Also, I sliced my hand with a knife. (boo!)
I was being foolish, really. I was attempting to cut a watermelon the wrong way (note, this is not quite like carrying a watermelon) and the knife slipped a bit further than I wanted it to.
I stood at the sink, water running over my hand and trying to get my head straight over what had happened and what was I going to do and how badly was I hurt. I couldn't look at it. I've heard you are supposed to put pressure on these things, so I did. There wasn't much pain but I was very woozy. I was scared, I thought I had hurt myself very badly. I didn't know - maybe I needed to go to a hospital and get stitches. Thoughts about 'what would I do about the kids' and 'oh gosh I've not done this to myself in a long time' were running through my head.
I asked for help.
Thankfully I had friends nearby, friends who knew first-aid and could offer assistance. They were there for me, and I'm so very grateful for their help.
Physically they helped by showing me how to stop the bleeding, by moving me somewhere restful and by keeping the kids happy elsewhere while I recovered. Thankfully I didn't need an emergency room.
Mentally, my friends and family helped by gathering around and saying all sorts of wonderfully supportive things. They reassured me that I was going to be fine, they told me that I didn't need to worry about anything, that they would help. They asked me how I was feeling, and listened. They held my hand and made me feel better.
As I was being cared for so well, I couldn't help but think about other times I was in pain, times when I was around folks who were 'less than helpful'.
For example, I've had people compare my situation to other people's. Have you had this happen to you? "Oh, look at that, your leg was hit by that hockey puck. It's swelling to the size of a baseball. My friend had that once, and he was in the hospital for three days. Yours doesn't look as bad." The author of this article calls the above kind of comment the trap of 'Even Worse'. I felt even more hurt when hearing these comments, because I felt like they were telling me that my feelings of hurt and pain were not valid.
When I'm hurt, I may cognitively understand that there are plenty of people in the world who are hurting more than I am. Emotionally on the other hand I need to get past my own hurt before I can recognize others' pain.
If I try to put myself into these people's shoes, I remember how it feels when someone I know is hurting. I want to help in any way I can. One thing I've tried to do, and perhaps this is the reason that people say these things, is to distract them from the pain. From the outside I think 'distraction is good'. From the inside, I believe that the pain is sometimes worse when I try to ignore it. I have to look my pain right in the eye and say 'yes, I'm hurting' to move past it.
What kinds of things do you say to people who are hurt? What do you want to hear when you are in pain?