Sunday, November 16, 2008

injury, triage, treatment

I was applying pressure to the wound, hoping against hope I could staunch the flow of blood. Meanwhile, as my head started to sway inside the confines of my skull, I could hear the uneasiness and pain enter my wife's voice. Shock started to set in, and I wondered if I would make it to a safe refuge, or would I instead collapse, blood pooling around my prone, inert body?

What had in fact happened, I wondered as later I sat in the emergency room, my memories still too fuzzy to really know for sure? Somewhere, deep in the confines of my subconscious, I had visions of rage-filled students coming at me with butterfly knives, and me disarming them, protecting my fellow instructors cowering behind me but getting sliced up and mortally wounded despite my eventual victory. Or had I lacerated my torso when, upon entering my house, a bomb planted by some crazed Sara Palin groupie exploded? Had my past as a hardened criminal finally caught up with me when my old comrades Lefty, One-eye, and Chuckles jumped me, whispering in my ear that no one really ever leaves the life?

Unfortunately, none of the above. My life just doesn't have that level of drama, much to my chagrin. I would rather be able to tell people that I wounded myself breaking up a hostage situation. Somehow, cutting my pinkie while trying to core a cauliflower for a curry doesn't have the same level of excitement to it. But at least it was deep.

I could've lived without going to the ER, but when she saw the wound, my spousal unit immediately got the "I must take care of you and protect you from your own macho bs" look in her eyes, so what choice did I have? Later, when she told me she was glad we came, I told her straight out that I knew she wouldn't shut up about it if I didn't go. I could get away with saying this to her, being wounded and all. Me being in pain will lessen her physical displays of rage.

When the ER staff saw that I had a sense of humor about everything, they were quite pleased. A nurse asked me if I needed another pillow, and I said only to stifle the screams. The doc then picked up a towel and mimed strangling me. When the spousal unit said she didn't want to look at the wound as the doc sewed it up because she might get dizzy, the doc encouraged her..."go two have good insurance, so we could always admit you if you passed out and hurt yourself...more business for us!" I figure that you have to have a pretty sick sense of humor working in an ER, but I was quite surprised to find out it's almost the same as a restaurant worker's humor. There's a paper in there, I think.

I got a tetanus shot, and the nurse was good...I hardly felt it. When the doc gave me a local anesthetic, though...shots to the pinkey really bleedin' hurt. A good rule of thumb is when the doctor tells you something will "sting," find something hard to bite down on, quick.

Strangely enough, the lady in the bed next to me also was in for some cauliflower-related incident, but I didn't get particulars. I then asked the ER doc if he thought there was some connection, and we discussed it for a while. I brought up the possibility that cauliflowers were really alien brains out to destroy humanity by inducing kitchen-related injuries, a theory I think the doc liked.

Unfortunately, even though I did get five stitches, the fact that they are on my little finger doesn't make them cool enough to brag about, in spite of their relative grossness. I tried wearing the hospital bracelet all night, but as there were no parties where I could impress people with inflated tales, it was kind of pointless. I did hang out with two friends, but they were notoriously unsympathetic.

That's the problem with cauliflower-related injuries...they just don't sound bitchen'. Story of my life, I suppose....I can't even hurt myself in novel, interesting ways.

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