PSA, Part 2: No pain? Lots of blood? Go to the E.R. (Learn from me!)

Welcome to this unexpected follow-up to my last post.

I thought I had everything under control after I slammed the steel door on the back of my ankle. It took an hour, but I got the bleeding to stop, right? Only after my late-night shower did I realize that the situation was not under control, and it was beyond my management capabilities. I noticed more blood seeping through the jumbo band-aids (I’d stuck a second one over the first).

Of course it was past 11pm! Isn’t it always when you finally decide to go to the E.R.?

At the E.R., the doctor looked at my ankle and said that I needed stitches, but it was too late; the risk of infection was too high. I should’ve gone in for treatment within six hours of the accident. “I’ve been here all day,” he remarked lightly. He was kind.

He leaned forward in his chair as he pensively studied the wound, elbows resting on his knees, hands folded together, chin propped on his knuckles. Then he shook his head and said, “All I can do at this point is try to close it with steri-strips.”

Callaghan, who was sitting on a stool behind the doctor, later told me that the wound was gaping open and jagged around the edges. I’d had no idea. I’d thought I was dealing with a clean cut. The diagnosis on my paperwork says LACERATION, OLD – NOT SUTURED. It then explains that the wound is deep and required stitches, but “in your case, too much time has passed before coming for treatment. That is why your wound was not sutured.”

Can you hang your head in shame and roll your eyes at yourself at the same time? Yes. Yes, you can.

The doctor cleaned out the wound and applied the steri-strips (sticker sutures) to hold the separated tissue together. I felt pressure and pulling, but still no pain. It turned out that my nerves were damaged, so they couldn’t send pain signals to my brain.

This brings me to today’s important Public Service Announcement: if you’re bleeding persistently from an open wound, go to the E.R. right away, even if you’re not feeling pain.

I had it the wrong way around. I didn’t think it was that serious because I felt no pain. It didn’t help that I couldn’t really see the back of my ankle when my foot was up in the basin, but that’s neither here nor there. There was bleeding… it wasn’t stopping… I should have gone in for treatment, period. Instead, I flew into problem-solving mode and focused on resolving the issue myself. I only partially blame the Army for this.

A nurse wrapped the wound with an Ace bandage, and I went home with a set of crutches.

 

When band-aids aren’t enough.

 

Funny thing, Callaghan didn’t even know about the accident until he read my blog post that night! He found out when you guys did. I forgot to tell him about it when he got home from work.

We were told that it could take up to four weeks for the wound to heal completely, but I can get back to weight-lifting after one week of inactivity. It’ll be at least two weeks before I can do cardio again. The wound will fill in from the bottom and the sides, and it’ll scar, to which I say whatever. It could’ve easily been worse. It was my Achilles tendon’s lucky day!

Anyway, guys, if this happens to you, don’t do what I did. If it takes an hour to stop the bleeding, something is wrong. If it’s still bleeding after even 20 minutes, something is wrong! You’ll need professional treatment, and you should go get it within six hours. I waited more than 12 hours, putting myself at higher risk for infection. My scar will be deeper, and my healing time will be longer.

Also, while I’m at it, do remember to update your tetanus shots every five years. That was one thing that concerned the doctor that I actually got right.

[/PSA]

p.s. I found out how to remove ads from my blog! You’re welcome!

 

PSA: hydrogen peroxide is an accomplice to flesh-eating bacteria.

We all do dumb things now and again. Sometimes, our idiocy costs us time. Here’s a scenario: you pull a steel door shut behind you too quickly, as in, it slams shut before your foot leaves the threshold, so the sharp edge of the steel bar at the bottom slices the back of your ankle. You think Achilles tendon close call because you know it’s only a superficial cut, but damn.

It doesn’t hurt, but you hurry to the bathroom because you don’t want blood to get on the floor. In the bathroom, you swing your foot up into the basin and wish you were more flexible. The soap dispenser is empty, but luckily, the big refill bottle is in the cabinet below. You keep your foot under the stream of water in the basin while using what little flexibility you have to reach under and around your leg to get to the soap in the cabinet.

Bloody water splashes in the basin as you keep your ankle under the open tap while smashing the world record in fastest soap dispenser re-filling.

