Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Thus Spake Garth

"No. I don't need to [go to the hospital]. It's just a scrape that gushed a bit."

Me: "We're going."

Two stitches. The ER staff said it was "debatable," whether to suture it, but they had fun bantering about whether it was a laceration or a scrape. He fell off his bike, you see, when the dog he was exercising decided to go sideways, just as he was using both hands to pull a loose brake lever back into position. When he got home, I was at the computer (guilty) and he didn't say anything, just spent a moment in the washroom and then went to lie down. An hour or so later, he took off his shoes and discovered a problem.

I became aware of it when I turned from the computer to call him to the phone, and I could see a thick pile of bandages on his ankle, and little squirts still leaking out. After eight bandages, he hobbled off and put his foot up, insisting that he was fine. I cleaned up the bathroom a bit while fretting and fuming and repeatedly getting his brother's busy signal - I figured maybe Brian could talk some sense into him.

It would have been different if ER were open in Arcola. From our driveway, we can look across the slough and see the ER doors.

It would have been different if it had been my ankle instead of his. I am a very willing patient. I've been to ER here, when I swallowed wrong and dislocated a tonsil or something. They figured I just had a muscle in spasm after too much time on the phone, but I still think something was out of place, because after a while I tried swallowing with my chin tucked, and something slipped back into place, and I was fine.

Anyway, when I had nothing left to clean, I worked up my determination and phoned the HealthLine. Since Garth hadn't cleaned the wound or even looked at it well enough to describe it, the nurse advised me to take the bandages off, clean it, and check if it might need stitches.

Well, that took some doing. There's no point in attempting something like that without Garth's cooperation. He was stubbornly stoic; I was in a small flap. But once we got the bandages off, I was the calm one. Finally I could see what we were dealing with and know what needed to be done. Garth, meanwhile, was looking off into the corners of the room and wiping his brow.

Cleaned it, covered it with a smaller, neater pile of bandages (one bandage probably would have done it), and drove him off to Weyburn. The ER doctor was a delightful little lady from Northern Ireland. I mentioned Garth's upcoming trip back to Nepal (for three weeks in August, to test some software that was developed as part of his project). She told us about friends of hers who went climbing there. She had given them lots of information about altitude sickness. The husband decided he was feeling the symptoms and needed to go back down, so a guide took him, while the rest of the group carried on. He and the guide were both very fit, and perhaps pushed it a little too hard. He made it. The guide died.

Just before we left, the nurse drew the doc's attention to a second injury, this one on Garth's hand. Standing with his abraded hand palm up in hers, she looked him in the eye and said, "Now that's a scrape."

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