It didn't end well. I was walking our Lab puppy early in the morning when it was still dark. We were going behind a car that I didn't realize was pulling out of a driveway. I yanked Abby May into the street, fell and hit my head. The car missed us, or we would have been road kill. Guy never saw us; not his fault.
When I got up, my bleeding looked like one of those punch bowl fountains. Soaked my favorite t-shirt and my shorts. Made it back to the house. The dog seemed fine but wearing a tasteful spattering of my blood. The wife, remaining calm, said we should call 911. I said I was John Wayne, and we could still take Iwo Jima. The wife differed. I called 911, said kill the siren, the neighbors deserved their beauty rest.
Fire truck and EMTs showed up. Six guys as concerned about the dog as me. Hey, I'm over 70 and not very cute. The bleeding had almost stopped. They clean the gash and wrap up my head so I bear a striking resemblance to Boris Karloff in The Mummy. Decide that taking an ambulance to the emergency room is a smart bet. Don't want to get blood stains in our new mini-van.
EMT in the ambulance asks me if I have ever enjoyed this mode of transport before. I say no, but I have watched many episodes of Live Rescue, if that counts. Bummed because I don't get the EKG monitor or the lecture on living my life more responsibly since I didn't OD. The EMT poo- poos my concern that the dog may develop PTSD.
At the hospital emergency room, they triage me while a passing EMT looks at my blood soaked shirt and shorts and says, "Someone sprung a leak." An incredibly insightful comment. While I would make a great photo for the next hospital fundraising appeal, initially they put me in a wheelchair and push me to a waiting room where the TV is trumpeting the merits of dental implants. Where the hell have I ended up? The wife finds me, and my son also shows up, bringing me a muffin and fruit juice, both of which I can't have in case head trauma precludes those brands. A nurse brings me a blanket since the air conditioning is kept at a cozy 60 degrees. Registration shows up, delighted I have old gummer coverage which will pay the freight for this little episode.
They decide I need a CT scan of my head to make sure I'm not in the humpty dumpty category. It's still early in the day, and after briefly acknowledging that I exist, the two techs pop me into the scanner while continuing their conversation on what pizza toppings are most noxious. I'd go with anchovies, but they don't ask my opinion. I would like to know if the banging noise in my ears is normal, but the techs pull me out of the tube just before I become severely claustrophobic.
They then find a bay with a bed for me on the trauma floor. I'm in number 13, hopefully not a harbinger of things to come. My wife is brought back, and Cheri, a perky (politically incorrect) strawberry blonde RN, says she will be with me shortly, but I don't see her for thirty minutes. Not her fault. Two trauma cases suddenly show up: a woman who has suffered a severe stroke and a guy who just went through a windshield. While this is going on, in a bed across from me, a Hispanic male covered with tattoos seems to be writhing in pain, the alarm on his vital signs monitor is going WAA, WAA, WAA, WAA incessantly. Turns out his heart had stopped and they revived him with CPR before bringing him in. With my narrow world view, I figured heroin overdose, but the guy had been on kidney dialysis and something went wrong. These other situations make my problems seem like chump change.
Cheri the RN finally returns and unwraps my mummified head. The CT scan results are back, and my skull seems to be in one piece. No need for brain surgery. Next, June, a statuesque (politically incorrect) nurse practitioner, looks at my gash and says it will require staples to close it. I imagine those guns with one inch staples that they use at construction sites. Maybe brain surgery will be necessary. As I wait for the numbing cream on my noggin to kick in, my blood pressure spikes and my vital signs monitor starts going WAA, WAA, WAA. I ask my wife to push every button to try to stop it, but she is afraid doing so might make be blow up.
Finally, NP June returns with staple gun in hand. She says I might feel something. You think? She goes POP, POP, POP -three staples- and the deed is done. It feels no worse than me banging my head against a wall. They are now happy to bring the discharge papers, which I sign in triplicate. June says I might experience concussion symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and double vision. And I had a big weekend planned watching football players get concussed. As we exit the emergency room, the registration lady gives me the thumbs up, acknowledging that I have survived and that my medical insurance has cleared. It's been over six excitement packed hours. I get in our mini-van; devour the stale muffin and drink the fruit juice. I don't care what brand goes poorly with head injuries.
In the days that follow, I get donuts for the EMT guys (they're not only for cops) and gift cards for my nurses. Fortunately, I don't suffer concussion symptoms other than mild headaches. The other good news is that all of the blood washed out of my t-shirt, and it does not appear that the dog has PTSD. The bad news is that my son says I have to wear a headlamp and three other lights on my body when walking Abby May. I vacillate. All I know is that John Wayne didn't wear no stinkin' lights in The Sands of Iwo Jima.