Panic is about the very best I can muster. I have been up to minor shenanigans with a block of butter and a bread knife, attempting cooking.
The knife has slid, as it proverbially does, through the butter and straight into my finger. There is blood, slowly seeping, from the skin and into my fingernail where it collects in a ruby bright pool.
Blood. I can't do blood. But there it is, oozing from my finger. No pain yet, just lots of blood. I start to panic. I start to hyperventilate. Then I start to cry.
I call my friend Simon. "I've cut my finger," I wail. "There's blood." I can hardly speak, for gasping. "It's bleeding. Bleeding blood. You have to come now."
The eight-minute wait is agony. The worst thing to do is look; whatever happens, I can't look. My head goes cold and tiny sprights of bright light start flashing around my vision. I'm going to faint so I kneel on the bathroom floor and dangle the hand over the sink to let the blood drip down.
A tiny pulse threads in the end of the cut finger. I concentrate on a breath in and a breath out and a breath in ...
Finally, Simon arrives. At floor level I notice his shoelaces are undone but he has remembered plasters.
"Let me see it," he says. "DON'T TOUCH IT," I heave, still panicking. "DON'T TOUCH IT." "Ok ... well, what would you like me to do?" "DON'T TOUCH IT."
"Right. It's just that I'm a bit limited in my options."
He turns on the tap - I'm not looking, still, but I can hear it being turned on - and moves my finger towards the treacherous water. "NO." I'm crying so hard I start to hiccough. "I was, I was, brave."
There's cotton wool by the window. I allow Simon to dab the wound with damp cotton wool while I grip the door jamb to ward off another threatening faint. "BE CAREFUL," hic, "THE SKIN," hic, "IT'S FLAPPY."
I used to donate blood. I used to be normal. And now ... pathetic.
Simon says: "Look, have a look." "Noooo." The "no" wavers up and down, enjoys a couple of hiccoughs and a really huge gasp for breath. "Seriously," he persists. "Just take a look. A little look."
My eyes are swollen by salted water and I cannot breathe through my nose. Through the eyelashes of one eye, I sneak a peek. The cut is about the size of a kitten's claw and as deep as the width of a penny. In short, it's nothing.
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