn't so cool anymore, especially since it was continually getting infected and still annoyed me every time I sat down, as well as made wearing high-waisted pants impossible.

So I took out the ring, expecting it to close up. Instead, it just scarred and left me with a small hole at the top of my belly button, a scar I will have for life unless I let my dermatologist stab at it, which is not a feasible option. It's this nagging reminder of my foolish acts of defiance when I got to college, but it still makes me laugh when I think of the awkward moments it prompted.

My most recent injury occurred this past year on a trip to the Bahamas with my family. Little sister E wanted to go on the water rides at Atlantis, so we made a day out of it. We went on all of the fun slides with height requirements before taking a break by drifting down the "Lazy River Ride," where you sit on an inner tube and float around a giant circle in three feet of water. Totally fun and harmless right?

Oh no, not if you are me. About twenty minutes in, my inner tube managed to get pushed into a wall and it turned out that the surface was jagged, leaving me with several deep gashes along my left ankle and foot. We ran over to the nearest emergency station where they disinfected and bandaged my foot.

The next day, the deepest gash on my left ankle was still bleeding, so I was taken to the nurse's station at the resort, where I had to fill out three pages of medical history to get ointment and a full foot wrap. She also told me that I had to stay off my foot and out of the water if I wanted the blood to clot.

Considering I was in the middle of the Bahamas on vacation, this wasn't about to happen, so I ignored her instructions for the next few days until I returned home to NY and kept my foot elevated for three days straight. After this, the wound finally closed up and scabbed, but for some reason, decided not to completely heal, leaving behind an elevated scar.

I was worried it was infected, so I asked several people to touch it ("Touch it, touch my scar!"), which they wouldn't (way to be loyal in my time of need, little sister E). My mom finally took a look; apparently being a parent means you are required to deal with your offspring's gross issues that no one else even wants to touch, literally. She was so worried she told me that I might have skin cancer and I should go to the dermatologist.

Instead, I showed it to my friend T, who is doing his residency in plastic surgery, so he seemed like a good dermatological substitute. He made a disgusted face (always good when a doctor-in-training is disgusted by your scar), and told me that I should get it checked out because it looks like cancer. Did I mention T is going to be an awesome doctor someday? Wonderful bedside manner...

So now, I have this very impressive one-inch scar on my left ankle that in addition to the possibility of being cancerous, was also caused by a children's lazy river ride. There were four year olds on this ride that managed to exit in one piece, but I, of course, managed to get potential skin cancer from it.

I maintain that the scars and bruises are just physical souvenirs from the fun times and adventures I've been on. Especially that lazy river ride. Those mini tides were QUITE exhilarating; I'm so glad I'll remember them for the rest of my life.

I think Keanu Reeves said it best as Shane Falco in The Replacements: "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory...lasts forever."

That's right kids. Glory. Lasts. FOREVER.


Anonymous said...

That thing is gross. I still refuse to touch it.


Stinger said...

Touch it! C'mon just touch it!