My Personal Humpty Dumpty – or the life of an ER waiting room expert

Do you have someone in your life that’s a little clumsy? You know the one that might have a nick name at the doctors office? or might be greeted by an ER nurse by name when you make the familiar trek down to visit? Sadly that someone in my life – is my husband. In our 12 years together we have been through countless hospital visits, two major surgeries and only God really knows how many stitches, mostly because I stopped counting. I think his body might actually crave sutures, if it’s been more than a few years he must hurt himself to satisfy his need.
As luck would have it – we found ourselves in the emergency room yesterday for a lovely afternoon filled with needles and gauze.

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Steve takes in side jobs on the weekend, while it’s not his profession anymore he still enjoys working on cars and doesn’t mind making a few extra bucks off of it in the process. Especially if it feeds his insatiable tool habit. I can count on one hand how many times we’ve had our cars in the driveway in the last 6 months in comparison to someone else’s that he’s working on. Yesterday as I was taking the girls and mother to a Belly Dancing festival, and our friend went to pick up Starbuck’s (cardinal rule broken – see #4), Steve managed to slice open the top of his finger just above the knuckle in his hand. Apparently there was a little more than a little tension on a timing belt and when it snapped it came back and bit him. He immediately covered the wound and went looking for a phone, since the amount of bleeding was more than he expected. No sooner had I walked through the doors to the festival I get the phone call from him that I always dread and am never fully prepared for.
As I sat with him in the emergency room waiting to see what damage he had done to himself this time and get him fixed up, I realized a few things about my family. I thought I would share them with you – on the off chance you know someone like this or maybe just as a teaching experience to those not fortunate enough to have someone clumsy in their own lives.

1. No one in my immediate family circle has any first aid training besides myself. I am baffled by this fact that Steve can be in the job he is in (Commercial HVAC) and not have CPR and First aid certification, but as he’s telling me how many times he changed out the paper towel because he was bleeding through it I realized that we were going to need to remedy this quickly. For note if you are gushing blood – put pressure on the wound and add to whatever is covering it up, paper towel, dish rag, T-shirt, if you remove you run the risk of pulling the clot and start the bleeding fresh.

2. Steve is not good under pressure – I love my husband and you would think with the damage he does to himself regularly he would be an old hand at this, but no. Yesterday I got the same phone call I always get – “you need to come home, I’ve hurt myself, I can’t call the doctor and I’m bleeding all over the place” – now it may not translate to much on paper, but this is his screaming out declaration of fear and pain. Which always gets my heart pumping fast and the urge to come running to him kicks in regardless of how stupid the situation is. Once I drove home from work to pick him up and take him to the hospital 5 minutes from my office, instead of having the person with him, meet me there. OK so maybe Steve and I aren’t good under pressure together, at least in the I have to get to him regard.

3. Francesca is cool on the outside and totally freaking out on the inside – almost. She is so much like me sometimes it’s hard to fathom, she’s even started confusing my husband when he calls the home she sounds so much like me now. Unfortunately she hasn’t fully developed her calm under pressure attitude and while she was right next to me when I needed to leave the festival, dialing numbers and speaking with the receptionist to try to get my husband a doctors apt. She lost it when we got home to him and saw all of the blood in the driveway and throughout the house – In her defense my friend did tell me later it looked like a blood bath, Steve hit a vein and didn’t realize he was gushing all over the place while he was looking for a phone. I got a teary and hysterical phone call while we were in the emergency room – it seems she had tried to clean up the mess and had nominal success before she realized she had stained her brand new shirt and was half apologizing half asking what to do. I called her father (biological) over and had him take her out of the house for a little bit, and give her some love. She did a good job but it was just a little bit too much for her to handle.

4. Cardinal Rule – Never leave Steve unattended while he’s working on cars- this isn’t something I learned yesterday, we’ve had this rule in place for a while, but I bears mentioning again, especially since our very dear friend know’s this is a rule and forgot and left him. Now again in our friends defense the neighbor was out talking to Steve while he was working in his yard and our gardener was there, unfortunately these were not people Steve felt could help him in that crisis and promptly forgot about him.

At the end of the day, we all made it home safe and sound, Frannie’s shirt was pretreated before I put it in the wash, Steve had 3 stitches and a new tetanus shot – we had to wait for that, they didn’t have any in stock of the kind he needed – apparently he got something fancy the last time that he couldn’t have again so soon – 6 years, so the pharmacy had to look for the older kind. We managed to make it out of the emergency room just in time to pick up my mom and other daughter from the festival and once home I was given 20 solid minutes of cuddling from my husband before he fell into stress induced sleep that knocked him down for a few hours. I have a rule about that too.

5. Once the trauma is over and we’re back home safe, he has to love me for a little while so I can feel right in the world. When I go into crisis mode I shut down all emotions save for the ones that will serve me until the crisis is over. When I’m done, I’m usually and exhausted mess, and need just a little bit of time “in my spot” on Steve’s shoulder to feel better.

I know at some point he’s going to damage himself badly, I try really hard not to worry about it most of the time. I just try to think about it like I do earthquakes, I know they happen but I can’t waste my time waiting and worrying. And just maybe I hope that if you have enough of the little ones, it will relieve enough pressure to keep a big one away.

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2 Comments

  1. What a scary day. Nothing like an unexpected trip to the to hospital to raise ones blood pressure. We have a particularly bad hospital nearby that we call Heaven’s Gate. 🙂 I hope that your day is less stressful today!

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