Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 293 - really random stuff about bruises

Finally... I have a few days off from work. Got home not too long ago. Also got a free blanket from the hospital for nurse's week. Yay for nurses!

Today... I wanted to write about... bruises.

Firstly, I'd like to explain about this thing that Anderson and I had with bruises. One of the most appalling things that I learned about Anderson when we first started dating was that he rubs his bruises. Not only that... he wanted me to help him rub his bruises. When we first started dating, he had a collision on the softball field with another team member... he ended up getting pretty scraped up and bruised on his shins and I remember him saying that it was so painful that he couldn't rub them himself. He wanted me to help him. I asked him "WHY in the world would you rub your bruises?!?" He said something about how his dad told him that if you don't rub them, the blood will just clot and stay there and you'll always have a bruise underneath your skin even if you can't see it and it'll block your circulation when you get old and then you'll die. OK. I kinda exaggerated about the dying part but he made it sound really bad. This being the first time he told it to me, I pretty much thought it was bogus but hey if he wanted me to help him rub his bruise, then I was going to help him rub his bruise. How often does a guy allow you to inflict pain on him... willingly? One other time, I asked a guy if I could kick him in the nuts and he let me. Maybe he didn't understand what I was asking. I have no idea why he would agree to that. But he did. So I did. I think he regretted it. This was in high school, btw...

Anyway... so over the years of dating Anderson... he'd consistently rub his bruises. His sister would rub her bruises too. You know when they rub their bruises because they get really bright red and wavy along the edges. That was all fine and dandy... until I started getting bruises and when he'd see them... he'd rub them. He'd see a bruise on my arm or something and then he'd just grab my arm and then rub it like a madman. I fought him a lot. And then it got to the point where I'd just hide my bruises. And if he saw them... he'd say "HEY, is that a bruise I see?" and I'd say no and then pull my shirt over it or hide it with something else. And then he'd grab my arm or whatever and then go fishing around... pressing places until he found it and I'd make faces and/or curse him (sometimes) while he'd rub. Sometimes I'd give him time limits. Like he could only rub for 5 seconds. I'd start out counting normally but then he'd rub really hard and then I'd speed up the seconds. It became kind of a painful game for us. So because he'd find my bruises and rub them... I had to find his and rub his too. Just to get even. But he didn't care. He actually wanted me to rub his bruises.

I don't think I was ever convinced about the bruise rubbing until I got a really huge bruise one time... I'd missed catching a softball that was thrown at me from about 15 feet away... and it hit my thigh. Really hard. I had a welt. I couldn't hardly put weight on that leg. I was also out of that particular game. I think it was our championship game too.... the last one of the tournament. Anyway... I had the hugest, nastiest bruise I've ever had in my entire life. It was massive. The size of a softball and you could tell where the seams of the ball hit me because it was darker in a semi-circle along one part. The whole thing was dark and you could tell it was very deep. And very painful. I really couldn't hide that one. I closed my eyes and I let him rub it for as long as I could stand it. After rubbing... it changes colors. It starts to get bright red and then the redness spreads so the thing actually got bigger and more oddly shaped. I felt like it was eating up my entire leg. But after just one week of rubbing, the thing actually went away. Completely gone. After that... we played the bruise game but I didn't resist as much as I used to.

The only reason I write about it now it because I have an equally massive bruise on the same thigh... not because of a softball incident... but because I fell down the stairs. I pretty much fell down half the stairs on the staircase at home and we have wooden stairs. When I got to the bottom, I almost passed out. I'm a fainter though. I've fainted many times in my life so I know when it's coming and I usually know with enough time to get myself into position so I don't fall again when I pass out. So I laid there on the floor for a while until I felt better. The dogs were just walking all around me... totally ambivalent. I wondered... if I couldn't get up... how long would I lay there before someone found me? Living alone would be scary. I also sat there thinking to myself... how could I have prevented my fall (I'm such a nurse). I definitely could have NOT worn my shoes that I already knew had very little grip. I probably shouldn't have been carrying so much stuff on the way down. I probably also should have gotten enough sleep so I wasn't walking around like a zombie with slippery shoes and carrying too much stuff. This also isn't the first time I've fallen down the stairs... it's just the first time I've fallen down so many of them and have been alone in the house while it happened.

Anyway... so I'm OK... obviously. I just have another massive bruise because I fell on my left thigh. It is very big once again and very deep. I measured it... I thought about taking pics of it... because that's what we'd do at work... take a picture and measure it. It's about 5 in x 3 in.

This time I don't have a boyfriend or husband to rub it so I've been trying to rub it myself. It's really painful. I know he wouldn't be proud of me the way I'm doing it but... I'm doing it and every time I do, it reminds me of him and how much I miss him taking care of me. Yes.... I even miss how he rubbed my bruises. That was his way of doing what was best for me and even though it was painful... he really meant well and it was him loving me in that way.

So... I thought about what happens when you bruise and what happens when you rub them. Trauma to soft tissue probably causes blood to leak out or the normal piping system (veins and such) and it gets stuck there. Old blood turns dark brown... I guess as your blood flows to the area, it'll start picking bits and pieces of the old blood and carrying it away. It's a pretty slow process but eventually your body takes care of it. What rubbing does is it probably increases blood flow to the area and breaks up the localized clots or old blood... breaking it up and increasing flow make it go away faster. I think that's why it changes colors to bright colors (instead of dark ones) and goes away faster. Those are my simple thoughts as to why rubbing makes bruises go away faster.

