I’ve just spent the last 2 weeks obsessively checking my body for open wounds. And, I’m really REALLY happy to report that I have no open wounds. No cuts. None. Nothing. Nada. Perfect. And THANK GOD.
I just need to stay this way until after the swim…
On July 16th I’ll be joining 5 guys in a relay team swim around the island of Manhattan. Yup. We’ll be swimming 28 miles around an island with a population of 1.5 million people. We’ll swim the East River, the Harlem River and Hudson River. A circumnavigation swim around Manhattan. Cool, right?
Well, as you might have already guessed, these rivers aren’t exactly clean. And the reaction from friends and family as I announce my swim plan is unanimous: “What?!!! In THAT water? Ugh!” One friend half-joked that I should consider swimming in a Hazmat suit. Lovely. And it doesn’t help that I’ve heard multiple reports of swimmers falling ill after this swim. Stomach viruses, skin ailments. The lot. Ugh.
Ok. So you’re probably asking, why the hell would I want to VOLUNTARILY swim in THAT water? Well, call me crazy, but it just sounds like a fantastic adventure that few people get to experience. I simply can’t pass this up. I mean, how many people do you know can say they’ve SWUM around Manhattan. Some people go to New York to dine on fine food. Some people go to shop. Others go to New York to enjoy the Broadway shows. I want to go to New York to SWIM....
Its 4:30am on July 15th. My flight is at 9am and my plan is to jump in the Bay for a quick swim beforehand.
I make myself some coffee and decide to clean the coffee plunger quickly before heading out. I put my hand in the glass plunger, and with a dishcloth, start to clean.
Suddenly, there is blood EVERYWHERE. OMG. My hand! OMG that that hurts!! I panic. Pulling my hand out of the plunger I see the end of my pinkie finger barely hanging on. Shit. OMG it’s bleeding. A lot. How could this happen the morning of my flight, the day before my swim?!! I have an open wound!! And I probably need stitches. No time for that. I’m meeting my swim buddy for a swim at 5:30am.
I wrap my finger in Band Aids, Saran Wrap and more Band Aids. Arriving at the club I wonder how on earth I’m going to swim with this wrapped around my finger, and have little faith in the quality of my wound care. This is not good. “I have a bit of a problem” I tell my swim buddy. He looks at my finger, amused with my foolish amateur attempt at wrapping and sealing the wound, then visibly shocked at the amount of blood for such a little finger. “Whoa… I don’t think you should swim like that… I really don’t. It doesn’t look good at all Kim. You need stitches for sure.”
There are a few people at the club and I hurriedly poll each of them… do you think I can swim around Manhattan with an open and still bleeding wound? Would you?
Everyone pretty much says HELL NO. But I have to do this swim. I’m on a team. Screw it. I’m going.
Arriving in New York later that evening, my finger is still bleeding. A lot. Isn’t my body supposed to have some clotting agent that stops the bleeding? Clearly not. I should have got stitches.
I start to panic. If I swim tomorrow with an open wound, I could easily get some awful disease. But I still WANT to swim. I don't want to have to give this up. I also have a commitment to my team. There must be a way I can do this.
I check the time – its only 7pm in California. I call my friend Matt, an ENT doctor. My finger is still bleeding. “Yeah, sounds like you should have got stitches – but too late for that now, you need to get some Super Glue or Krazy Glue asap, pull the wound together and seal that finger up ASAP.”
What?! SUPER GLUE?! Ok. Doctor’s orders...
Hi, my name is Kim and I swam around Manhattan with an open wound glued together with Super Glue. And… I’m the only person on my team who didn’t get sick. Go figure.