The Papercut

It was a normal Sunday afternoon like any other… or so I thought.

I had just finished my morning sessions in the gym as usual and was enlisted in the task of the IKEA trip and my man skills were going to be needed to build some chairs. Naturally I was pumped up, I’m designed to be a creator! I live for flatpack, it is like lego, but for big boys.

Arriving home before making the thirty minute trip, I had my lunch; salmon and cabbage with some sweet potato chips. I would have appreciated it a lot more if I had’ve known the afternoon that awaited me. My lift arrived and I got to see my baby girl, the sky was cloudy but all-in-all it was a nice day. Walking around the store I watched at all the people itemising their futures with my baby holding me by the finger… I would have appreciated it a lot more if someone had of told me this was going to be the last time I used that finger…. on the way home it started to rain, but I ignored the signs.

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Back at my mother-in-laws place, I began to unpack the first chair. I knew there was a knife in the drawer but my emergency key was in my wallet so I just decided to cut the masking tape with that – no sense using a knife when I’d only have to wash it later. The IKEA chair, as usual, consisted of the back as one unit, the smaller front as another, two sides and the cushion. Ten minutes, if that, to make it. Hell, after building three or four of them in your lifetime you can practically do it with your eyes closed.

Chair number one complete I pulled over the box for the second chair. One piece of tape on the shorter sides and two on the long side. The left was closest to me, pretty easy, just glided through. The two front bits didn’t go as easily though, I had to hack a little – took a lot more effort than I would have liked. With the far right hand side I thought that I didn’t want to have to reach so far and hack like the previous two, so I best make sure to make it smooth and as fast as possible……… Slice.

I knew I didn’t have much time. Still clasping my finger tight, I managed to make it to my feet to take a mad dash to the kitchen.

I knew what I had done the second the key fell from my hand. I clasped my finger, with a look just in time to see the blood seeping through my wound. I was paper cut, and not a good one. With the card board thickness I had been left with two gaping holes on the top of my right index finger. The pain was unimaginable, the blood continued to pour as I bit down hard on my lip… I knew I didn’t have much time. Still clasping my finger tight, I managed to make it to my feet to take a mad dash to the kitchen. The room was spinning, there was a strange white noise coming from all around me, my legs were like jelly, my mouth was dry; I tried to cry for help but all that came out was an incoherent mumble. Reaching for a tea towel, I fell to the floor.

I awoke several hours later in a cold sweat. I could feel the tears dried into my face and the smell of blood was sickening, what state was I in? Had the septicaemia already set in? My feet were numb, my lips chapped, the fear was paralysing. Rolling to my front, still not building the courage to check if my finger was still attached, I managed to use the drawers to make it back up to the kitchen counter with my one remaining arm. It started to hit me, how would I work? How could I dress myself? How was I going to tell my wife I was now in need of constant care? Was she ready for that commitment? Would I ever ring a doorbell again?

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Stumbling down the corridor to the lift it seemed like the building was empty. Had I stumbled into some kind of ghost town? Where was anyone in my hour of need!? The black spots where returning, I knew I didn’t have much time if I was going to make it, I needed a hospital, and I needed it now. I pushed the button for the lift and what felt like an eternity. It finally arrived. I wondered what would become of me, if one arm push ups and kettlebell swings would make a good training program; would I ever snatch again? I collapsed as the elevator doors opened, I just about managed to hit the ground button with my foot before I threw up on the floor, “Save me” I sobbed.

The doors opened at the ground floor. I was getting weak, dragging myself forward with only one arm was so tiring, is this where I was going to die? I was pretty sure there was no hope of saving the arm now, star jumps were going to be impossible.

I couldn’t crawl any longer, I had used everything I had, there was nothing left to give, the darkness was creeping over me. Just then, my wife appeared: “Not again!” she cried. I knew I was delirious as the other words that I could make out sounded strange, “Why are you such a drama queen?” There is no way she could have no empathy, everyone knows how serious paper cuts are.

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A month has passed. I am getting used to the hospital meals, but bed sores are a nightmare. Luckily for me there was no infection and I just might be able to start rehab on my finger soon. I can’t wait to be able to point again, do my own buttons, cut my own food. You don’t realise how important something is until it is gone. Wish me luck on this new journey of self discovery, and be safe everyone. Be safe.

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