After washing the cut with the anti-bacterial soap, you open the medicine cabinet and snatch your hand away from the hydrogen peroxide the moment you reach for it. You’ve remembered an article you read about someone who was murdered by flesh-eating bacteria. In the comments, a guy wrote that you should NEVER use peroxide on an open wound. Hydrogen peroxide “cuts the oxygen supply and the bacteria goes ballistic into your flesh.” You trust that this is sound advice because the guy survived flesh-eating bacteria, himself, and that was the take-away.

Your cut is about an inch long and deep enough to keep bleeding. Gauze would be helpful. There isn’t any. But there are jumbo band-aids and neosporin. It happens that there’s a roll of paper towels at hand, too. You turn off the water and hold a paper towel compress to the cut. Turns out that it’s awkward holding firm, direct pressure on the back of an ankle, because the back of an ankle is basically skin stretched over a taut rope. There’s no real estate to speak of back there. Plus, it’s round.

You lower yourself to the floor without touching down with that foot (pistol squat bonus!) and open a vanity drawer so you can prop up your foot to elevate the cut above your heart, still holding the paper towel compress on the cut. (V-crunch hold bonus!) When you get up, you quickly unwrap a jumbo band-aid, squeeze neosporin onto it, and slap it over the cut, securing it as tightly as possible. But it keeps bleeding. You can see it seeping under the band-aid. More elevation, you think, but get comfortable this time!

You pistol-squat back down to the ground and crab-walk across the hall into your office with your foot in the air (single leg hip bridge + crab walk bonus!), reach up to grab your phone from the corner of your desk, and lie back on the floor with your foot on the desk chair. You watch the July Grand Sumo Tournament Wrap-Up video (Jason’s All-Sumo channel on YouTube) on your phone and get up when it’s over. The video was 23 minutes long. The bleeding seems to have stopped.

Congratulations! You’ve wasted an hour of the morning on shenanigans set into motion by closing a steel security screen door behind you too hastily… but you were SO excited to retrieve your package from Amazon, and you couldn’t wait to get inside to open it! You really needed that replacement phone case. Now you have it. (Bloody basin, jumbo band-aid bonus!)

 

 

Midsommar: you don’t go to frolic. (A review, of sorts. No spoilers.)

On Sunday, we went to the movies anticipating a good scare, because we thought we were about to see a normal horror flick. But that plan didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Nothing about Midsommar turned out the way I thought it would. Midsommar is a film that does things to you. Leaving the theater, it was more “what just happened to me?” than “what did I just see?”

There’s horror, and then there’s Midsommar.

 

 

Writer/director Ari Aster (Hereditary) and independent film distributor A24 bring us a masterpiece of psychological horror in Midsommar. One needs to be somehow mentally prepared to see it. Don’t look to the trailer for help with this, because the “scary” parts aren’t even in it. Midsommar is disturbing to the extreme. For me, it was an unsettling and inexplicably compelling visceral experience.

A group of four American friends travel to Scandinavia at the invitation of a fellow student at the university. He’s from Sweden, and he’s spoken of a special summer festival held in his small community back home. The festival takes place only once every 90 years! Cultural anthropology doctoral candidates can’t pass it up, can they? Especially considering that they’re still wavering on where to train their focus in their graduate studies. An ancient festival in Sweden, now, that would be different. One of the students has a girlfriend suffering in the aftermath of a tragic event; she tags along, desperate to hang onto her caring yet ambivalent boyfriend.

And so we’re all shepherded to Sweden by our congenial Swedish student friend. He’s happy to take us on this trip to experience the festival… and a trip, it is.

I’m leaving by the wayside any attempt at sounding intellectual in this review, because I’m not an expert reviewer, and it’s difficult to characterize how I felt from the time the Americans reached Sweden. Having made this disclaimer, I can say that once the group arrived at the festival in all its isolated, bucolic splendor, it was just WTF piling on WTF slowly and steadily throughout the rest of the film. Midsommar is a true WTF-fest. By the end of the movie, I felt pinned to my seat beneath the weight of a WTF stone tower, each stone heavier than the last. If I needed the restroom during this movie, I couldn’t feel it. Midsommar is completely immersive, and that is one of its horrifying strengths.

In Midsommar, Ari Aster seeded the horror in the atmosphere of the setting; from there, he grew and cultivated it with methodical precision. Simple acoustic music played by festival hosts takes the shape of a voice that serves as much as a character as the actors. Skillful usage of foreshadowing and symbolism help the film to burrow under the skin. There are no jump-scare cheap thrills in this film.* An early scene in which the group is driven through the Swedish forest to the festival is presented upside-down. This bit of symbolism sets the tone for the rest of the movie as standard horror conventions fly out of that upside-down vehicle’s window.

