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Spring Cleaning – (Debridement Style)

Debridement: The medical removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue.”

I fell last week.

A clumsy, awkward, stumble and crash onto the sidewalk of a busy street. In breaking my fall, I sent my phone skittering ahead of me, I cut up my palms, I felt my knee begin to bleed and stick to the fabric of my leggings. Ironically, Vinnie and I had been out for a walk to help with how frazzled and anxious I already was…and, so, as I stood up, I pushed away every attempt he made to comfort me. I dusted the gravel and dirt from my skin and charged onward, not slowing my furious pace. I’m fine. I’m FINE.

On Monday, I pulled back the bandage from my – still bruised and sore (but now warm-to-the-touch and pink and oozing) – knee and realized, in my eagerness to just keep moving, to assume I was fine, to will myself to be, I had let it get infected. I sat on our bed with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a clump of paper towels. It hurt to look at. It hurt to touch. I thought of every childhood cut or scrape or gash that my body has healed into finite white scars over the years, and I breathed. This will heal, too. It has to. It was only a stumble, (albeit an embarrassing one, with the crashing of my body down onto the sidewalk right by a set of lights on Queen City Ave), but still.

You have to debride it, Vinnie told me, watching me wince down at it, holding the solution, but not moving to touch the cut. I’m sorry, it sucks, but you’re going to have to actually move away at the skin and scab that you’ve let grow over it, and actually get the medicine in, where it’s raw.


All of our fish have died.

There was a slow leak in the tank, a drip, really, that turned into a steady stream, soaking a towel, filling Asher’s top drawer with water. We moved it to the bathtub, while we tried to seal an older tank – we willed it to dry fast enough so that we could make the rescue. We failed.

It happened a couple of weekends ago, in the midst of this month that has left me in tears, more than once. It has been a month of triggers being inadvertently pulled, of doctors appointments, of busyness, of new phases in parenting, it has been, in every sense of the expression – all-of-the-things.

In the emotional, metaphorical, and physical upheaval of it all,  I’ve let my bedroom be overcome by all of the laundry and clutter, to a point where I don’t even want to let the dog in here. It’s just uninhabitable, almost a perfect metaphor for the state of my mind. It’s where I’ve been. Until this morning, as I woke up, in this laundry-land-mess, and pulled the bandage from my sore, but now also itching, knee.

It’s itching. It’s miserable and painful and it’s going to leave a mark. But, that terrible and uncomfortable feeling, is because it’s going to be better. Eventually.

And so, on this last Wednesday morning in March, a week after my fall, I am wearing shorts, because I won’t impede the healing process by hiding it away from the air it needs. And, I’m actually tackling my bedroom before starting to edit. I’m filling bags with clothing and books and trinkets. I’m packing up boxes and tucking things into closets, with thought and purpose, not just the rush of “just get out of my sightline for the afternoon.”

I’m dusting. I’m trying.

I’m marveling at just how much there is that I’ve been holding onto (all the clothing, so much clothing), how much I’ve been letting just linger – papers from kids that aren’t necessarily nostalgic or memory worthy – coupons for pizza and wings they’ve cut out and stashed around my dresser – socks with matches that will never be found – bits and pieces of things that I remember felt so important once, one time, a long time ago, things that are broken and that I can’t even find the other parts to anymore – USB cables that go to GPS systems we no longer have, lens filters to lenses I haven’t used in over five years. All of it. Goodbye.

I’m not kissing anything farewell or sending it off with a Kondo acknowledgment of the joy that it has given me.

I’m debriding, all the things.

And I’m marveling at how good it feels to let it all go.

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About the Author

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Writer, Photographer, Wife, Mother to four rambunctious and amazing children.


  1. Kathy Bailey

    Yes to all. If I can get the lead out, I’m going to do the same.

  2. Carla Clarke

    I love this – your week, although I’m wincing along with you. I get times that feel like I am getting a message, then a clearer message, then I get one that I can’t ignore. So, I get to push the reset switch. Kick those hangers on out the door, make it a good, swift kick. No rancor – just blessed finality. I’l send you a pic of the progress in my studio. It’s a series of discrete processes. First the emptying, then the sorting, then the firm decisions, grown-up like, considered, logical. Whew.

    I collected all the papers pertaining to my taxes today. Once I got them all together, after printing out all the transactions from checking and Visa, and getting printouts from medical bills (a lot), the very next step was to call for the appt. to the tax preparer, before, not after I got it organized. April 3 gives me plenty of time for that.

    Anna Karenina did her accounts faithfully every night – look where that got her.

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