We made it home a few hours later, which is when I learned that it’s actually pretty easy to scrape blood from the floor once it congeals. Kinda like scooping up pudding with a spatula. Trust me, I anticipated much worse.
The walls were a different matter, which is how I learned how wonderful Magic Erasers are.
The second time it happened was a little worse, only because Jeff wasn’t awake. Neither was I. I woke up to a warm stream on my leg, thinking our Talli-cat was peeing on me. Wrong. I flipped back the covers and woke Jeff up in an alarmingly brusque but not hysterical manner. I been through this once before and sort of knew what to do.
Rather than risk clipping off Jeff’s foot hanging out of the car door again, we stuffed the duct-taped-toweled leg into a 13 gallon green drawstring garbage bag.
The intake employee who met us as we sloshed through the door, looked at us wild-eyed and asked what was in the bag.
“His leg!” I exclaimed, at the same time as Jeff answered, “My leg!”
She looked a little panicked, but managed to squeak out, “Um … is it … attached?”
“Yes.” We answered in unison.
A triage nurse came racing down the hall. Looking frantically from Jeff to me, asking, “Which one of you is the patient?”
I was thinking, “Well, duh. That would be the one who was ankle deep in blood in the garbage bag with the towel duct taped around his leg.”
Jeff just said, “Me.”
He was ushered into an exam room and I was shown the registration desk. I held out my hand to take the paperwork I needed to fill out. Frowning, it seemed they were deliberately placed on the desk in front of me. I asked for a pen. The attendant held out a pen and quickly drew it back leaving my open hand empty. That’s when I noticed I my blood-covered hands, which explained the which-one question.
“Give me the pen,” I advised. “You’re just going to have to throw it away when I am done.”
I arrived in the curtained half-room as the doctor was finishing up the stitches. Jeff was re-telling the “is-it-attached?” story. The doctor, the nurse and the couple sequestered in the other half room behind the curtain were all pretty much in the laughing kind of stitches. The nurse offered to help me clean-up, coming back with baby wipes and paper towels. I had blood in my hair, blood on my face, neck, arms, hands, which, again, explained the which-one question.
By the third time, I was a venous accident pro. We were watching TV and I noticed a little trickle running down Jeff’s leg. “Jeff?” I asked, pointing at the thinly flow.
“Here we go, again,” Jeff smiled at me, sheepishly.
I got the towel and the tape and by the time I came back, the flow was getting heavier, but nowhere near the fire-hydrant spray of the first time or the looks like a mass-murderer-was-here second time.
I’d estimate we were efficiently out the door in less than 5 minutes.
Of course, the flow sped up, and by the time we were just inside the emergency room sliders, Jeff’s sandals were soaked and sounding squishy.
The janitor took one look at us and the bloody foot prints we’d left on the entryway floor and said, “Figures. I just finished mopping this floor.”
We were both escorted to a bay, where the nurse took off our ingenious bandage. The pin-prick was now a hole, spurting up blood undirectionally, like random dancing waters. She grabbed some gauze and told me to hold it on his leg while applying pressure. I commented that the gauze pad wasn’t going to cut it. “It should,” she said. I lifted two fingers to let her see the seeping. “Oh,” she said, as she unreeled a large handful of roll gauze. I applied pressure.
It took the doctor about 10 minutes to get to us. There was a broken arm next door.By that time my hand was cramped. When he arrived the doctor said he thought I could stop applying pressure now. “I don’t think sooo, “I disagreed. “Yes,” he said, “It will be ok. You can let go.”
“Oooo-kay,” I replied in that dubious tone of voice you use when you know better. A graceful arc of blood shot out and up, widely freckling his very white, white coat.
“Hold it again,” he directed, “Hold it again! You hold it. I’ll come back!””
I switched hands. Two more rounds of “I think it’s safe now” and it slowed back to a trickle.
This doctor decided it would be a good idea to cauterize the offending vein, and then added a few stitches for extra hold.
That excellent idea signaled the end of the “Don’t be Alarmed” era.
It was the last time we had to do the ER shuffle for this issue.
There were, however … others….
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:
Candor of White: http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2007/04/mhst1-0704.html