And then I said "FUCK." Trust me, you would have, too.
There I was, showing A. how if you wanted to actually drive the nails all the way into the hardwood without bending them and then swearing and pulling them out and starting over EVERY TIME, you had to hold the nail. "Just hold it, and tap it," went my tutorial. "Keep holding it, don't be afraid of the hammer, just . . . " SMASH went the hammer on my left thumb.
I should have been afraid of the hammer.
A moment of calm, and then the blood started. This is also when the profanities started, as I ran for the house dripping blood in my wake, with A. right behind me.
I stuck my hand under the faucet so I could wash away the blood and see what had happened. Apparently, I had hit a glancing blow on my thumbnail, causing the nail to separate at the cuticle all along one side*. It wasn't pretty--the whole nail was already turning black, in fact--and it was bleeding a lot. A. threw a dish towel at me, which I wrapped around the gushing thumb, held tight with my other hand, and held high, remembering from somewhere (Girl Scouts? TV? who the hell knows) that you're supposed to elevate bleeding wounds above the heart to stop the blood flow. And apply pressure. Just call me Dr. Kristin.
So I held my thumb up in the dish towel and paced around and around the kitchen table (I will also admit to a few tears at this point, because the pain started to hit right about now) while A. ran around like a character in a Marx Brothers film, looking for first aid supplies. He found medical tape, and some Betedine, which is a surgical scrub for veterinarians. Whatever--I'm an animal, who cares. What he did NOT find, however, was any gauze. So he cut a square off from the dish towel already on my hand, and bandaged me with that. Swell.
Then he made me sit down, and he hovered over me , practically wringing his hands and offering me a cup of tea at least a dozen times. I, however, being understandably irritable, didn't want any fucking tea, thank you. I wanted lunch. And I wanted some gauze. So we drove to the nearest town with a store that might stock gauze, 15 minutes away, and my thumb and I went along because ALSO in this town is a seasonal ice cream stand that had opened for the season just recently. THANK GOD. So I dosed myself with chicken tenders and french fries and a strawberry ice cream cone. It didn't do much for the thumb, but it made me feel better.
In case you wish to know how my thumb feels, as the other members of my house do on a regular basis, let me tell you: It feels like I smashed the shit out of it with a hammer. That is to say, it REALLY FUCKING HURTS. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose the nail. And I typed this whole thing with one hand.
On the upside, it's going to be a long time before I can do dishes again. So there is that.
* A. later described it this way, with a touch of awe in his voice, "I've never seen anything like it. It's like your thumb EXPLODED." Indeed.