Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Thin Skin

Two days ago Darwin and I were booking it on our daily walk, against the chill and the first drops of rain. I was trotting along, proud of my easy jog, when I caught my toe in an uneven patch of sidewalk, and found the ground rapidly rising to meet me. I had time to think,"I'm going all the way to the ground," but not enough time to make any kind of attempt to save myself. The bluster of the evening meant that no one else was out to witness my downfall, but still, it is an ignominious thing to be sprawled on the concrete.

I got up heavily, with Darwin's help, and we continued on our way, but it was clear that I'd done something nasty to my knees. The palms of my hand were rapidly turning a bruisy purple, and my elbows twinged uncomfortably with the force of the jolt. Indeed, once I gingerly peeled off my leggings at home, they lifted skin and blood from my raw knees.

What a thing it is to be over 40! I haven't skinned my knees since I was a featherweight careening around on my bike or running barefoot down a gravel driveway. In those days once bounced back up and cried a little, then ran inside to have Mom wipe up and put a bandaid on the scrapes. Then it was back outside again, and the injury forgotten. Now I hauled myself stiffly upstairs and applied myself to the task of how one could fix sterile pads over an area too large to be covered by a bandaid, when one had no more surgical tape in the house because one's children had found it at some point.

Well, one doesn't fix them, is the answer. I sat in bed with the untaped pads lightly covering the thick film of antibiotic cream on my open flesh, and gave myself up to the idea that I was down for the night. Darwin brought me coffee; my older daughters shared some chocolate they'd spirited away, and the younger ones came up to gawk at my injuries.

"Just like Jesus," I said, contemplating my skinned knee, but I knew I was being pretentious. Jesus fell under the weight of the cross, already suffering from horrendous injuries; my knee took the brunt of nothing other than 41 years and seven children's worth of avoirdupois. Unlike the lamb led to the slaughter, who opened not his mouth, I found myself hissing last night when I stripped off a bandaid that had been pressed over the worse spot. Gad, that stung! And unlike Jesus, I did not have a robe ripped off a body that was one bleeding open mass.

Indeed, as I type this, a child has just climbed on the couch next to me and rammed a solid knee into my bruised one. And I yelped. To have a thin skin means to be touchy, unnecessarily sensitive, and thick skin is considered a cushion against hurts. I'll agree with the latter, but I have to say that thin skin just plain hurts. The slightest coating of the nerves, taut and inflexible, alive to the least pressure. When I bend my knee too far, the scabs groans in protest; when I straighten it too much, the inelastic skin resists.

My elbows only have the slightest ache, and my palm is browning up nicely, but I have a feeling my knee has further to go. I want to walk again today -- it seems better once I get moving and warmed up, and I need the exercise after a day of immobility. Gotta thicken up that skin the healthy way. If you want to sit on my lap, though, the answer is no.

1 comment:

Jocelyn said...

I'm a regular and well-practised faller; in fact, I'm an international faller: I've fallen in Germany, I've fallen in New York, I've fallen in China, and I've fallen all over New Zealand, in towns and cities, and on bush tracks and beaches, and what I often say to myself, as internationally kind bystanders rush to pick me up, is, "he that is down need fear no fall."

I hope your wounds heal quickly - it's the slow healing of the later years that's more of a nuisance.