Emergency Room Antics

Sometimes the best made plans turn to a rancid pot of day old, unrefrigerated chowder faster than you can say, “Wait, what just happened here?” I was going to post a blog yesterday showing my Toastmasters World Semi-final performance for the 2012 Toastmasters International Speech Contest, when all of a sudden I found myself wasting several hours in the emergency room.

emergency room
Yes Quinn, I know, it’s an “icky” wound.

Shortly after I returned from my 7:00 a.m. weekly Toastmasters club meeting (yes, you heard that right, Park City Toastmasters Club meets at 7:00 a.m. every Tuesday), I went to make a smoothie for Quinn, my 14-year-old (recall he’s the knife juggler in the family) and the food processor (notably called “The Ninja”) blade fell out of the cupboard and landed squarely on top of my left hand severing an arterial vein. Immediately blood bubbled up from the top of my hand like a small, simmering volcano.

“OH, SHIT!” Was my immediate, annoyed reaction. I do NOT need this today!

I ran to the sink, leaving a trail of blood in my wake. I desperately wanted to avoid the emergency room, so I tried to clean the wound, but the running water just encouraged the gaping hole in my hand to bleed more. Clearly, this was not a good idea.

I grabbed paper towels and wrapped my hand, applying pressure to stop the bleeding, but it still trickled down my arm, all over the counter and into a tray of drying dishes (lovely). Blood was suddenly the new decorating accessory in our kitchen.

Within mintues I was feeling a little woozy, and since the sight of blood or gory wounds does not bother me (hence, my love of horror movies) I thought I’d better lie down and elevate my hand. But when the symptoms continued, I told Quinn that I needed to go to the emergency room NOW. I quickly added more tissues and paper towels and Quinn tightly wrapped my hand with a roll of scotch tape that was on the counter.

Our Exciting Drive to the Emergency Room

Unfortunately, my older son was not home so that meant I had to drive myself to the emergency room. Fortunately, the nearest urgent care clinic (not a full-fledged emergency room, but it would do) was under a mile away. As you can imagine, it was a challenge to drive, apply pressure to my wound, keep my hand elevated above my head, AND remain a defensive driver.

emergency room
Me: “You and Derrick will be doing the dishes for the next 10 days.” Quinn: “Excuse me?”

About halfway there things got dicey. I told my son, “Quinn, I’m starting to see stars, so if I pull over you’re going to have to drive the rest of the way, okay?”

“Um…Okay…” He agreed, not totally onboard with the idea.

“And if I pass out, grab the wheel and hit the brake.”

“Which one is the brake again?”

“The middle pedal.”

“What are you talking about? There are only two pedals!” I usually drive my Subaru Outback, which has a manual transmission. But my older son had my car, so we took our second vehicle, a 1978 Jeep Wagoneer, which is an automatic.

“Oh, the left one. Wait, let me think… Yeah, the left one.” Things were kind of hazy at this point, but by now we were almost to the clinic, so I knew I could finish the drive. Besides this somewhat awkward exchange did wonders to keep me conscious.

Prepare for Your Emergency Room Landing

We parked in front of the clinic and Quinn helped me in. Upon seeing the bloody paper towel mess wrapped around a part of my body that contains several arteries, the wonderful clinic staff connected the dots themselves. They immediately got me a wheel chair, as if I was some old lady deplaning in Boca Raton, and quickly transported me to a bed. But in order to treat me they had to administer some sort of blood coagulating potion so they could clean the wound and stitch it up without it gleefully spouting like a champagne fountain at Tony and Tina’s Wedding.

Naturally, all this took hours, from check-in to release. Thankfully, I did have the wherewithal during my emergency room wait to have Quinn call his brother and fill him in. Could you imagine what Derrick would’ve thought if he came home to find blood all over the kitchen and no sign of his mom or brother? That could’ve been the basis for a whole new blog post. I have to admit, posts with police, missing persons, and assumed crime scenes are always so much more interesting. (Maybe I should’ve just let him stumble upon the mess.)

The punch line is that I’m fine. But the downside of my emergency room visit is that I can’t use my left hand for about 10 days due to the stitches now holding it together. Which is a bummer if you’re a writer. I typed this post using only my right hand and the old “hunt and peck” method that most pre-computer, hardboiled reporters favored back in the day (yes, Dad, I’m talking about you).

Needless to say, getting this post published today took a while. So if you used your valuable time to read it, PLEASE leave a comment, even if you usually don’t. I can honestly say publishing this post was not only a labor of love, it also hurt like hell. Mainly because I tried to cheat once in a while by using my left hand. However, Mother Nature quickly used her hand to bitch-slap me back into place.


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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.