The Bruise

The bruise

Everyone gets at least one alarming bruise. I received mine four weeks ago.

As I opened my son’s stubborn but sturdy pushchair, a wheel popped off. This caused me to hurtle over the handles, jamming the un-wheeled post painfully into my thigh.

The impact hurt so much, I saw stars and had to sit for a moment. I assessed the damage—a tingly arm and a white and red impact zone on my thigh. Relief swept through me, I feared the stroller had gobbled a few ounces of flesh.

I shook it off and whisked Liev away for a neighborhood “walk and talk.” Strolling with his push chair is an excellent way to burn up an hour when he is too wild for a real neighborhood walk. I felt universally sore when we returned from our hour of storytelling.

In the evening, the bruise began to form. An apple-shaped halo of red -violet coalesced around a pale crimson streaked center. The next morning, the welt resembled a ring nebula. My mother would have recommended ice. I wanted to watch the bruise mature.

I resisted an impulse to photograph my injury and make a bruise diary. Instead, I inspected the bruise in detail twice daily.

On the third day, the bruise’s beauty peaked. To investigate, I perched on the edge of the bed. The reds had turned to deep purples and blacks. Individual capillaries twisted in injured tissue. My husband shuddered, “I have never seen such an awful bruise. You should see a doctor.”

I did not consider a doctor. It didn’t hurt much, it simply looked –fascinating. Noticing the subtle shifts of hue, I understood why people alter their bodies with tattoos.

You skin is you body’s billboard. You can spell out anything you choose and people will notice. If I marched around a public place, my bruise would take center stage. Some would offer sympathy, others disgust. I preferred to watch it unfold like a private chrysalis.

For two weeks, I monitored the fading bruise.

One night the bruise began to itch.

I rubbed the spot, being careful not to chafe myself. I am one of those people who approach skin irritations with irrational gusto. I would hack off an inch of flesh to remove a splinter and twist my skin into purple pulp to extract a pimple. I had to monitor my sneaky hands who crept down for hourly scratches.

Later that evening, my brain was distracted by an episode of The Mentalist. My hands broke free. They found two painful hard lumps inside the bruise. Alarm needled me as forty-two doom scenarios erupted in my head. I dashed off to consult Dr. Google.

Fortunately for me, others fret over their well-being. Information abounds. Bad bruises can form hard painful lumps, which the body reabsorbs in time.

My skin itched with sympathetic fury as I read thread after thread of mountain biker bruise stories. In particular they seem to suffer the most from deep, prickly bruises.

Over the next two days, the skin irritation formed an impressive crescent of red bumps. With vigilance and filed nails, I healed quickly.

I do not plan to turn my next injury into a science investigation. I will, however, marvel at the body’s remarkable capacity to heal.