I was walking into my local shopping centre on Saturday when I felt something sticky on the bottom of my foot.
I glanced down and saw blood.
So. Much. Blood.
It was odd and slightly scary because I wasn’t in any pain. I took a photo of the carnage for posterity and limped up to the bathroom to wash it all off. It was a six pieces of paper towel job that included a thorough scrubbing of both the thong and the bathroom floor.
The bathroom at my local shopping centre isn’t very big and I’m not very flexible in my old age – not to mentioned being both long and short sighted – so I couldn’t work out what was going on.
But I decided to do my grocery shopping anyway and maybe grab a few Band Aids in the toiletries aisle.
And that’s how I found myself experiencing the seven stages of leech …
- SHOCK & DENIAL – Still gouting blood, I wandered into Dejuba for a flick through the racks pre-Woolies. I couldn’t process why there was bleeding without pain, so I chose to ignore it and continue with normal life. Fortunately none of the shop assistants noticed I was potentially besmirching the merchandise.
- PAIN & GUILT- As aforementioned, there was no pain and it was more embarrassment than guilt that I was feeling as I shuffled to the Band Aid section at the supermarket. I grabbed some cotton pads and commenced clean up in aisle 5. It was really thick, dark looking blood, so I sent a panicked selfie to DD to get his opinion. It took a little longer than expected because my ankle looked fat and my heels were cracked, so I had to do some photoshopping before pressing send. Life might have felt very chaotic and scary during this phase … but … appearances …
- ANGER & BARGAINING – As the blood soaked through the second Band Aid and dripped down into my thong again I started getting annoyed – I’d been planning to have a cheapie toenail buff and polish while I was at the shopping centre. The technicians wouldn’t touch me with a barge pole with all that blood dripping everywhere. I railed against fate, questioning “Why me?”
- DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS – Depression not so much. But it was a bit lonely and scary thinking I might bleed to death in the fresh meat section at Woolies. I also started to reflect on what could be causing the blood. My first thought was that I’d developed a condition that damages your nerve endings. That HAD to be why I wasn’t feeling any pain. Or was it something sharp that had flown from Clint the mowing man’s whipper snipper when I edged past on my way to the shops? Then I remembered I’d been walking in the bush with my friend Emily that morning. Could it be a leech punture? I suggested that scenario to DD, but he was NO HELP – he was obviously asleep during the leech lecture at medical school.
- THE UPWARD TURN – I called Emily and asked what she thought about the leech theory. She checked her socks and found blood as well, so I figured that was the mystery solved. Had to be a leech. I’d obviously knocked it off while it was mid-suck, leaving the anti-coagulants to continue doing their job. I was still gouting so much blood in aisle 7 that I had to do some more mopping and apply another Band Aid. DD suggested I abandon the shopping and head home, but what would the youngest and I have for dinner then? It was around that moment I started feeling a little light-headed, which could have been from blood loss or possibly the Nitro Coffee Latte I’d been guzzling to soothe my frazzled nerves.
- RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH – As I became more functional and my mind started working again, I found myself seeking realistic solutions to the problems posed by the leech attack. DD had also finally Googled what to do about leech bleeds and told me to get home, elevate my leg and apply pressure. I still felt pretty shirty about not getting my toenails painted, but I figured I could always go back …
I finally stopped copiously bleeding about three hours later.
I’ve never been bitten by a leech before. It was bletch.
Have you got a leech story to tell?
I’ve got a leech tip. Don’t Google “how to stop a leech bites bleeding” because the results are terrifying and include “Leech Bite: A Rare Gynaecologic Emergency”.
Vaginal leeches! Jaysus, Mary and Joseph!
There are also horrifying stories about people drinking water with leeches in it and choking to death as the slippery suckers become engorged in their throats.
I’ll stop now.
Song of the day: Neil Sedaka “Bad blood”