The weekend before Thanksgiving something crazy happened while my sister, Katie, and her boyfriend, David, were in town. We had been looking forward to their visit for weeks, and Saturday was the perfect fall day. We took advantage of the nice weather with a late lunch picnic on campus. Golden sunlight streamed down on our quilt, mingled with that thrilling crispness in the air that served as a reminder of the approaching holiday season. We drank sweet tea and ate barbecue and then tossed a frisbee for a while. Husband decided to grab his soccer ball out of the car. Being from Central America, he doesn’t have a lot of frisbee experience but shines with a soccer ball at his feet. At one point, he kicked the ball super hard, and it went all the way up the steps of the administration building (pictured), hit the doors and bounced back to where he stood. He was pleased with the impressed reaction he got from the crowd and decided to try this again. I’ve told you before about his boyish nature.
On his second attempt, the ball rested too close to the edge of the sidewalk. He kicked the ball and then the concrete, so his big toe had a head-on collision with the edge of that concrete at full force. None of us really saw this. He just rolled onto his back. I thought he had lost his balance from kicking so hard, and I walked over laughing to help him to his feet. He didn’t get up, and I heard him moan. Something was wrong…maybe his knee? He was holding it and wincing. Then he told me that he hit his toe and that he could feel his shoe filling up with blood. The mood changed quickly, and I yelled over my shoulder, “Time to go!” Katie and David gathered our things and met us at the car.
My big, strong husband grimaced with each step as he leaned on me for support. This was something new. I’ve now know him for a little more than three years, and up to this point he hadn’t had much more than a cold during that time. I had never seen him so physically vulnerable before. I have to say, it kinda freaked me out. When we got to the house, he took off his sock. I’ll spare you the gruesome picture that he captured, but suffice it to say it took about three seconds to decide that we needed to take him to the walk-in clinic. It was bleeding profusely, and I was apparently so flustered as I filled out his paperwork that I wrote down the wrong address. I lived at 1109 when I was in college, but somehow that’s what I wrote on the form. It’s funny what our minds do in these situations…or maybe it’s just me. I don’t know. 🙂 They assessed the injury and determined that the cut was too deep and the tissue too damaged for them to repair. They took an x-ray, gave him some shots to numb his toe and sent us to the ER.
We left our guests to find alternate plans for the evening and drove to the hospital where we spent the next five hours, mostly waiting. Thank goodness they numbed his toe. They gave us a wheelchair, and he sat playing on his iPhone and not feeling any pain. The ER on a Saturday night is a wonderful opportunity for people watchers like myself. I observed a young couple with a cheerful little boy who coulnd’t have been more than 2 and wondered what must be wrong with him. He was so animated, toddling around the room, lighting up the faces of everyone he passed. I saw an older woman slumped over in her chair, head down, distraught look on her face. She got in quickly. When they finally called us in, I held my husband’s hand while he received more shots and five stitches. He looked pale and his normally warm skin was clammy and cold. I tried not to seem concerned. I smiled and asked him questions to distract him from the scene going on at his feet. He gazed up at me smiling weakly, and eventually it was done.
Husband is healing well and got his stitches out yesterday. It has been incredibly hard to see him hurting, but he has handled the whole thing with great courage. He’s been telling people in an excited tone, “I learned a new word in the ER. Mangled!” The nurse must have used it five times. I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to remain calm and not get squeamish at the sight of the “damaged tissue”. I learned that I can be strong when someone I love needs me. I have enjoyed taking care of Bryan while he recovers. It can’t be easy for an independent, hard-working guy to relinquish control and let someone serve him, but I’ve only caught him hobbling around doing chores a couple of times. Situations like this remind us not to take our health for granted. I am thankful for that reminder. And, yes, this experience brought us closer. But let’s not make trips to the ER a regular thing, ok honey?