I'm sure western medicine would not endorse incurring MORE pain than is necessary, especially if the body will take care of it on its own. Actually. I'm not sure. But if you asked anyone if they'd prefer to have it take longer to heal but with less pain or to heal faster with more pain, they'd probably opt for less pain. Not Asians. Somehow I think the phrase "no pain no gain" was perfected by Asians. They're totally willing to cause short term pain for long term benefit. Like massaging pressure points that are TOTALLY painful... but they'll probably like restore "flow" to your system cuz it's painful when your "flow" is stuck or blocked or something like that. I don't know. I have no idea. All I know is that for most of us... we try to avoid pain, not create more.

And then I thought more about... blood. Lots of things remind me of blood. I baked red velvet cupcakes the other week and it looked like blood batter to me. Blood batter... reminded me of Jesus's blood and how His blood washed our sins away. And I was thankful for the reminder. So yeah... as I rub my bruises and I think about increased blood flow... I thought about how addressing the bruise instead of hiding it... and pressing on it and rubbing it... actually promotes healing even though it's not what we'd normally do and definitely not very pleasant in the beginning... but increasing the blood flow is a good thing in this case. Bringing the blood to the place where it's needed most... the clots, to the things that aren't supposed to be there... to the consequences of a mistake or an accident or trauma... is a good thing.

So I thought about healing. You cannot heal when you're hiding. Putting your shirt over it doesn't make it go away... it's just making it less obvious to other people around you... but if you press on it or someone else does...it hurts. Sometimes our hurts and our life trauma... are all hiding under our clothes or hiding under the smiles... hiding behind the things that we use to shield them from other people's eyes... but that doesn't mean that it's not there. Healing comes when we bring things out into the light... when we address the issues... and desire to take care of them. Asking Jesus to increase the flow of His cleansing, purifying, healing blood to the areas we need them the most is the best thing we can do to heal... and not just heal... but to heal quickly. He's got the power to do that. He can do the impossible. And I know it's true... He's done the impossible in me.

The first few days after I got my bruise, I couldn't walk without feeling it. Every time I sat down I felt the pain. When I'd change and glance at myself in the mirror, the discoloration would startle me. After a while... it doesn't hurt to walk anymore even though it still hurts to touch it. And then after a while... it goes away and it doesn't hurt anymore even when you touch it. That's what someone once told me to think of when I asked her what it felt like to be healed from having my heart broken by being widowed. I've also heard it compared to an amputation. I still think an amputation works better as an analogy but any kind of healing works too.

I was driving home today from work... I go against traffic in the mornings when I get off work. It's very nice because I'm really tired and the last thing I want to do is sit in traffic. When I am sitting in traffic though... I wonder about those people who are going the other way. How lucky they must be to need to go the opposite way that everyone else needs to go. Sometimes... that's kinda how I feel about my life. I feel like... I'm very frequently going the opposite way that most people are going... and I'm going very quickly... but it's pretty lonely... cuz everyone else is going the other way. The price I pay to go this way... is that I work at night while everyone's sleeping... and I go home when everyone else is mostly still sleeping but other people are heading out to work. Most people don't understand my schedule. Most people ask me when's the earliest I can transfer to work on days instead of nights. I actually like nights. I think that it suits me pretty well. I get more sleep working the night shift than I would working on days. I have to plan my schedule pretty well so that I can fit in enough time to sleep before or after a shift. It makes me more diligent. I take care of myself better. Sort of. I also eat better because I have to plan a little bit better since the cafeteria's not open overnight. I think this job is pretty perfect for me at this time in my life. And much in the same way... my life... the life I've been given... is perfectly suited to me right now as well. I've gone through a lot in my life... sometimes I can't even believe what's happened. I've been getting flashbacks lately about holding his hand in the ICU... a nearly lifeless hand... swollen from fluid imbalance... limp from unconsciousness... but it was my husband's hand... the hand of the love of my life... the hand that used to rub my bruises so lovingly... the hand that I held when I vowed to be his faithful and loving wife until death do us part. I wouldn't wish this life on anyone else... but I'm glad that if anyone had to go through it... that it was me. Not really because I'm uniquely equipped to handle this kind of stress or loss... but because... it was a bruise...MY bruise... a bruise that happened and that I allowed to get rubbed... so that it increased the flow of the healing blood of Christ into my life. And the blood not only healed my heart but healed everything else in my life along with it and it continues to do so even now. So even though it was painful and I never asked for it... I'm thankful for it.

This is kinda how my thoughts flow here and there as I'm reminded about things which reminds me about things which make me thankful for the life I've been gifted with.

And I've been awake way too long. Night (for me)... good morning (for everyone else)!


  1. mmm a lot of insight in this entry :) i like.

    i also rub my bruises. yup no pain no gain. actually..my mom always told me to rub them to increase circulation. apparently when my uncle was a youth, he had matching bruises, one on each leg and did an experiment. he rubbed one and not the other..and the one he rubbed went away faster than the other :D

  2. He seems like a good guy ..and I think he's right about the bruises thing ...in fact I do it myself