It was a fairly ordinary weekend right up until I set myself on fire.
I was sending out my valentines and excited to use some new sealing wax I bought to stamp double hearts on the envelopes. Most waxes are dark colors like gold, bronze, or silver, but I found a package of bright colors and for a lot less than most places were selling it for.
Once I opened them I realized they didn’t have a wick. No matter, who needs it?
I selected a lovely pink color, took a lighter to it and poof! - - The whole stick caught fire.
A big chunk fell off almost immediately, and rolled over the knuckle of my index finger and then down between my first and second finger, pinged the hem of my shirt and landed on the floor, still a tiny flaming ball of wax.
I patted my tummy and stomped the floor (thank you yoga = plantar fasciitis = always wearing shoes around the house now) The tee was miraculously unharmed, but I can’t say the same for my fingers.
My first finger was seared from the outside of the knuckle over the top of the finger and around through the inside, plus a few centimeters in either direction on the front side. The second finger mostly caught it on the inner knuckle but I might have aggravated it by trying to remove some pieces of wax that were stuck to it.
I ran them under cool water and dug out my first aid kit and discovered to my horror, but also kind of good luck, that I had only two Telfa bandages left.
I tried applying aloe gel but I guess it’s not quite the same as fresh aloe from a plant because the pain, the pain…
I rinsed again and used some Neosporin with pain relief instead. Good ol’ Neosporin. That stuff works for everything. I wrapped my fingers up and cleaned up the ashes and plucked some wax droppings off of the envelope I had been trying to seal. Fortunately, I keep stickers around the house for just such an emergency and covered up the wax stains.
Then I cleaned up the ashes from the floor and tossed what was left of my wax stick into the sink, wet it down and then trashed it.
And now we know why everyone charges extra for a stick with a wick.
For the rest of the night, I learned how many things require use of the first two fingers. You might be able to get along without one, but anything after that should almost qualify you for disability.
The next morning, I winced through tying my shoes. It wasn’t enough that I couldn’t really bend the fingers, but every time I made accidental contact, it felt like I was being bitten.
I ended up wearing my hair down because I couldn’t get a good enough grasp on the brush to bun it, and using any kind of ponytail holder was out of the question anyway. Even typing this is making me want to personally find you and make sure you read every word considering the time it’s taking me.
If it’s true that using your non-dominant hand makes you smarter than my IQ was surely raised in a day since I spent most of it using my left hand for everything.
Buying more bandages before work was its own adventure, but the good news is there was only one kissy face couple behind me and I don’t think they noticed how long I was taking to do everything.
I don’t know what I expected when I got ready to change the bandages but I was surprised at how blistered up everything had become. My knuckles tend to swell from time to time anyway, but you ever hear someone say someone’s hands look like they’ve been punching cattle?
I totally understand that now.
I keep telling myself that pain is good because I thought I read that pain doesn’t accompany the most severe burns, just first or sometimes second degree but that’s bullcrap, man. Pain is not good. Pain is plain painful and it sucks.
And then there’s the itching. A nurse at work told me that I should expect that while it heals.
So on the bright side it’s healing.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal.
It could be the whole hand. Or my arm could be in a sling. I could have pins in my leg or a full body cast.
It’s just a short term, even if annoying, inconvenience, so I won’t complain anymore than I already have.
I ended up getting a lot of compliments on my hair, and the weather was rather accommodating considering it’s February.
I didn’t have a lot of meetings so I didn’t have to do a ton of fast writing or explain why my hand was half mummified with the unlikely (and possibly titillating) story of “I got hit by a burning piece of wax.”
As far as injuries go, it’s a lot less physically off-putting than the time I accidentally got a Q-Tip stuck in my eye, and nowhere near as creepy as the time I caught a bug in my ear. (Not to be confused with our delightful weekly earworms, but literally, a bug crawled into my ear one summer night and I had to go the urgent care to have it killed and removed.)
And my gosh, it’s just temporary. I have all kinds of annoying little things that stay with me. I still have migraines, bouts of tinnitus, creaky knees, some stiff joints, and less than stellar eyesight.
But you know what, everything’s functional even if it looks weird or isn’t always in tiptop condition.
I remain grateful for that.
Until the end of the week (if I’m lucky), I still have eight good fingers left.
Zero 7 – Your Place
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