Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Another Tale of Childhood Stupidity!

I'll try to keep this one short. Short and squirmy. When I was 9 (again) my mom was in the kitchen talking on the phone with a friend and I was sitting on the steps to the upstairs area being bored.

My uncle, the one who recommended amputation for the dangly turtle problem, had given me some exercise stuff. I was a scrawny kid, and tended to get picked on a bit (okay, a lot) and he thought that "working out" would help me. He gave me an old pair of boxing gloves, a few karate magazines and... I don't know the name for it... it's one of those things made from two handles with three bungie style cords between them. The idea is you stretch them apart and it builds up your chest muscles. I had a different idea. A stupid idea.

I was sitting on the stairs, idly playing around with this thing in a fashion not intended by its makers. What I was doing was this. I put one handle around my knee and was pulling the other handle as hard as I could with both of my hands. While sitting.

My mom noticed what I was doing and she had just opened her mouth to tell me to cut it out when the handle slipped off of my knee. I realize at this point that I failed to mention a key detail in the description of this "thing". The cords were attached to the handles by coiled springs. Springs that had pointy bits at the ends.

The handle that had been on my knee smacked me across the face and knocked me backward onto the stairs. I was dazed, my head was pounding and I think I recall my mom yelling "OH MY GOD!" I thought, "I'm alright." But I was wrong. Very wrong.

When I opened my eyes I saw my mom had dropped the phone and was rushing toward me with a horrified expression on her face. And then I felt the torrent of blood that had started to poor from my eye. I FREAKED! She grabbed me and ran me up to the bathroom at the top of the stairs and I remember seeing the trail of blood that I was leaving on the carpet, and feeling bad for making a mess.

About the time she had me bent over the sink the pain in my eye had begun. I was watching my blood swirl down the drain while my mom asked me if I could still see from that eye at all. I thought I was going to die.

She got the bleeding under control and she rushed me to the Peterson Air Force Base hospital (My dad was a retired SMSgt.). We sat in the waiting area for a bit with a bloody cloth pressed to my head. Finally a doctor took me into another room and checked out the wound. The eye was okay, but the gash in my eyelid needed stitches.

I didn't know anything about the ranking in the Air Force at the time, but I'm quite sure it was at most an A1C that put in the stitches. And he was lit. Totally high. I must have interrupted is pot break.

So, here I am a 9 year old kid who had just gone through a hell of a lot for one night, and here is this unfocused pothead coming at my face with a needle and thread. I didn't know at the time what drugs were. I just knew that he wasn't quite right. So, I start screaming and trying to get away. He grabbed me by the arm and hissed, "Settle down kid or I'll sew your eyelid to your cheek." I settled down.

SOMEHOW he managed to not fuck up. It was somewhere around 4-6 stitches, if I recall correctly. It looked like I had a prickly caterpillar on my eye. And these were the "old school" stitches. The ones that, at some point down the line, have to be removed. They don't just dissolve.

Fortunately, I didn't have the pot head take them out when the time came. Unfortunately, the doctor was only able to get a couple of them out with the snips. The doper put them in too tight. She informed me that she was going to have to use a scalpel to cut the remaining ones so she could remove them.

I said, "Leave them in!", but no dice.

I was scared to death that my eye was going to be cut all over again, but it worked out okay. I can't recommend having someone come to your eye with a razor sharp knife though, no matter how good their intentions.

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"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."