There are three kinds of people in this world: the ones who can stomach blood, bones, and other bodily innards (these are the people who obviously go on to become doctors, brain surgeons, and paramedics); the ones who faint at the sight, smell, or mention of blood; and the ones who pretend they are okay with the sight and smell of blood but in reality freak out when they get a paper cut.
Oh, and then there are vampires.
I definitely fall into the third category, although I don’t freak out too much when I see blood. Over the years, I’ve nicked myself with a knife enough times that a small slit or cut is no big deal. I figure that getting minor burns and cuts comes with having baking as a hobby.
I’ve never cut myself this badly before.
I was using a steak knife (stupid, I know) to take the pit of an avocado out. In my haste, the knife slipped and cut through the pale green flesh of the avocado and through the skin on my ring finger. Pain eroded from the site of the cut and thick, red droplets of blood immediately gushed out into the sink. I freaked out, holding my bleeding hand over the sink, my mind blank. I had never drawn this much blood before and I had no clue what to do.
My mom came to my aid, holding paper towels paper towels over the cut. I tried not to lose my cool as I saw the blood seeping through the paper towels, but I was in shock anyways. I don’t faint at the sight of blood, but needless to say, I was quite concerned that I was bleeding this much. I looked away. By the time my mom taped the gauze to my finger, I was feeling a lot more collected. It’s just another cut, I told myself. I proceeded with my day and went to the mall with my friend Huilin.
An hour and a half later, my mom called. “We better go the hospital to get stitches,” she told me. “I’ve been thinking and the cut looked pretty deep and it’s longer than a centimetre. It’s going to scar terribly.”As much as I feared needles and hospitals, I couldn't argue with her. I had been looking away when she had bandaged the cut and didn’t even know how long or deep the cut was.
My mom dropped me off at the ER and with as much maturity as I could muster, I talked to the nurse about the details of my injury and let her take the bandage off to assess the cut. To my fascination and disgust, the cut was still wet with blood and swollen as well. It was pretty gruesome, but I already felt disconnected with it since the most of the pain had ceased. I told myself getting stitches was no big deal and that I would be mature about it.
I believed it, too, up until the doctor pulled out the needle filled with anaesthetic and told to lay my hand down on the hospital bed. I jerked away. Just as the thought of blood leaving my body through a massive cut makes me panic, so does the idea of a needle breaking skin.
I took a deep breath and told myself to suck it up. “Okay,” I said. “Go.” I tried to watch the doctor insert the needle into my finger. I tried to make myself watch the doctor stitch up the cut with that obnoxiously blue plastic thread. I tried not to scream inside, from pain and fear. I tried, but I couldn't. My irrational fear was getting the better of me. I shut my eyes tightly and focussed on the croissants that I was going to buy afterwards. After all, there’s nothing like food therapy to cure an irrational fear.
“It’s over,” the doctor announced, putting a band-aid on the cut. I breathed loudly and thanked him; the worst was over. Shaking, I got up to leave. On my way out, I marvelled again at the fact that healthcare in Canada was free. I was pretty amazed at the thought that I could walk into any hospital in Canada, get a cut stitched up, and walk out, without opening my wallet for a different reason than to get my health card. I shoved a crumpled bill into the donation box and walked out of the hospital, feeling a lot lighter than I had when I’d walked in. Maybe I’ll never become a doctor, but hopefully I’ll get over needles and blood and stitches one day.