Friday, December 02, 2005

Best Defense

You tell me how you would react to this:
You wake up and look over to see where your partner/spouse/bed buddy would be. Instead of a body, you see an empty space and blood. You wake up, and walk to your bathroom. Along the way you find a partial handprint made up of blood on a door. The bathroom door is closed, but you hear someone moving around in there, so you decide, "Hey, it must be my (whatever) and go and look. Inside you find that person with blood on their face and down their shirt.
What's your first reaction?
If you said laugh, then you and my wife have a lot in common.
My day has been odd and really not going very well from the moment I woke up.
This morning, after barely getting any sleep, I woke up to find that blood was streaming out of my nose. Not a great way to wake up. Sure, it beats waking up after wetting yourself (something that I and many others I know have done after drinking way to much), but it still sucks. You feel the warm liquid on your lips and taste it to find that saltiness.
First thing I did was grab a tissue and check the bed. Unfortunately I had bled on my pillow case (and blood is a giant pain to get out of things). Not wanting to wake up my wife, I made my way very groggily (it was very early in the morning folks) to the bathroom where I could clean up.
The blood coming out of my nose was going through the tissue and on to my hand. Now, in my house, the master bedroom is upstairs from the bathroom which is on the main floor. I have to navigate steps down and as I am slightly spooked and still groggy, I have to switch hands and use the railing. Here is the first bloody handprint. At the bottom of the steps is a door which, conviently, had been shut by one of my cats during the night. Pushing the door open left the second handprint.
When I turn on the lights in the bathroom, it takes a second for my eyes to adjust. At first, all I can see is a red mass on my face and shirt, but as the world comes into focus, I am quite shocked to see how much blood is on my face and shirt. It honestly looks like I bit into someone or something and let it bleed on me. Had I been more with it, I would have taken a picture (sorry I didn't). I end up staring at myself in disbelief. Worse yet...the bleeding hasn't fully stopped. As I lift my head and grab a new tissue (while pinching), I hear the footsteps coming toward me. My wife opens the door, looks at me, the shirt, and the bloody sink...and laughs. Now, I know why she does this, and I know if my mother reads this, she would be horrified, as this has happened before.
Mrs. Leab and I visited my mother in a previous fall. We were being taken around outside the house while my mother was explaining the various things she wanted to do with plants and bushes and such. To the left of one of the bushes is a covered well of sorts. See, part of the house is underground. It was built into a hill. The laundry room is about 15 feet below where we are standing, and the dryer is vented through this well (there's also a window for air). This well does have a covering, but it's not really designed to have a 200 pound man stand on it.
Long story short (too late) I take a bad step, the covering buckles, and I am now clutching the side of this well trying not to fall. My mother turns and is horrified. My wife...laughs. It's her defense mechanism. We all have one. Each of us reacts differently to tense situations. She laughs. I don't. It's very different for me. I don't think so much as react. There's a quick moment to assess what's going on around me and then I move. It's almost to logical...whatever. Anyway, the point is everyone reacts differently. I'm hanging there trying not to fall, and my wife can't move. She just laughs. After about three or four seconds, she is able to move and help my mother bring me up. To this day my mother still can't believe that happened. Not that I almost fell, but that my wife laughed.
So, she opens the door, sees me bleeding, and Mrs. Leab laughs. I know it means she's nervous, but I also know that if it were really serious, she wouldn't least I hope she wouldn't.
"Honey, my hand has been cut off!"
That would suck.
I'm a very independent person. When I was in high school, I got a concussion by diving into a concrete wall (I was playing Ultimate Frisbee, and I was very competitive). I knew I was in trouble, but I didn't want anyone to touch me. Same when I hurt my knee, and the very same when I hurt my ankle.
Hell, when I was a Freshman in college, I dove off a ladder to save a light that was falling and was crushed underneath it (the light didn't break, however). There was another place where you could see how people react to tension. Two people laughed, one other gasped as if I had fallen 100 feet instead of 20. Lying there, my back in serious pain, I didn't want anyone to touch me. I couldn't move at first and my arms tingled, but I would be damned before anyone would help me get up. Was I possibly acting too macho? Looking back now, yeah, but it's also not wanting to be helped by others. Why? Control, most likely. I don't owe anybody then I'm on my own and not beholden.
As for today, my wife was shocked, but relieved I was ok. The bloody nose became the perfect symbol of my day (it didn't get much better, my day that is).
So how you react? Do you laugh? Do you act right away and think later (thus making you a good fireman)? What do you do? Hopefully you don't do what a former classmate of mine does and just sit on the ground. That's right. He would buckle his legs, move into a Half-Lotus position really quickly and just sit. Not good under pressure.
Have a peaceful weekend, folks.


Meridita said...

Me: age 10. Group of family friends skiing up at Lutsen, about 20 of us in all. 6 adults, 14 kids. My dad was the first one down the (very steep) hill. I was the first of the kids. All of the adults arrived before me, all of the kids after. As my dad approached the bottom, he saw the ski patrol surounding someone on the ground, and realized that he had to make an even more abrupt stop than usual (the hill pretty much ended at the chairlift, which had the river just behind it). He goes to hockey-stop, and skids over the ski patrollers skis: they'd left them flat on the ground instead of poked into the ground, sticking up. So he hits the skis, and flies into the boulder ridden river-bed. The other adults got to the bottom of the hill after him, saw what happened, and were able to avoid making his mistake. Not a one of them helped him. I got to the bottoom of the hill, saw his blue ski jacket wedged between two boulders, and flung my skis off and climbed over to him. I helped him to his feet, and got him back to his skis.

That was his last run of the day, and his last run of the trip. He'd broken two ribs.

wilhelmina said...

these r sum funy hard luk storys. i hav my own but theyd mak u cry, not laff/