Head Full of Glue

Superglue is for more than just putting the handle back on your housemate’s favorite mug and hoping she doesn’t notice. Molly and I glued my face back together. The only mistake was glueing gauze to my eyebrow.

I was first introduced to Super Glue for wounds in high school. After I sliced deep into my finger with a jeweler’s saw, I asked my art teacher Mr. Willemann if I could go to the nurse, and in typical fashion he replied, “they don’t know shit. gimme your hand.” Mr. Willemann was a Green Beret in Vietnam and brings a certain military pragmatism to arts instruction. No body wastes his time or materials.

So I didn’t go to the nurse, I washed out my wound and Mr. Willemann dripped a drop of Super Glue into it. While he held the gash closed with is thick, calloused fingers he explained that medical air lifts for Green Berets were infrequent so as not to compromise their position behind enemy lines. To staunch the bleeding of wounds they were given bottles of Super Glue spray. We’d all take our jewelery projects home in his old pill bottles, remnants of a 35 year series of operations to remove shrapnel. They’ll never get all of it.

I’ve used superglue on wounds ever since, especially cuts on my hands. Apparently the stuff you get in the store can irritate your skin, so the FDA didn’t approve of it for medical use until it was re-formulated in 1998, and then only for doctors. But I have pretty sensitive skin and have never had a problem with the cheap stuff. This is the first time I’ve put it on such large facial wounds. But after crashing my bike last Sunday I faced a choice between going in an ambulance or figuring out treatment myself. One 99 cent bottle saved me a $1000 visit to the ER. We’ll see how the scars turn out.

before treatment

before treatment