When I was a kid, a common piece of advice from adults was, “Just wait until you’re older and smarter, then you’ll understand.”
Well, I got the first part down…it’s the “smarter” part I’m not sure of.
For example: Last Saturday morning I woke up a bit earlier than I usually do, about 5AM, made my morning trip to the bathroom, and then walked into the living room…with the lights out. I’ve been living in this apartment for more than two years. I should know where everything is located, shouldn’t I?
Well, apparently not. As I crossed the living room, my foot caught the edge of the base of my coffee table…my big heavy wooden coffee table with the glass top. With no light to see anything in the room, and now not sure exactly where I was in the room, I lost my balance and fell down – my left knee landing squarely in the center of the glass top.
I was able to regain my balance, now that I was on all fours in the dark, and I pulled myself to my feet. THEN, I turned on the light. I saw papers that I had left on top of my coffee table the night before scattered across the living room floor, intermixed with shards of smoked glass. I also felt something running down my leg.
Yes, I succeeded in cutting my left knee fairly seriously…at least if you looked at the blood running onto my carpet, it looked fairly serious. I moved quickly to the bathroom, grabbed a role of paper towels and tried to use pressure to stop the blood. It wasn’t “squirting”, so I knew I hadn’t cut a large artery and, therefore, was not in some life-threatening situation. I also noticed smaller flows of blood from my arms and legs.
I grabbed my first aid materials from my bathroom cabinet and put Band-Aids on the smaller cuts. I put a 2” gauze pad on my knee, but that quickly filled up with blood. I used a big wad of paper towels to put pressure on my knee, but my leg had plans of its own…it was going to keep on bleeding.
I should step aside here for a moment and mention that I am on Coumadin, an anticoagulant, for AFIB. That medication did its job just fine, keeping the blood coming from my knee from coagulating…just like advertised.
After 30 minutes or so of playing EMT on myself, I decided I was going to need professional help for this one. Fortunately, I only live about 10 minutes from the local hospital, so, with a fresh wad of paper towels, I limped to my car and drove myself to the local ER.
I need to insert another aside here about the ER at Ephrata Community Hospital. This is my second visit there and they are really awesome. Walk in, tell them your name, address, birthday, and emergency contact and you’re on a gurney. No ID, no insurance card, no page after page of paperwork (you sign just one paper giving them permission to treat you). Oh, they will come back after you’ve seen a doctor and catch up on all of that. But getting you in front of medical professionals is their first priority. I love these people. (Of course, the fact that I was dribbling blood all over their entry area very likely helped my cause).
So, an ER nurse cleaned off my wounds (which encompassed a fair portion of both legs) and the doctor on duty came in, confirmed that I wasn’t allergic to anything (fortunately, I’m not), and numbed up my left knee with a local anesthetic. Okay, I’m not going to lie…the first one or two jabs of the needle did hurt a bit, but then the anesthesia started doing its work and I didn’t feel the other numerous jabs of the needle into my knee.
All of this, of course, was accomplished while the nurse kept dabbing away at the blood that kept gushing (ok, maybe not gushing…let’s say flowing heavily) out of my leg. Then the doctor stitched me up, putting seven stitches into my knee, and the nurse finished up by redressing all the various wounds on my leg, putting a large gauze pad and lots of adhesive tape around my knee.
Then, with instructions to rest it for a few days, take the antibiotic prescribed for me, and stop walking around my apartment in the dark, I left the ER and returned home to sit around for a while.
Oh my, no gym this week….I am SO disappointed!
But in the end, everything looks fine, which I can see quite clearly...with the lights on.