Saturday, March 03, 2007

BurnWatch '07

Since so many of you expressed concern, either in the comments or via e-mail, and I proceeded to say absolutely nothing back, not even "Thank you for your concern," (what a bitch!), I think it's only fair that I let you know that I am, indeed, going to live, and maybe I won't even bear an impressive scar or anything. Which, really, is a tad disappointing, don't you think? Not the part where I get to live out the rest of my days and die of a cause other than Random Kitchen Mishap, but the part where I live out the rest of my days with no scar, not even a tiny one. I'll have a more impressive scar from that time my upper arm brushed against a summer-sun-heated seat belt buckle than from inadvertently pouring hot water all over myself. The blisters have now collapsed on themselves and sunk into my skin, and there are just angry red marks, as if I got into a small tussle with a puma and got away. I apply antibiotic ointment religiously, and it's quite likely it will all be gone by the time summer hits and I have to don a bathing suit.

I don't know what it is that I like about scars. I suppose, when it comes right down to it, I just like how they make the body more interesting, how each one has a story behind it. Anyone who has lived any length of time has scars. Some of them are from mistakes they've made, and some of them are from mistakes someone else has made, and some of them are there because something got fixed that had been broken.

My mom tells me that when I was two, just before I went in for surgery to repair a congenital defect in my urinary tract, she had trouble giving me my bath. They were going to cut into this body that had, until that point, to her, been perfect. It surprised me when she said that; I had never thought of it from that point of view. Throughout my childhood I remember loving that scar. It made me different. It gave me a story to tell, one about the time when I was two and I went to the hospital, but I lived to tell the tale. Many of my early memories are related to the surgery that gave me that scar; I remember events from that time with remarkable acuity, even though I was still quite young.

The doctor told my mom that the scar would eventually fade entirely, but it never did. It got lighter, and it sits low enough on my abdomen that very few people ever see it, but it's still there, a little reminder. I was broken, and I got fixed. I was hurt, but I have healed. Though not cosmetically perfect, still I am whole. I like being reminded of that. I like it a lot.


Shepcat said...

I know just what you mean: scars are how you know you've lived. I have a 2-inch scar on my chin (but regrettably an uninteresting story about how I got it). My mom was horrified at the time — she thought her boy had been disfigured for life — but I wouldn't trade the scar for anything.

marymuses said...

I'm glad you get it, Shepcat. How did you get the scar, anyway? Even if you say it's uninteresting, I simply must know.

Shepcat said...

I had a couple of birthmarks on my face that required removal when I was about 16. To remove the one on my chin, the doctor made an impressive football-shaped cut, then stitched me up like Frankenstein's creature. I went to school later that day all bandaged up and just bloody enough to elicit the concern of others. The best lie I got away with was telling people I had gashed my chin open on the steering wheel in a collision.