Friday, October 7, 2011

Balance—Or the Lack Thereof

I pulled the car next to the curb, turned off the engine, and said, “Home safely again.”

My daughter, grandkids and I had spent the weekend at Anime Central, a convention of anime and manga fans held each spring in Rosemont, near Chicago O’Hare. When I’d pulled out of the parking garage, Harry Plotter, my GPS, decided to take us home via the most direct route—right through the heart of Chicago. Getting out of that traffic in one piece was major. Plus, I’d had to use the bathroom for the last 30 miles or so.

But I spoke too soon.

Leading up to the door of my daughter’s house are three concrete steps. Hauling a suitcase with one hand and carrying a tote in the other, I negotiated the first step and made it up the second.

Then, when I lifted my foot to step onto the porch, my toe caught. I remember realizing I was about to land on my knees, which had been a bit tender ever since they were replaced, and thinking, “This is gonna hurt. And I’ll probably pass out and wet my pants.”

And in my concern over messing up those marvels of modern medicine, not to mention my underwear, I was able to prevent them from hitting the concrete. Unfortunately, in doing so, I further lost my balance and pitched forward headfirst into the doorframe with the full force of my ample weight.

I sat back, thinking, “Well, that wasn’t so bad. Wonder if I dented the aluminum?” Surprisingly, no pain. And I still needed to pee. Which, under the circumstances, was a good thing.

But I remembered being told never to allow anyone who had suffered a head injury to get up and try to walk. Several scenarios ran through my damaged head. In one, my daughter tried to carry me into the bathroom and threw out her back.  No, that wouldn’t do. She had to work Monday. In another, she called 911 and told the paramedics I didn’t need to go to the hospital, I just needed to go. No, that wouldn’t work either. And even if she’d had a bedpan handy, I wasn’t about to use it on the front porch.

So I crawled over the threshold, through the living room, down the hall, and into the bathroom, where I was thankful for the first time that the room was so small that my knees nearly touched the tub when I sat on the stool. Made it easy for me to use the tub to pull myself up off the floor.

After breathing a sigh of relief, I assessed the situation. I still had no pain or dizziness, so maybe I’d be OK if I got up.  Holding onto the sink just in case, I rose and looked at myself in the mirror.

Not good. Through my bangs, I could see a fine line on my forehead and continuing back into my hair. And it was about to drip blood. My daughter, who had followed me into the hall, grabbed a clean dishtowel and instructed me to hold it to my forehead while she made sure I got to the sofa safely. I sat a moment wondering what to do next. I was still nearly an hour from home, and although I felt fine, I knew I had no business trying to drive.

So I called Hubby and told him I’d tripped and hurt myself and didn’t think I should try to drive home. Would he please come up and get me? He said, “OK. Be there in about an hour.” No questions. None. You’d think he was used to my making strange requests.

My daughter, nurse that she is, kept checking to be sure I hadn’t suffered a concussion. I pulled the dishtowel away from my forehead and was surprised it hadn’t soaked through. “I don’t think it’s that bad,” I said when she wanted to examine my head more closely.

Then I felt something tickle the back of my neck and reached up to rub it. My hand came away covered with blood. No wonder the dishrag was relatively dry. My daughter now insisted on examining the wound. “I can’t tell how far back it goes because your hair is so thick,” she said. “But blood is running down the back of your head, and you’re going to need stitches.”

So by the time my husband arrived, we had determined I had two choices: 1. Go to the emergency room in the city where she lives., or 2. Bleed all over Hubby’s car for an hour and go to the emergency room in the city where I live.  The former seemed more logical.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until the emergency room nurse and the physician’s assistant started cutting away my blood-matted hair. The nurse, wide-eyed, said, “Oh my. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a head wound that big before.”

The doctor put six stitches in my forehead and used nineteen staples to close the split scalp in my hair. About 1 a.m., after an MRI to make sure my head had suffered no damage beyond the obvious, Hubby and I finally headed for home.

Over the next week, my eyes nearly swelled shut and my face turned several interesting shades of purple, green, and yellow. Needless to say, I didn’t go out much. Then I wore hats for about another week until I was able to get all the blood and antibiotic out of my hair. Now I have kind of a Harry Potterish scar on my forehead and a looong natural part.

And oddly, it never did hurt. Which gives Hubby way too much ammunition when he tells me I’m being hard headed.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011


  1. Bless your heart! My husband would most assuredly be calling me numb skull for the rest of our lives! he he
    I'm glad there was no deeper damage it would be a great loss to us all if you had lost your writer's mind!
    Wonderfully told.

  2. Holy crapanoly! Early on in this, I was thinking of making a silly comment about 'getting your head examined," but man, that was wicked! On the plus side, the scar can always serve as a conversation starter.

  3. MY gawwwwwwd giving a presentation on SCI's (spinal cord injury) this month and what you describe is DEFINITELY could have been ONE! DANG WOMAN when you do ANYTHING you do it big..and it gets me thinking about the "big" picture..truly believe everything that happens is in perfect balance for what we need in our lives..sometimes it doesn't make sense at the moment..but hind sight will show us later.

    love your hard headedness!!!! definitely better then Hotheadedness!! hehe

  4. We still refer to Mom's brain surgery as a lobotomy and we teased her ad nauseum. Your humor shines through a wicked situation and hubby sounds like a super guy.

  5. That's scary. Head wounds always bleed a lot!


  6. Unfortunately, the doctor did such a good job on my head that the scar is barely visible. So not much of a conversation starter.

    Yes, Hubby's a pretty good guy. A little messy, but his heart's in the right place. : - )

    I am always amused that often in the midst of scary or strange happenings, we're thinking about the most mundane of things. Like needing to go to the bathroom even if your head is dripping blood all over the floor. I think it actually helps us cope.