We are in Sweden in the summer. Our tendency is to think of horror unfolding in the dark, but Midsommar is horror unfolding in a place that never gets dark.

Elsewhere in the horror genre, we might experience the horror of, say, a haunted house. In Midsommar, we experience the horror of nature in a peaceful, Scandinavian countryside.

Midsommar robbed me of some pedantic horror-movie joys: a few things happened that I guessed would happen, but I couldn’t take satisfaction in guessing correctly, because the events played out in ways more twisted than I could have imagined. I was too traumatized to be smug.

That’s the thing about this film. Even if you know what f*cked up thing is about to happen, you can’t believe what you’re seeing as it’s happening. The happening is more horrific than the thing, itself.

Another of Midsommar’s strengths is that it’s horror that could occur in real life. You think, this could happen. Then you dare think, maybe it does.

I’ve spent the past few days recovering from this nightmare film, and yet I’m sitting here recommending it. As disturbing as it is, Midsommar is impressive and beautifully wrought. The writing, direction, and acting are superb. It’s a fine work of indie art, as we’d expect from A24.

When we stopped at the store after the movie, I made my way through the aisles feeling disoriented and panicky. I was jumpy and irritable. You would’ve thought I was in Costco, not Whole Foods! Everything freaked me out: interactions with people in the store. The color white. The flowers for sale. My inability to find an item that I needed. The cashier handing me the receipt.

I saw runes everywhere, in everything. I still do. It’s chilling to the core.

I don’t know whether a film this macabre, graphic, and psychologically disturbing can be an Academy Awards contender, but if it can, Midsommar deserves nominations. The big ones all apply: writing, acting, directing, cinematography, musical score, costumes, editing.

If you’re up for the challenge and thrill of psychological horror, go see Midsommar in the theater! You need the theater to optimize the immersive experience of it. I would recommend that you see it in any case. It’s an excellent film. It’s an experience. As the tag-line says, let the festivities begin.

*****

*Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy carefully placed cheap-thrill jump scares!

 

 

Caveats and other miscellany

[Post Script to my previous post] I watched a YouTube video of Naomi Campbell getting groceries from Whole Foods, and when she reached into the bulk bins for raisins, cashews, and walnuts, I shouted, “Naomi!! Noooooooo!!!” at the screen. I don’t think her past self heard me. I hope she’s not eating larvae right now. I’ve seen her airplane video, too. She should not be eating from bulk bins.

In today’s news, I just spent the last few hours dealing with wiping my phone, subsequently losing all of my contacts, and trying to recover them by DM-ing people on social media. If you have my number already, please text me so I can get you back onto my Contacts list.

Today, you (selfie-requesters) get a pic of me kicking back in sweats on a couch I’m looking into getting reupholstered, against a wall that’s soon to be painted, under a picture that probably won’t be in that spot the next time you see me here, with shorter hair that isn’t styled the way I would normally wear it, and with no make-up except lipstick.

 

It’s July 14, that’s why.

 

Changes around the house are happening aplenty. I hope to have that updated office tour for you next week! I stumbled upon a treasure from the Goodwill, which got me going on a décor theme for this space.

On that note, I hope you’ve all had a good week. Happy Friday Eve!

 

 

Bulk bins: a cautionary tale.

I should’ve thrown out the mixed nuts that first time I found peanut skins joined together and dangling from the edge of the mini popcorn cake I was using as a spoon. When I sifted through the contents of the plastic container with another popcorn cake, I pulled up more of the little chains, each one delicate and wispy, as if formed out of spider webs. Some of the chains were comprised of just peanut skins, while others included tiny bits of the nuts. It was a mystery, but I hadn’t gotten sick… so what did I do? I carried on eating the nuts, day after day, choosing to ignore the occasional, invisible strands.

In my defense, I hadn’t seen any spiders in the mix.

The mystery solved itself when I opened the container yesterday and a small white moth fluttered out. I’d been eating moth silk, which means I’d probably eaten through larvae, as the silk would’ve come from a cocoon evacuated by a mature moth. There would be more than one, right? In all likelihood?

