Although I can think of many painful and horrifying consequences of doing laundry, I'm going to share with you one of my own hair-raising experiences. It was a Sunday morning and I decided to throw in a load of whites before we headed to church. Jason, of course, was already there, so it was just Bella, Lulu, and Bubba-Man (who was a baby at the time) at home with me. I chucked the clothes in, poured in the appropriate amount of detergent, and began to measure out the bleach when the unthinkable happened...without warning, bleach splashed into my right eye. The pain was immediate and excruciating! I couldn't open my eye, but keeping it shut burned like fire as well. I rushed into the kitchen where the kids were eating there breakfast, blissfully unaware of the horrifying torture I had only begun to endure. Stifling my screams, I leaned over the sink and began frantically splashing water into my eye. Not enough. I turned my head sideways and let the cold water run straight into my eye. After several minutes, I shut off the water and stood dripping onto the kitchen floor. Nope. Not enough. I resumed the position and turned on the cold water. Only then did it occur to me that water may not be the thing to do for bleach in the eye. So, I did what any mother in my situation would do: I remained draped over the sink, water flowing over my face, and gurgled directions at Bella.
"Honey, go in the laundry room and look at the bleach. See if it says what to do if you get it in your eye," I said to my wide-eyed six year old. Now, Bella has always been pretty intuitive, even as a six year old, she inferred that a mom with her head in the sink, running water over her face, needed help. She ran off into the laundry room where she stayed for an excruciatingly long time.
"What's bleach?" she finally called from the hallway.
"It's in a white bottle on top of the dryer...it says, "Clorox" on it," I explained. Her lack of response was not encouraging. "What does it say???" I finally yelled after several more minutes had elapsed (was it too late to save my eye???).
"Ummm...Do you want me to bring it to you?" she hollered.
"No! Yes! No! Is the lid on it?"
"No. Do you want me to PUT the lid on it?"
For pete's sake, I had my first grader handling the caustic chemical that was busily eating away at my eyeball!
"No! Just...go help Lulu and Bub get ready for church."
As soon as they had all three gone to the back of the house, I pulled my head out of the sink and made a mad dash for the laundry room...my eye molten lava behind the lid. I screwed the lid on and carried the bleach back into the kitchen with me where I immediately plunged my face under running water again. Then (and this is really the part that should have been videoed) I proceeded to read the back of the Clorox bottle (which, of course, WASN'T Clorox, but some off-brand...I just feel like I have typed "bleach" a thousand times already here...) with my good eye, head tilted sideways over the sink, water running into the bad eye, blinking rapidly since the water then ran right into my good eye (you know...the one I was trying to read with). Clearly I didn't plan the procedure enough to have my injured eye on the bottom. On top of that, I kept having to blow and sputter, since I was nearly drowning in the waterfall that was cascading over my face.
I finally deciphered the label. It said that bleach may cause damage to eyes. (No, REALLY?!?) First aid: rinse eye thoroughly. (Check!) Once eye is cleared of chemical, go to the emergency room. (Presumably for eyeball removal.) Ugh. I hate the emergency room. I detest it. I LOATHE that place. But, the bleach bottle said to go...and, after all, I assume they would know! I left the sink long enough to grab a few paper towels, then I wet them and put the dripping wad on my eye. I checked on the kids who were in various stages of readiness, then called our local hospital and asked to speak to a nurse. When she came on the line, I bravely, but in great detail, explained my accident, burning pain, and subsequent first aid. I told her that the Clorox bottle said that I should go directly to the ER. The nerve of that nurse! She didn't even pause to think about it, just told me that there was no need for me to come in and that I had probably already washed everything out of it. "But, the bleach people...the bottle says to go straight to the ER..." I stammered. "They probably have to put that for legal reasons," she assured me. But, as I was hanging up the phone I was thinking, "Yeah, for when people SUE them for the LOSS of their EYEBALLS, lady!"
I briefly considered calling back and asking to speak to a doctor. After all, she was just a nurse. She surely didn't have abundant experience with caustic laundry chemicals in the eye. There are very few things I hate as much as feeling like an idiot, but feeling like a sissy is one of them. I could already picture that nurse and her scrub clad cronies standing around the nurse's station laughing at me for calling...there was no way I could go in now, vision be damned!
I managed to make it to church on time. Make-up applied to one eye only (the injured eye wouldn't quit weeping, and, I was hoping people would notice, too). My eye did not shrivel and die. My vision remained intact. Darn that smug little nurse!
Two important lessons were learned that day. 1) Never call the emergency room. If you are ill or injured enough to go to the ER, you will know it. Besides, if you call, you will just doubt the validity of whatever advice they give you, anyway. 2) Doing laundry is dangerous. As much as possible, avoid doing it. If you must launder (and can't afford to pay someone to take the risk for you), wear safety goggles.