Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Horrible Gardening Accident

Perhaps, I mused, as I wended my way through early-evening traffic yesterday on my way to the Leesburg emergency room, the wound to my thumb that would require five stitches to close it still seeping ungodly amounts of gore into a sodden paper towel clutched in my right hand, the razor-sharp paring knife was not the optimal tool to use to go slashing around in the asparagus patch while preparing the family dinner. Quite possibly, I reflected with some regret, I should have used the machete instead.

The triage nurse's wall was a study in Our Life and Parlous Times. Freshly tacked to it was a flow chart (quite poorly executed, possibly in PowerPoint, I noted with professional satisfaction). The first decision box read, "Been in Mexico in the last two weeks?" (The Yes/No paths led to quite different procedures; respectively, they were, "OK, let's assume you have swine flu," and "You almost certainly don't have swine flu. Go home and sleep it off.")

As the nurse practitioner was swabbing the last of the dried blood off my hand and preparing to give me a tetanus shot, the triage nurse poked her head into the menage. "We need this room," she whispered to my ministratrix. "Why?" was the former's natural response. Quickly eying me, the triage nurse beckoned her out into the hallway; clearly, they didn't want my prying ears overhearing the subsequent justification.

The nurse reentered the room, and hurriedly gave me the tetanus shot. As she was doing so, urgent conversation filtered into the room.

"When did you return from Mexico? Was it more than a month ago?"


"Can you describe the chest pains?"

[Mumble mumble]

"Sir, I don't believe that swine flu is a likely cause of your chest pains, but we'll get you an EKG and a complete blood workup...."

Poor bugger. As I left the room to him, he lay on a gurney in the hallway, oxygen mask clapped to his face. He'd worked himself up into a panic attack over the goddamned cable-news overcoverage of this swine-flu thing. He had a sniffle, connected it with his spring-break trip to Mexico, and assumed he was the next Dreadful Statistic. He was, of course, in no more danger than he had been in in CancĂșn, eyeballing the Kollege Kuties in their bikinis and swilling Tequila Sunrises.

I sidestepped the whole scene, looked for the exit. I stood aside to let pass a young man in a wifebeater, straight out of an episode of Cops. His hands were manacled behind him and a grim-faced gendarme held his elbow. Blood streamed from his nose.

OK! Time to go cook some asparagus!


The Viscount LaCarte said...

A couple years ago I was trying to open some hard plastic packaging (you know the type of packaging I'm talking about - invented by sadists designed to frustrate even even the most patient people under the influence of valium) with an exacto knife and I sliced through my thumb like it was butter. I should have went to the ER but it was Christmas day. A barely visible scar remains.

JBeaufort said...

Hope that you heal up soon, Neddie.

Am not sure what to make of H1N1 yet..I'll hope for the best, but am thinking of preparing for the worst.

Kevin Wolf said...

Neddie, it always seems to me that the accident itself is not as awful as the hospital visit.

Viscount: My brother once did the same thing to his thumb. After a visit to the emergency room, he was referred to a specialist who put everything back together but he still ended up with an ugly scar. Maybe you did the right thing.

HomefrontRadio said...

Humour a fellow gardener's curiousity Neddie: how much space do you need for Asparagus? They're big plants aren't they, and you need both male and female plants don't you?

< About to redo the veggie patches during Winter

xjmueller said...

Great googly-moogly, Neddie! Between the snakes and knife play you may not make it thru the summer. Hope the fresh asparagus made up for the injury.