I mentioned in my last post that our Fourth of July became a bit of an adventure when Alan came for me at the community pool, squeezing his finger as blood flowed down his hand.
(You’re WELCOME, fellow residents, who previously only wondered if children had peed in the pool.)
He opened with, “I don’t think it’s anything major…” but the fact that he’d walked down to find me meant that he actually did think it could be major and wanted a second opinion – or a driver to take him to the ER.
I quickly gathered my items and followed him back to his place. We examined his finger under running water, and every time he stopped cutting off circulation to his finger, blood gushed out in time with his heartbeat.
Some people might be squeamish, but we’re both pragmatic. I hated to even ask the question. “Do you think you should go to the emergency room?”
Alan took a deep breath. I knew what he was thinking. We hate the emergency room and will go to great lengths to avoid it because it’s inefficient and generally requires a minimum of a six-hour time commitment. And on a heavy drinking holiday like the Fourth? It’d probably be overflowing with dumb drunk injuries and mean an overnight.
“I’m actually not sure,” Alan concluded.
So we talked it out. We should go to the ER if we couldn’t stop the bleeding. Or if it seemed infected. Otherwise, there was nothing to be gained, we reasoned. After all, he’d shaved his entire fingertip off, so it’s not like there were “edges” that could be stitched together. Short of grafting skin to the area, the doctors wouldn’t be able to do anything we couldn’t do at home.
Plus, we had two fat rib-eyes ready to throw on the grill. If there had been any doubt about our ER avoidance plan, this factor effectively killed it.
Later in the evening, as I tidied up the kitchen, I spotted a number of paper towels in the trashcan from the earlier drama. At the top of the pile was a cocktail napkin with Amtrak’s logo on it in blue, surrounded by red blood drops. “You should carry that on your next trip to New York and stumble off the train with it in your hand, commenting, ‘Hell of a ride…’ to anyone you see.”
Alan shook his head. “Actually,” I reconsidered, “It looks rather patriotic, what with the red, white and blue motif. You certainly know how to honor Independence Day!”
“Well,” Alan said, “As Jefferson said, ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots.'”
Just not sure Jefferson envisioned combat taking place with potato peelers.