I had personally never seen so much blood. My kitchen floor was covered with big red drops and as I tried to wipe it up it just got worse. Tears and snot mixed in and I knew it wasn’t good. My sometimes adorable, and slightly psychotic cocker spaniel Fido cowered in the corner. He could tell form my screams and cries that he had done something terribly wrong. He bit me.
It was the morning of my 49th birthday. (For those keeping track, this was just yesterday) I was feeling slightly meloncoly to begin with so I took a moment to love on Fido before I left for work. But as I grabbed his face to kiss him, I stepped on his foot and at the same time my bracelet caught him in the eye. He was scared, and he let me know by snipping at me. I don’t think he meant to bite, but to try to get out of the awkward situation he was in. He did the only thing he knew to do. Protect himself. (Anti-animal lovers please save your comments for another time.)
He yelped. I yelped. I felt the rush of blood. It was cool and slightly warm at the same time. I ran to the kitchen and stood over the sink. “This is not good,” I thought. My husband Jim had already left to take James to school. “What to do now?” I knew it wasn’t THAT bad, so I decided that an urgent care would be enough. I stopped at two and they were both closed, not opening till 9am. I kept driving towards the office. I called a friend that I knew would keep me calm. I looked at the clock and realized that I wasn’t going to make it to the two edit sessions I needed to be in for the red carpet job. I called Jillian, our line producer, to explain my predicament. I was planning on calmly telling her what happened but what she heard was a mix of Charlie Browns teachers voice, some more yelping and snot wiping. I was upset about the bite, but also upset about missing the edit session, the fact that this was all happening on my birthday, not to mention my fear of what everyone was going to say about Fido and how it’s time he found a new home, because the next time this could be James’, my eight-year-old sons face. She said, “Lynn, one thing at time. Do not worry about the edit, or Fido, or the future, first things first, get to the doctor.”
With no luck at finding an urgent care, the next stop was St. Thomas Hospital. I thought I would just ask if they knew if there was an urgent care near by, but the sweet elderly man at the front desk said, “Darlin’ you belong right here.”
The emergency room doctor took one look and said, “Boy, that dog did a doozy on you.” Followed by the best thing he could say to someone already feeling slightly bad about her age, “You know, you are so young that I think it’s best that I send you to a plastic surgeon so we do this right.” That right there was worth the price of admission.
The plastic surgeon stared at the wound for a very long time and did a lot of ‘huh-ing’ He said, “I think I can save a bit of the skin that is dangling enough to minimize the scaring. Let’s put some stitches in.” He then added, “Anything else I can do for you?” He read my mind! I had been contemplating Botox for a year or so, I did a bunch of research, listened to most of my friends tell me not to do it, but at that moment, with a bloodily lip, I caved. Yep – shoot me up! (I thought about having him examining my options for Lipo as well, but then realized he’d actually have to look at my stomach.)
I left with five stitches and Botox between my eyes. I felt as good as I possibly could considering the throbbing in my lip. My co-workers took me to lunch to celebrate, and I had to make sure everyone I saw new I wasn’t sporting a giant cold sore. Throughout the day the cupcakes in my office seemed to multiply. I got Facebook messages and phone calls and emails from numerous friends. I felt grateful.
I met my husband for dinner at a restaurant in Nashville that I’d wanted to try for a long time. It’s called Rolf and Daughters and if you’re ever in our fine city, please try it. Its specialty is European Peasant food. I felt like I was eating with my relatives in Slovenia, except I had to use a straw to drink my much-needed vodka.
I sat on the back wall facing the entire restaurant. The tables are slightly close to gather. And I was shocked at what transpired. I got stared at. People took a second look. People tried not to look. As Jim and I ate our shaved Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and apples, I felt horrible and ugly and out of place. “This is what different feels like,” I thought. I said to Jim, “I wonder if this is how James feels when people stare at him because of his Down syndrome?” He replied, “No, because James doesn’t care that he’s different.” Just then my brother Lenny sent me a text, “Have you figured out yet what the universe and God are trying to teach you today?” I replied, “Yep. I just got it.”
James doesn’t care that he’s different. We live in a society that puts so much importance on looks and beauty and perfection. Myself included. I had spent the week leading up to my birthday feeling the pressure. I made the mistake of trying on old jeans and when they didn’t fit the spiral downward began. The voices started in my head. “You are going to be 49 and then you will be 50! What are you going to do about your weight? Your wrinkles? How are you going to maintain the image?” I couldn’t stop them… and on top of it all, I was sure my Lexapro quit working.
This morning rain is pounding on the deck. I cracked open the door so I could hear it and smell it. It’s washing away winters grime. Today I am 49 years old and twenty hours. I am ten pounds over weight. I am covered in wrinkles and have too much cellulite. I have five stitches in my upper lip that will mostly likely leave a scar. I spent too much money to try to minimize the deep lines between my eyes. And I care too much about what others think of me and how I look.
I hate that it took five stitches and Botox to make me realize that I have it all backwards, once again. The external stuff just doesn’t matter. And it’s not up to me to get you to like me… its up to me to get me to like me.