Today at my job, I was given an assignment that no one else wanted to do. Being the newest staff member in my department, I had to do it. It wasn’t a HORRIBLE job, mind you, like say, shoveling elephant poop, cleaning out sewers, or keeping the world safe from arachnids, but it wasn’t fun.
I am putting old employment announcements into boxes, numerically by announcement number, logging them, stacking them, and then, when finished, I will ship them off to storage. Dealing with all those files, and papers, and boxes, the inevitable happened. I got three NASTY papercuts. The worst one, by far, is under my left pinky nail, and it hurts to type. Especially when I press the shift key. Everytime I hit shift, I am reminded about the job I did today, and what awaits me tomorrow. It’s not a “go to the emergency room STAT” kind of pain, of course. Can you just see that? Excuse me, but please let me in ahead of that man whose arm is six feet behind him, because I have a BAD papercut.
But it hurts. It hurts pretty bad.
They say that the reasons hangnails, papercuts, and other finger injuries are so painful–and also the reason why getting your finger poked for blood is ten thousand times worse than having it taken out of your arm with a much bigger needle–is because of all the nerves we have in our fingers.
I would rather give six quarts of blood than two drops, because I do NOT like having my fingers poked. I always want to poke back, and that can lead to assault charges.
As long as I turn my head and don’t watch the actual process, drawing blood out of my arm is usually pretty-much pain free. It just looks worse.
So, back to my subject at hand, it seems that paper cuts, while minor and small, are more painful and irritating than often larger wounds. I heard a horror story once about a woman who got a paper cut, then got a dreadful septic infection and died. Death by papercut. How unglamorous is that?
But the truth is, it can happen. Not only do papercuts hurt like hell, but they have the potential to become deadly. If not tended to, the smallest papercut can become a huge abcess.
Life is pretty good at handing out papercuts. Since we use paper every day, they are pretty hard to avoid. In fact, I would like to find even ONE person who hasn’t had at least one papercut this year. People without hands do not count. Even the unemployed must deal with paper–and often paperwork. And the homeless use paper as bedding and insulating material. The extremely wealthy probably get papercuts from counting all their money. Heh.
And those of us who are decidedly middle-class, possibly frumpy, definitely hard-working and trying to get by in a difficult world? I guess those of us who don’t live on the street, have jobs, and not a lot of money to count–well, we probably get more papercuts than your average Joe.
Even though no one knows you are feeling it, because papercuts are hard to see. The fact someone else can’t see it doesn’t make it less real. Or less painful.
The key to dealing with those nasty papercuts–almost invisible wounds–is to keep them clean. Cover them up when you are working with dirty materials, but give them air to breathe when the environment is safe. Whatever you do, don’t let them fester and abcess. The pain will eventually ease. The wound will close. No visible signs will remain. And no one will ever even know you were hurt.