Saturday, August 22, 2015

Scars And Stitches

I am about to enter a stretch when I will be having two dental implants, a root canal, and four surgeries. The surgeries will be in each arm to repair (hopefully) nerve damage in my hands.

It set me to thinking and counting...

There are a lot of scars and stitches on this body of mine.

The first scars and stitches began accumulating at about age five. I ran into a low tree branch and picked up 3-4 over my right eye. I still have a hairless furrow in my eyebrow from that one.

The next ones were over my left eye. I believe it was from a friendly rock fight. You've got to keep things balanced.

I had another 3-4 in the top of my head that came from playing in a hay mow. One of my friends, or maybe my brother, threw something down from the hay loft that accidentally hit me.

The big time stuff came when I was in third grade. My appendix burst, and that resulted in two more life-saving surgeries. Complication upon complication nearly took my life. My abdomen is criss-crossed with some Frankenstein-like stitches. How many stitches? Probably dozens.

There's more. One day I was helping my grandfather--the one I am named after--jack up a storage building. The blocking shifted, the small building fell on my right hand, and I ended up with another 5 stitches in the heel of my right hand (just checked it. It's shaped like a "J").

Then there were the 6-8 stitches I received in my chin that came from a skating accident on a frozen pond behind Penobscot Valley High School when I was 14. We were playing "crack the whip" and I fell on the back of someone's skate blade.

In High School, David Hughes, my brother Burleigh, and I were shooting rats at the local dump. I got hit with a ricochet from David's .22 caliber. No stitches, but it did draw blood.

For awhile the scars and stitches were replaced by a broken nose, broken teeth, and a broken leg while playing sports.

Then, in my thirties I had that little mishap with a chainsaw. Yes, I accidentally cut a deep trench in my left thigh that required many, many stitches. It left a nice scar (I tell people a shark bit me).

A brush with skin cancer resulted in another 8-10 stitches in my back. The cancer has never returned (thank God), but the indented reminder remains (sometimes I tell people I was shot).

Next, came the double hernia operation in my 50's (nobody sees those scars).

Once again, I took a break from stitches and replaced them with a violent motorcycle accident. In 2009 a car pulled in front of me from a side street. I hit it broadside and landed nearly 30 feet from the point of impact. I never lost consciousness and remember hoping I would not be run over by oncoming traffic as I lay in the middle of Route 140 in Massachusetts. My back was fractured. God preserved my stitched body for more adventures.

On July 13, a little more than a month ago, I had a bicycle accident. The next day I had to have a total hip replacement. Now I have another Frankenstein-like scar on my right hip. But I like scars (friends tell me to stay off anything with two wheels).

Once again, it's time for stitches. On September 4, I will be having the first of 4 surgeries in hopes of repairing nerve damage in my hands; small incisions at my wrists and elbows. First, the right arm, then the left. The nerve damage is likely an accumulation of the list of crashes and collisions plus those I have forgotten, or didn't  bother to list.  

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