When your husband–the one who used to willingly get into a cage and fight other grown men for fun, and who, when cut or sliced or otherwise maimed at work usually just tapes up his wound with whatever is closest–calls you at work and says, “I did something stupid. I cut myself and I need you to come get me and take me to the hospital,” you don’t ask questions. You flee your office, barely explaining why to your boss, and go home to see what in the hell kind of stupid thing your husband did that necessitated him calling you in the first place.
In case you’re curious whether or not I actually fled or if I’m just using that term for dramatic effect, I will tell you this: I left a full 24 oz. cup of piping hot coffee on my desk.
Yeah, that’s some serious shit.
On the way home, which, luckily for him, is only about half a mile away, I wondered what I might walk in on at home. I’m not what you’d call steel-nerved when it comes to things like blood or vomit or other bodily fluids. He hadn’t told me where he cut himself, what if he was passed out by the time I got home? What if he couldn’t walk? What if his finger was in a plastic bag full of ice? What kind of stupid thing was he even doing?
There was little time to worry about a lot of these hypotheticals because as soon as I pulled up to the house, he was opening the front door and hobbling out, a towel wrapped tight around his lower leg. I know I have an over-active imagination, but it was a huge relief to immediately know he wasn’t passed out in a pool of his own blood in the living room.
He had no shoes on but there was no time to get him any, because he was bleeding everywhere and let’s be honest, I don’t even think there are clean matching socks anywhere in my house right now, so barefoot seemed like the easier/better option. Who wants to be the wife who tells a eulogy that starts thusly, “It was a real shame that I spent fifteen minutes trying to find two matching socks in the fourteen laundry baskets of clean clothes we keep in the basement. If I hadn’t had to do that, he may not have bled out.”
So off we went, him barefoot, me trying not to look anywhere in the general vicinity of the source of the blood. We were on the road before he told me what had happened, which was this: The remote control airplane he’d been building with our son had turned on while he was, ironically, trying to set the safety for the throttle, and the propeller turned into his calf, slicing it. In case you were wondering, this plane isn’t some tiny little drone thing that can fit in your hand. It’s a plane with a five-foot wingspan.
On the way to the hospital, my loving husband told me details I didn’t need to know. Like how, when it happened, and before he’d really processed that he’d just been cut, it sounded like he’d spilled a cup of water on the floor. And how now there was so much blood all over the living room it looked like a crime scene. And how he maybe thought he had even seen a few chunks of flesh (I think he just threw that detail in to gross me out. He likes to do that). But then he started to feel dizzy and in pain, which probably wasn’t helped by the fact that I was driving in a way that could maybe be described as a sorta cautious maniac.
When we pulled up, I told him to get out and I’d run in to see if they’d let me bring a wheelchair out, instead of making him hobble barefoot up the walk. In the ER lobby, I told the receptionist that my husband had cut himself and I needed a wheelchair. She pointed to where the wheelchairs were and asked if I needed help. After I said I could handle it, she asked what he cut himself on. I panicked, not wanting to go into some long-ass story while he was waiting for me, and just said, “Airplane propeller!” on my way out the door.
This seemed to cause some confusion, but it did end in nurses being called immediately to come inspect his leg.
“So uh, what exactly did this?” was the question of the day. We quickly clarified that the airplane propeller was attached to a remote control plane, and not a real airplane. To which one nurse said, “Ahhh okay. I was wondering how he’d even have a leg left…”
So let that be a lesson to you kids. Clarity is important, but sometimes being vague gets you seen faster in an emergency.
They got him back into a room and I still refused to look directly at the leg because, you know, I’m a giant baby. The doctor saying, “Ooooh no, I need to go get more supplies” was enough to evoke certain images in my brain that I didn’t want to see. Nurses kept coming in and asking questions. One winked at me and said, “Mine’s a big kid, too.” But mostly I think they were just disappointed that an actual airplane hadn’t cut my husband’s leg.
My husband was just embarrassed and kept saying so. But everyone assured him that they’d seen much more embarrassing things in the ER. I reminded him that we’d been in the ER for more embarrassing reasons. But he was just concerned with the state of his toenails and the fact that he wasn’t wearing any socks or shoes, and hadn’t had a shower yet.
Eighteen stitches later, he was all fixed up and ready to go. The nurse who had confided that her husband also loved giant toys came back and laughingly asked (as we were getting ready to leave), “Do you want me to bring you some of the socks with the grippy bottoms so you don’t have to be barefoot?” And he said yes. When she came back, she had giant purple socks, which isn’t a thing I’d ever be able to get my husband to wear, but this nurse had the magic touch, I guess. He put those suckers on, and I walked my maimed husband out to the car. And that is the story of how my husband got his very first pair of purple socks.