Thank you, I really appreciate it, but don't worry: telling about a trauma or something can only help the healing process, the more you tell the story, the less traumatic it gets
So, here we go:
PG RATED VERSION:
in 2005 I had an accident while cutting some logs with a chainsaw - it hit something hard in the wood and jerked back, cutting my face. It was a very bad cut, the operation at the ER lasted four hours, but fortunately now all is fine, even if I'm still missing a few little muscles and nerves in the left side of my face, but nothing truly noticeable by others, I was very lucky
THE REAL THING (I will post this in white fonts - if you're easily impressed, just skip it, if you want to read it just select the text with your mouse, or copy it into Word or something):
It was January 2005, it had been snowing for a week and a big tree had fallen across the road right in front of my garage. Moving it or cutting it with a normal saw would have been impossible, so I asked my sister's ex-husband, who back then lived not far from my home, if he could lend me his chainsaw. He did, it was a big one with no protections whatsoever (laws in Italy are quite different from yours) and pretty powerful. I cut the tree, and then I thought, "Well, I've got a lot of logs and branches up in the barn that I can't cut by hand, I might as well take advantage of the chainsaw before giving it back". Bad idea.
I started cutting the logs, for a while everything went fine, but while I was cutting a big one, the saw hit something hard that was in the wood (a nail, or a particularly hard spot, I still have no idea what it was) and jerked back, still running full force, violently hitting my face. I didn't feel anything at all, I just heard a very, very loud noise, like two huge rocks violently smashing into each other, that was all. Then I realized I couldn't see from my left eye... for a second I got scared, I thought that maybe I had hurt my eye, but then I understood that the lens had fallen out of my glasses frame. "I hope it's not damaged," I thought, and looked down to try and find it, but when I did, I saw a five-inch fountain of blood spurting out of my face. "Oh boy, I think I hurt myself..." I touched my face and then looked at my hand. "I definitely hurt myself. I'd better call for help..."
I went inside and dialed my sister's number; while waiting for somebody to answer, I took the mirror that was in a drawer near the phone and looked at my face... I had cut my face in two, from just below my left eye to the tip of my chin. Everything had been completely severed down to the bone, there was absolutely nothing keeping the two parts together. The cheekbone was all broken (a part of my eye socket is still missing) and so was one of my teeth (only one, incredibly enough). Everything was a huge mess of flesh, as chainsaw cuts are not "clean" at all.
Finally, my brother-in-law answered. I tried to talk, but one third of my lips was basically falling off and I had a hard time making myself understood, but eventually they understood and called an ambulance. The ambulance couldn't reach my house because of the snow, and explaining how to reach my house was too complicated anyway, so my sister's ex-husband came pick me up and took me to the main road (it takes about 20 minutes my my sister's house to mine, so she called him to save time) where the ambulance was waiting.
I was taken to the ER where a surgeon did his best to stitch me back together. In my mind the whole operation had taken something like 20 minutes or so. I later discovered that actually the operation lasted over four hours. They counted the stitches for a while, but after 320 they lost count (every single layer of flesh, nerves, muscles and all had to be stitched together separately). Throughout the operation there was a woman doctor near me holding my hand and reassuring me, when I discovered how long the whole thing had actually taken, I was quite amazed at this. The surgeon was simply great, I remember him making me make facial expressions many times and occasionally unstitching parts of my face and starting over when he wasn't happy with the result. There are some truly wonderful people out there.
I was in the hospital for three or four days (during which I had some touching experiences thanks to all the people in my life) and then moved to my sister's home for a couple of months. The support I got from them was incredible. For a few weeks I could only eat blended food, and - since I had lost a few little muscles and nerves that couldn't be repaired and I also lost sensitivity in one third of my lips (this is almost entirely back now) - it took me a couple of months to learn to eat properly again. I also had to learn to speak again (in each language separately, since each one requires different movements to form the sounds).
For months I was a monster, the wound was horrible and swollen, my face was all crooked and distorted, for a while my eye was all red where it's normally white. When I went, say, to the supermarket, children looked at me and got scared and hid behind their mothers, the mothers tried to shush them and pretended they didn't see my face. Some people looked at me and recoiled, others pretended they didn't see... and each reaction, no matter what category it fell into, hurt beyond words.
To everybody's amazement, now all is fine - I do have a visible scar, but it's not horrible, some people don't even realize it's there at all, and last year I got some muscles or nerves back (which is impossible, after all these years, but it happened nevertheless).
Three inches to the left and the chainsaw would have cut through my neck, I guess I can call myself lucky. But I'm also lucky because now I know what it feels like to be different, abnormal, handicapped, even a monster and having to interact with people anyway. I know precisely how and how much it hurts.
We all say "I understand" or "I can imagine" when talking or hearing about somebody's misfortunes, but we are totally wrong: some things you can only truly understand if you experience them. Now I can truly understand somebody who is on a wheelchair or or lost an arm or has their face badly burned and has to interact with others anyway, I know how everything hurts, every look, every word. I am extremely grateful for having been given the chance to understand that and then be back to almost normal. I know this might sound fake, or that I say this to sound like the wisest guy, but it's true: I am deeply grateful.
And that's the story, except for all the wonderful people I had around and all the wonderful things they did for me, but that would take years to tell..