This morning I decided I should go to the gym. Unfortunately, this thought came into my head at the exact same moment that I got a craving for a nap. Desperate for any reason to stay home, I looked down at my right ring finger and got all the excuse I could ever need.
When you hear the word “exercise,” you probably think one of the following things:
- “I don’t feel like exercising, but I know I need to. Eh, maybe tomorrow.”
- “I don’t believe in exercising. That’s just something skinny people do.”
- “I love exercising, especially if it means I get to finish off that tub of ice cream in the freezer.”
When I think of exercise, I picture a traumatic scene from my childhood, complete with blood, screaming and a trip to the emergency room. You guys, exercising is dangerous.
My dad taught and played tennis at two different fitness clubs in Anchorage. He would take us kids with him frequently. We spent so much time at the clubs, that many of the members and employees knew us by name. Being the rambunctious (yet loveable) kids that we were, it wasn’t unusual for us to run around unsupervised, playing with every piece of equipment we came across. They were pretty much giant playgrounds and we had a free pass to do whatever we wanted (I have a feeling the club owners may have felt differently).
Many of my fondest childhood memories took place at these clubs. I took my first swim lessons, watched my first episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 in one of the TV lounges,* burnt myself making tea and picked up more tennis balls than I could ever count. Among the countless memories, one stands out above the rest: the treadmill accident.
I was five years old. My dad was on the tennis court and my sister and I decided to get in a good workout, as all 50 lb. kids like to do. A lady, whose name I can’t remember, but whose face and big blonde hair will forever be engrained in my memory, was “supervising” us. I thought it would be fun to go for a jog on the treadmill. If you’re not familiar with the evolution of the treadmill, the ones back in the late ‘80’s were not the slim, light ones from present day. Back then, they were big and bulky. More importantly, they didn’t have the safety string thing** that you attach to your clothes in case you should fall. Ah, if only. Anyway, I hopped on one of the treadmills and began to increase the speed. Oh, this was fun. I increased it more. And more. Then, I thought to myself that I might fall, as I was having trouble keeping up. As usual, my instincts were dead on. I reached up to turn down the speed, but it was too late. I slipped and flew backwards like a rag doll (picture Raggedy Ann trying to run on a treadmill- it was just like that). When I tried to save myself, my right hand got sucked into the bottom of the treadmill. Um, ouch. It was bad. I remembered screaming so loudly, not from the pain, but out of sheer panic and fear. And oh, the blood. So much blood. The blonde lady and my sister rushed over to help me. Luckily, one of my favorite club members was there and she was a doctor. She rushed me to the hospital and my brother was asked to go get my dad.
My brother had the attention span of your average 8 year old. He went down to the court that my dad was playing on. From what I’ve been told, this is the approximate conversation that took place:
Dad: “Hey Zach.”
Dad: “Is everything okay?”
Zach: “Oh, Carly’s at the hospital.”
My parents soon arrived at the hospital. I was abnormally calm by that point and proud of the fact that I hadn’t cried one bit (I just screamed bloody murder instead). I was eventually taken into surgery. Let me provide some helpful advice. If you’re ever about to undergo surgery and the nurse asks you what flavor of gas you want, do not choose chocolate. I’ve never felt so deceived in my life. It smelled like death, at least for the 2 seconds before I fell into a deep sleep. Anyway, the skin from the top of my right ring finger was, um, gone. They took skin from my hip and grafted it onto my hand. Afterward, I had a cast in the shape of a ball. Real cute.
For several weeks, I got to go to “hand therapy,” which was more of a spa treatment than medical treatment. I would put my hand in the hand bubble bath, which was actually kind of painful, but totally worth it knowing I was getting to miss kindergarten.
To this day, I have a scar that runs down the top of my finger. It’s been there so long that it’s never bothered me in the least. I think the bigger scar is a mental one, which is only a problem upon seeing a treadmill. This may also explain the fear I have when stepping onto an escalator.***
Oddly enough, I feel like going to the gym after writing this post. Don’t worry, I won’t be using the treadmill, or watching Beverly Hills 90210. I’m smarter than that now.
But first, a nap. One needs to be fully rested for a good workout.
*My parents would have been ticked if they knew I was watching this at that age.
**Does anyone remember the kids’ snack “String Things?” Not my favorite string candy, but pretty tasty nonetheless.
***I can’t be the only one. Walking up normal stairs is hard enough to handle, let alone moving ones. Whose idea was that anyway?