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A true story...

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A true story...
My Friday night started on Friday morning when I started bleeding. I was running late for work, and like any self-respecting caffeine addict, I took my coffee into the shower with me to save time. Of course, I dropped the cup in the shower and it smashed into a hundred pieces; two which of the pieces lodged themselves squarely in the side of my upper-foot. The bloody-water washing down the drain was somewhat reminiscent of the shower scene from Psycho. But being the stupid tough-guy, army-brat, war-horse, accident-prone, quick-healer that I've always been, I decided that the steady flow of blood was something that could be dealt with simply with direct pressure and a bandage. The wound was right on top of the "foot-ankle-pivot-bone" (my word). But I didn't have a bandage. Looking for something to dress the cut with, I wandered around the apartment for awhile but had no success in anything other than leaving a trail of blood from the bathroom, into the kitchen, to the bedroom, the living room, on my over-due credit card bill! So I did the only obvious thing: I chopped up a washcloth and tapped it around my ankle. Off I went to work. I was still bleeding and I knew it, but it had slowed. By noon it was time to check the bandage and the cut. So I unwrapped the tape and removed the washcloth. The cut had almost stopped bleeding and beginning to clot, so it was time to now time to wash it briskly and un-clot all the healing. It began to bleed again with renewed vigor and gusto. I started to think to myself, "Gee, I hope I didn't sever a vein!" But it didn't hurt: It NEVER hurt. I think that's why I just tapped it back up with a fresh tattered washcloth and went back to work in stead of seeking medical attention. But work was beginning to be a little uncomfortable. See, I do work at Harvard, which does have a relatively low number of employees who bleed on the job. I didn't feel uncomfortable because I was in pain (because I wasn't), but rather because I was concerned what Harvard would think of me if they knew I was bleeding. Maybe I wouldn't get that job I've been interviewing for!? Old Mother Harvard can be rather finicky and she's held lesser things against me in the past. So I gutted it out, still feeling certain that when I checked the bandage again at 5:00 that the bleeding would have stopped. 4:55: The bleeding hadn't stopped. What's worse, I was running out of tape (if I only had brought duct tape!). So I put on my last make shift bandage, finishing off the work day, and decided that I'd better go to the hospital and have this thing looked at. I remember feeling how silly it would be if I died walking home from bleeding to death from a 10 hour old would. But I had plans with Holly to go out for Burritos at Boca Grande and then candle-pin bowling in Somerville. First things first. The ER could wait; my Burrito couldn't. I walked to Porter Square. My hiking boot was now rather squishy. I met Holly at Boca Grande and played a little game called "guess which two off the following three statements is Bullshit:" I said, "Holly one of the following is true: 1) I'm really an CIA Agent, 2) I'm bleeding profusely and need to go to the Hospital immediately, or 3) CTI called me today, apologized, and offered me my job back with a raise" Holly replied: "Congratulations!" I explained that I really WAS bleeding profusely but that it was nothing to worry about and we should eat some Burritos and worry about it later, that perhaps bowling was out tonight. She agreed, and she didn't seem overly concerned. So we ate -- slowly -- and had a good conversation. We eventually left and tried to catch a cab that would take us to Mt. Auburn's cushy, sterile Emergency Room but there were no cabs to be found. So we walked back to Harvard Square and decided that since we were already at Harvard, that maybe it would be best to just take the Bus to Boston City Hospital since I live right across the street from it. That's what we decided to do. My boot was REALLY squishy now, so I got on the bus and I tried to keep my foot elevated thinking that might have some positive effects. The bus was crowded so the best I could do was cross my leg onto my upper thigh. There happened to be a horrible accident on the Mass Ave. Bridge that night which slowed traffic immensely. While we were waiting on the bridge, Holly and I were engaged in some other non-related interesting conversation when she exclaimed," "Holy Shit, Jim!" - - and she pointed to my upper thigh. Apparently, all the elevating the foot did was redirect the flow of blood from the sole of my boot to the top of the boot, and blood was now spilling out from my filled boot onto my nice Khaki pants. I looked up and suddenly noticed a sea of some extremely un-amused faces on the bus. But there were two very nice but notably stupid girls on next to me who dared to speak to the bleeding guy on the MBTA. She said: "You're bleeding." "I know." "What happened?" Feeling like I actually did OWE these people an explanation of why I was bleeding on their bus; I considered telling my entire story. My mind instantly paged forward to the part about going for a Burrito when I still had plenty of time to get to the Hospital before rush hour, and decided to keep things short. I said: "It's long story. " She replied: "You know, it's really bad when you won't stop bleeding." Instead of telling her how stupid a thing that was to say, instead of screaming "Don't you think I know that?!" I suddenly realized that clearly I DIDN'T realize that or else I wouldn't have been bleeding all over the fucking MBTA! So I smirked and glanced at Holly who was in tears of laughter. I told Holly that if I died tonight, would she please have the words, " It's bad when you won't stop bleeding" engraved on my tombstone. She agreed. We made it to the Hospital without other incident; but I was beginning to turn a little green from a combination of embarrassment and the sight of my own blood all over my pants. Then it was time for Triage. After explaining the cut to the nurse, it was time to dress the would properly. Unfortunately, the Triage room is right off the waiting room. If the people waiting for their loved ones so desire, they can watch Triage patients be treated. Therefore, I had an audience. Remember, these people have been in the Boston City Hospital Waiting Room for HOURS watching bad Friday night television, which is analogous to spending a month in a de-sensitivity chamber. They were at their wits end and demanded entertainment. I was it. As the nurse un-raveled my bandage and revealed a bloodier wound than even I had imagined, the crowd in the waiting room began to give commentary. "Ooh Gross!" "Look at that!" "Oh Man!" One older black lady just stamped her feet and laughed and pointed. What could I do? I smiled. Once even, I waved. After three stitch-like devices (but not quite stitches...the new technology is pretty neat), Holly and I went home exhausted to watch TV. But through this day I had forgotten that the Cable had been disconnected the day before because I let the bill slide. So we just sat on the couch for a while... The rest of my weekend was spent drinking lots of fluids and consuming loads of calories, on the advice of my doctor, to help my body make up for the pint of blood or so I lost on Friday. A transfusion was not required. I suppose that there is no moral to this, but maybe just some advice: Try not to die on the MBTA, if it can be avoided. Your fellow passengers will appreciate it.
Jim's latest web site.... ----- End NetScrap(TM) -----
Entered on: 04/26/1998
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