Oh My Ouchness - 10.04.99

I know I've written a lot of stories about me hurting myself and or getting hurt by something else, but I find them really humorous for some reason. Even though during most of the times they've happened, I've been in a fair amount of pain, mostly I just look back at it all and chuckle a bit.

Well, just the other day, something happened again. Although it wasn't something that put a huge damper on my day or even laid me up for more than ten minutes, it hurt quite a bit at the time and ended up making me look kind of goofy for awhile. While I've wrecked my bike and gotten hurt, gotten hit by a car while biking, and wiped out badly on my rollerblades, I've never had something quite as weird happen as it did the other day. Instead of being my own or someone else's fault, it was simply a random act of nature that did me in (OK, so not really) and caused me a bit of pain.

The particular incident itself took place when I was out on a fine Saturday last weekend rollerblading. It was about 80 degrees and sunny, although a bit windy for my liking. I was heading into the wind, though, so it meant that on the way back home, it would give me a big boost by being behind me. I was about 3.5 miles into my usual trip of 5 out when I viewed where the path went down a slight incline and through a tunnel under one of the main streets in town. My usual worry was whether there was water over the path in the very bottom that I would have to jump, but I could see from the top of the drop there was only a slight trickle that would be easy enough to hop. As soon as my worry was out of the way (and I could see absolutely no one on the trail or coming from the other direction), I geared down a little bit and tried to build up some speed going down the hill. I was breathing hard through my mouth and pumping my legs as fast as I could.

Just before I reached where the path went under the road, a bug flew down from my left and smacked me right on the lip. Instead of spitting it out or flicking my tongue as usual, though, within milliseconds I felt a sharp pain where it had hit. I brought my hand up and brushed it away, but by this time the damage had been done. I felt whatever it had been fall away and caught a glance of the bee on its descent to the pavement. It had hit me just on the inside of my lower lip when I was inhaling and stung me right about where my lip turned into gum.

By this time, only about a second or two had actually passed since it had stung me, but the pain had already increased significantly and it also felt like I'd gotten a shot of novacaine in my lip. I spit on the sidewalk and almost wrecked from not paying attention to where I was going, but glided up the other side of the embankment before I actually stopped and decided what I should do.

Just running my tongue over my lip, I could tell that it was swollen, but at that point I didn't even really care. It hurt like crazy, but I figured that it couldn't really get any worse, so I decided to go ahead and traverse the final 1.5 miles in my trip and try to make a usual trip of it all anyway. As I got going again, I quickly passed some people who were walking, but didn't notice that a rather large string of drool was now hanging out of the left side of my mouth that was now almost completely numb. Sure, it felt like novacaine had been injected, but it also felt like there was a hole through my lip.

I wiped my face on my shirt and made a conscious effort to contain my saliva for the rest of the trip. By the time I got home, the pain seemed to have spread throughout the lower-left part of my face, but the overall sting had subsided a bit. After dreading a bit what my lip might look like, I finally went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror to see just how swolled it was.

Basically, it looked like I'd caught a nice right-hook to the mouth. I peeled down my lip and saw a small hole on the red skin that was just slightly lighter than the rest. Then, I stood up straight and smiled, thinking I could perhaps hide it a bit if I smiled a certain way. There was no chance. It looked bigger than Sylvester Stallone's lip at the end of Rocky after he'd gotten the crap beaten out of him. That scene ran through my head and I even recited a few improvised lines from the movie, slurring them enough to be fairly convincing.

Still, it went down after a couple days and there was really no harm done other than being in some pain for a couple of hours. It was definitely less of a bummer than wrecking, although all I had was a fat lip instead of a nice, bloody wound to show for it. I'm also lucky it hit me in the lip instead of actually making it into my mouth, as a swollen lip is much more easy to deal with than a swollen tongue or a swollen-closed throat. Zing, bug karma coming back at me!