Have you been chopping carrots with a dull knife, like some kind of moron? Did the knife slip and almost SLICE THE TIP OF YOUR GODDAMNED FINGER OFF? Are you standing in your kitchen right now, in Erdenet, Mongolia, with a filthy dishrag wrapped around the wound, wondering how to walk out into the living room and break the news to your spouse and house guest, who are currently watching the 2005 Disney film Sky High starring Kurt Russell?
I know exactly what you should do.
1. Inform your spouse and guest, very casually, of your possible need for medical attention: “Hey um Iiiiiiii cut my finger and it’s kind of…bad?”
2. Retreat into kitchen. Your spouse will follow you and demand to look at your finger. Resist him: If you don’t show it to anybody else, it might go away.
3. Show him your finger. Sit at the kitchen table while he calls people, or whatever. Think about that time in 5th grade when you were at your friend’s house and your fingernail caught on a rusty swingset chain and ripped right off, and it made you so queasy that when you went inside to their fancy guest bathroom, you sat down on the toilet seat and passed out. Really lean into this memory! Did you bleed all over your best friend’s mom’s fancy guest towels and soaps, with your dripping exposed nail bed? You probably did. What a terrible child you were. When your spouse gives you a cup of antibacterial stuff to dip your finger into, do it, and then whine about how it stings.
4. Look at your finger. WAVE OF NAUSEA AUGH don’t look at it again.
5. It’s time to go to the taxi stand! That dishrag is nasty, you can’t let people see you like that — put some gauze on your finger like a real grownup. Put on your sweater. Put on your coat. Try to put on your boots by yourself; fail. Notice, with some alarm, that the fresh gauze is already oozing blood. Get trusty ‘ol dishrag back on there.
6. Get into the taxi with your spouse. When he says “hospital” to the driver and the driver turns around to look at you, stare at your lap while your face burns…with shame.
7. When you get to the hospital, you and your spouse will revert to your basest, truest selves, your This Is How I Am In An Emergency selves. This means your spouse will march around 15 meters in front of you at all times, huffing and puffing, tugging on locked doors, muttering “Where the fuck is everybody, what kind of hospital is this, jesus christ” (the hospital will indeed be creepy and post-apocalyptic, all long, dark hallways and unmanned check-in counters, no people besides you, no sound besides your own footsteps echoing off the concrete). You, on the other hand, will shuffle along like a dumb animal, clutching the offending part, not helping in any way.
8. (Have a weird, invasive thought about how this whole situation is probably a dry run for that future time when you will be pregnant and going into labor. Shudder uncontrollably)
9. Finally find the nurse you’re looking for, the one who has been briefed about your arrival by Peace Corps. Obey her when she tells you to go buy a skein of gauze from the hospital pharmacy. Follow her into a room, where she will silently clean your finger with more stingy stuff and bandage it with the gauze. Watch her pause quizzically at the sight of the red, angry welt on your hand from when you poured boiling water all over yourself last week. She thinks you’re a moron! You are.
11. Relish the thought that you will soon have another house guest — a nurse house guest! She, too, will help with your booboo.
10. Give the nurse 3,000 tugriks. Buy some cheez balls for yourself on the way home.