The nuts I’d been eating from that batch at Sprouts weren’t vegan. Oh, well. These things happen! I’m not ill, and the moth is alive and well in the house somewhere, so everyone’s fine. Still, I think I’m done eating from bulk bins. Stores can’t know what’s actually in them, I guess is the lesson here. Bulk foods are generally the thriftier way to go, but I’m not going to pay to eat moth larvae!

It was dumb of me to continue eating the strands of peanut skins and crumbs, but at least I can bring you this Public Service Announcement: proceed with caution when opting to purchase food from bulk bins. Where there’s larvae, there could also be something worse!

Time will tell if there are larvae growing in my gut. You know you’ll hear about it if there are.

 

 

Cicadas are rad, and other random thoughts. (Plus a mini gym update!)

Sorry again about Tuesday’s late-night post, guys. Today is a new and better day, because today, I’m not operating in crisis mode. All is well, and I have a few thoughts to share. I also have gym updates.

Thing 1: It was 112 degrees today, and it’s been thereabouts for weeks now. This kind of heat ushers us into the cicada season part of summer in the desert. Cicadas hold a special place in my heart because I associate them with life in Arizona; to me, they’re emblematic in that way. I find them enchanting with their beautiful, diaphanous wings, their benignly short antennae, and their large, round, wide-set eyes that give them those adorable little faces. I’m delighted by the way they rattle their songs without care or concern that they sound like loudly malfunctioning electronics. Cicadas are nature’s industrial music artists, and as appropriate, they crank it! I love them.

Thing 2: I crawled out from under my rock to find that Jake Gyllenhaal is in the new Spider Man movie. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Thing 3: Netflix drops Money Heist Part 3 on July 19 – next week Friday!!! Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) is my second-favorite series (the first being The Americans). If you enjoy the crime thriller/action genre and haven’t yet seen Money Heist, I highly recommend it. Watch it in its original Spanish with whatever subtitles you need. This series is abjectly brilliant.

I enjoyed the season 3 trailer this morning:

 

 

Thing 3: I keep thinking that today’s Friday because I didn’t need to be anywhere, and I went to Body Pump yesterday morning. It feels odd, switching up a gym schedule I’d had for so long. It’s invigorating. Change is ultimately good, even if I balk at the idea of it sometimes.

Tomorrow is Friday, so it’s Body Combat. The next morning will be Saturday-morning Body Pump, as usual. This works well. I’d rather do Pump the day after Combat than the day before.

I’m so grateful to be able to incorporate such a schedule preference.

(Cue gym updates)

It’s been a good gym week! Monday, we had a sub who challenged us to go up one weight increment on the all-dumbbell biceps track she’d chosen, and I did, and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have to drop down to my regular weights. I suppose this means that I should always use the higher weights…? I know that’s what it means. I’m just a bit daunted. I’m doubtful that I can maintain that weight through every biceps track, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t start out with it.

For Body Pump yesterday morning, I went to a location I’d never visited before. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that its floors are gorgeous, which seems like a weird thing to admire in a gym. The Body Pump instructor had his unique personality and teaching style, which I thought was interesting. It was a good work-out. I’m glad, because that’s going to be my regular Wednesday morning class.

I took a selfie in the locker room beforehand:

 

Body Pump at a new-to-me gym location

 

Everything isn’t different, though! I’m fortunate to be able to keep my former-gym Tuesday/Thursday Pump instructor, as she teaches my Monday class at the new gym!

I like to stick with professionals with whom I click in both formal and friendly ways. A hairstylist who knows how to cut my hair. A tax preparer who knows how to make filing taxes painless and fun. A realtor who’s always, unequivocally the best. And inspirational, authoritative group fitness instructors who set challenges.

Happy Friday Eve, all!

 

 

Indisposed. (Desert tortoise update!)

It’s a mini-update, actually.

Life did that thing where it throws a hundred thousand things at you and you fail to catch them all and next thing you know, you’re waist-deep in misses and all you have to share in your blog is a few pics of your tortoise… but Geronimo pics have been requested, so it works.

These are from today:

 

The relentless flower-hunter. Capture and kill.

 

(These next three are screenshots from video clips! I was going to post a Geronimo video today, but they came through mangled and unwatchable, for some reason.)

 

Camo artist at work, complete with a leaf in his mouth.

 

Heading home!

 

Taking the back path to his burrow

 

We haven’t seen much of Geronimo lately. He’s been digging more. We suspect he’s constructing a network of tunnels beneath our lawn, as we’ve heard his kind are wont to do. If we ever achieve snaking a little camera through, I’ll take you along!