Currently, I feel like a character in a David Cronenberg movie, watching his body mutate around him. The reason for this is the blister, roughly the size of an egg, on the inside of my left wrist, due to a close encounter with some superheated lasagne last night. I’d just completed a hard evening’s work on the next issue, and stopped for dinner — a nice tray of the aforementioned foodstuff, which had been cooking in the oven, at 200 degrees centigrade for the past 45 minutes.
I opened the oven and took out the lasagne, which was bubbling away in a ferocious manner. I distinctly remember thinking “My, that looks HOT”, as I added the essential parmesan cheese, and took it upstairs for consumption in a more relaxed setting. Unfortunately, half-way up the stairs, I clipped a step and stumbled. I recovered with the agility of a lasagne-carrying orang-utang, but a wave of sauce sloshed over the top of the bowl and coated my left hand. In the next two-tenths of a second, four thoughts crossed my mind:
- My, it *IS* quite warm, isn’t it.
- Put the plate down, Jim.
- Water. I want water. LOTS of water.
There then followed a near-teleport back to the kitchen, to slam my hand under the tap. Which is where I stood for the rest of the evening. But too late, since the damage had already been done. For not only was the sauce at, or very close to, 200 degrees C, it also had the curious STICKY consistency. You spill hot water on yourself, just flick your hand and it will fly off. Not so cheese sauce: we are dealing with the culinary equivalent of napalm. It remains firmly attached, chewing its way through the flesh until you hose it off — along with your skin.
The only question was whether this was going to be one of those red skin and a bit painful for a while burns, or if we were talking the full-blown reaction. It took about an hour of throbbing pain for the question to be answered; we were heading deep into Blister County, stopping en route at Painsville. Now, there’s something life-affirming about pain: it’s nature’s way of telling you to STOP DOING THAT AT ONCE! In our modern, molly-coddled society, actual physical pain is not something we have to encounter very often, and when you do, there are remedies. At least, there are, if it’s not 9:30 pm at night, and the medicine box contains an opened packet of lint and some expired ear drops.
The night that followed was best described as somewhat restless. Fortunately, the injury was on a spot that it proved difficult to put any pressure on, thereby preventing the nightmare of rolling over onto the blister, splitting it open like a ripe tomato, spilling…well, we’ll take THAT imagery as read, shall we? But I woke up this morning. with a dull throb in my left hand, and a more than usually distinct sense of “don’t want to go to work”. I phoned in sick instead, and have spent much of the rest of the day coating the hand in soothing lotions, and trying to work out if the swelling had stopped expanding (“The Blister That Ate Tulse Hill”).
I *think* it has, so now all I have to do is wait for the damn thing to go down again. As someone to whom scab-picking is a source of infinite pleasure, I’ve been very good and not attempted any deflationary surgery of my own [visions of punctured beachballs from ‘Dark Star’ come to mind]. But when it DOES go, it ain’t gonna be pleasant; I can see myself carting round the sterile swabs for the next few days, just in case a tidal wave of …uh, okay, I think that imagery goes on hold too.
Time for dinner. Pork pie and salad, methinks, or at least anything that doesn’t involve ovens. Though the way I’m going, I’ll probably drop the pork pie on my foot and fracture a toe. LONG live the new flesh…