Memoir Writing like Wound Healing

They say in order for a wound to heal we need to stop touching it.


As a nurse, I can tell you with a hundred percent certainty, you not only have to start touching it — you have to debride it if it still hurts and is not healing. Really get in there and dig around. Pull gunk out and look at it closely. Is it sticky? Bloody? Filled with pus? Necrotic? Does it smell? Does it smell like rotting flesh? Yeast? Is there a musty odor? Does it cause pain? Is it numb? Are the edges of the wound red, black, gray, green? What stage is the wound? Is it superficial? Is it down to muscle and bone? Sometimes we find that a tiny wound that looks like it’s healing is actually a huge tunneling wound that snakes down deep…

Sometimes, like wound care nurses, we debride wounds by pulling the top layer of skin off with wet-to-dry gauze or chemicals to get to the healthier, pink tissue underneath. We are ripping out the bad cells on top to get to the good down deep. Sometimes we debride with tools, sometimes with our gloved fingers. It’s barbaric. It can be painful for our patient, and us. But, we dig and dig, and sometimes make things look much worse before they become better.

You document and report your findings and come together with other people to make a plan to heal it.

Leaving things to heal without this exploration usually makes for a failed healing process much like the tunneling wound. The germs that are lurking just beneath the surface of a wound are a lot like the demons we push away and ignore. They want to be brought out into the light, explored and cleaned up or they can tunnel. Deep.

Only after this step is complete can we even begin to talk about healing.

It’s a big job. Wound healing. Memoir writing. Same difference. It hurts like hell. You’ll writhe in pain and hate every step of the exploration of the things that hurt you along the way.

But, we have to do it. It’s our story and we alone have to debride it to make it better.



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