My newest writing effort is a book of commiserations. I will only know how many I have as we proceed. I call them ‘Commiserations’ because they are laments of common, rather than uncommon situations, that I share in order for others to feel their own common laments are shared and understood.
I can’t believe how numb men are. Numb, I said, not dumb. Hub cannot feel a mosquito on his neck or a stroking touch on his back or arm. Not too surprising because when he comes in from the shop he often looks as if he has been physically assaulted. Deep cuts on his hands, sizable abrasions on his arms and extensive bruises on his legs. I examine the damage and worry about infections. “These wounds need to be treated and bandaged,” I say.
“What wounds?” is his response. He usually doesn’t even know he has any.
But this morning he is in a real flurry.
He yelled for the wife, the needle, the light, the tweezers, the gauze, and the alcohol, than twisted his hand 340 degrees around so the small shaft of sunlight coming through the window shone directly on the inside of his pinky finger. No it was not that he imbedded a 3” screw into his hand – he had a sliver. With those rough, I won’t say work-worn, but generic work-worn hands, I could not believe he could even feel it. With my new bi-focals, I still couldn’t see it. I could have zeroed in on a small red pimple of infection but there was none.
Still the pain, oh God, the pain – must have been akin to child labour. One hand on the table in the shaft of sunlight and the other gripping the chair with white knuckles and feet braced so firmly on the floor, he occasionally levitated. He tried to remain still, while his torso writhed in agony and his breath came in fast sharp pants. He tried to be brave as I rotated the needle over, as in above, the ‘injury’ and waited for him to calm a bit.
A couple delicate picks of the needle, and there it was. The relief on his face surpassed even that of seedy individuals I sometimes see standing amidst an ever-fading, while enlarging, yellow bloom of water in the public swimming pool. (And I was so certain nothing could surpass that look of relief).
We of course had to disinfect Hub’s bloodless, microscopic wound seven times and sympathetically suggest that he might want to take it easy for a day or two.
Oh, and the sliver. You must see the sliver. Here it is…right here (at the tip of the arrow, but for God's sake, stand back! I don't want it to poke ye in the ey!!) --->
Of course now we understand, don’t we – how brave and courageous Hub is!