Imagine a tall rack of heavy wire with four stubby feet, designed to be leaned against a wall and filled with CDs. Imagine that it’s currently empty and leaning backwards against a wall, so that the feet (each in the shape of a ball) are facing outward.

Imagine a tired and somewhat distracted man, carrying two large boxes, who doesn’t see the rack and plops the heavy boxes down on one of the feet. Imagine the rack crashing forward, like a rake someone has stepped on, so that one of the upper feet socks him in the eye, breaking his glasses and driving the rim deep into an eyebrow.

Imagine that I said “Ouch, that smarts!”

Imagine having to lean over the box so blood wouldn’t get on the carpet until Jan could bring a wad of tissue to clamp down on it.

I hoped to avoid a trip to the Urgent Care center, but one look in the mirror made it clear that I had little choice but to seek professional help.

Six stitches.

Imagine it’s the next day, and the same man is using an unfamiliar multi-tool with a very sharp blade to open a blister pack containing screws and bolts for a project he’s working on.

Imagine that the multi-tool’s knife blade has no locking mechanism, and he manages (while pressing down) to fold the blade over (and mostly through) the end of his left forefinger. This time it was Samuel who brought a paper towel to wrap it in.

Again, I hoped to avoid another trip to Urgent Care, but I do a lot of typing with that finger, and couldn’t take a chance on it not healing properly.

Four stitches.

As the Physician’s Assistant was sewing me up for the second time in two days, the nurse glanced at my chart and noted that I’d been in at the same time last year after gashing my head on a protruding nail while working in the attic: five staples.

Is it any wonder I prefer a quiet desk and a computer? It’s hard to cut yourself on a keyboard.

Two instances of pondering whether I could heal without help or whether I really needed to see the doctor were sufficient to remind me that we none of us can be self-sufficient all the time. We are not alone in this world: we often need to rely on others, and not just for medical attention. Learning to recognize when we need help is an important life skill, as is learning to sense when others need us. 

My goals for this day are to (1) not cut myself and (2) be conscious of people who might need help from me, even if they’re not bleeding.

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