Thursday, September 14, 2006

Weekend Warrior

We're replacing part of the fence in our backyard. Phil and our next-door neighbor, Jerry, have been working together on this for a week or so. Last Friday, Jerry spent all day digging post holes. His wife wasn't too thrilled to have him using so much of his honey-do time, but so be it. Jerry was anxious to have it all done so Phil could set the posts on Saturday.

Saturday came and Phil started setting posts. He had two posts in, trying to get them exactly level and straight. The man is a perfectionist, so, in order to achieve fence post nirvana, Phil clamped his level to a third post and placed it horizontally across the tops of the other two posts. So far, so good. But one of the posts wasn't quite right, and Phil decided to bang it just a bit with his fist. Bad idea.

The horizontal post came crashing down on Phil's head. It hit hard enough that he nearly passed out. Instead, he lay down on the grass for a few minutes. The neighbor kids, who were playing right there at the time, saw the whole thing. The following conversation ensued:

Kids: "Are you okay?"

Phil: "Yes, I'm fine."

Kids: "Is it okay that I just told my mom what you did?"

Phil: "Uh, sure." (sits up at that point)

Kids: "Are you sure you're okay?"

Phil: "Yeah."

Kids: "So...why is there blood going down your neck?"

Phil: "Blood? What blood?" (reaches his hand to the back of his neck) "Oh."

Phil came over to our other neighbor's house to find me. He asked if I could come help him with something, so I followed him back home. Then I noticed the blood.

Me: "Why is there blood on your neck? What did you do?"

Phil: "A post fell on my head."

Me: "Do you need me to check it before I help you?"

Phil: "Uh, yeah. That's what I need your help with."

We went inside, he removed his baseball hat, and the blood started dripping. I grabbed some rags to clean up what I could so I could inspect the wound. The cut was at least an inch long and a quarter inch deep. I told him this, too.

Me: "I think you need stitches, dear."

Phil: "Are you sure?"

Me: "Yes."

He didn't believe me.

Instead, he put another rag under his hat so he could go outside and finish setting the fence posts. Not only that, he cleaned up his tools and ate some lunch. At that point, I figured he'd be ready to go get it checked and stitched up.


He called the InstaCare to see if he really needed stitches. They asked if the wound was gaping. In the background, I nodded furiously. He told them he didn't know for sure, since he couldn't see it himself. (Oh, brother.) He was more worried about wasting his post-setting time waiting in the lobby only to have someone tell him he didn't need stitches, but I finally got him to agree to at least have it checked.

Before heading out, Phil asked me to call my nurse friend to have her check it. Melody kindly came over with her rubber gloves and took a look. Her conclusion was the same: "You need stitches, Phil."

We got ready to go. Phil took time to wash his hair--because heaven forbid a doctor should see a guy with a head wound and dirty hair. Then he decided he was going by himself. He didn't want me to waste my time driving out there and sitting and waiting for him. (sigh) Fine.

He returned some time later sporting this:

Count 'em, folks. There are s-e-v-e-n staples. Yes, staples. Apparently, they don't do stitches in hair anymore because they don't work as well.

The doctor told him, "Yes, you definitely need stitches. It's nearly an inch and a quarter long and a quarter of an inch deep."

Wait. Isn't that what Melody told him?

Hold the phone...isn't that what I told him?

Monday, Jerry came home from work with a gift for Phil. It was even personalized.

Thanks, Jerry. It's perfect!


Lyle said...

Staples! Ooochieee mamma! Sorry Phil. Getting stitches is one thing, having lttle pieces of metal poked through your head's gotta smart.

Show me a guy who hasn't tried to avoid getting stitches when they are bleeding profusely and I'll show you my pictures of the loch ness monster chasing big foot

~j. said...

How thoughtful of Jerry!

Melody said...

More of the story: "Sure, Julie. I'm just leaving to go to lunch and I'll swing by on my way and take a look at Phil."

After donning latex gloves (maybe Phil was an IV drug abuser in his younger days - I'm not taking any chances) I gently separate the edges of the wound. I'm thinking I should be seeing his skull about now. But I don't say that aloud. I say, "Well, it's definitely gaping and I'm not entirely certain how thick the scalp is, but this looks pretty deep. And it's a little over an inch long."

"Yeah, you should have a doctor look at it. They can clean it up the way it needs to be cleaned." I'm thinking: if any brain tissue spills out, they'll know what to do about it. I don't say that aloud either. "Sorry, but you need stitches, Phil."

And I agree with Lyle. In my professional experience, most men (at least initially) have to think for a minute about which is worse: a slow, painful and bloody death or a visit to a healthcare provider.

Congratulations, Phil. You're a brave, brave man. And congratulations Julie, you were right.

becks said...

i don't know how i would feel about going to the doctor expecting stitches and then seeing the doctor pulling out the stapler!!! thats gotta be a weird feeling! i should probably get used to it though since i will be a CMA (certified medical assistant) in not too long.

Suzie Petunia said...

Please tell me he was not conscious for the stapling of the skull. That FREAKS me out. Big time.

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

He was probably conscious but well-numbed. Ouch. Staples aren't fun.

You know he was just being brave for you, Melody, and the neighborhood kids. I must say, that's about the most impressive show of "bravery" I've ever heard of. ;)

Lianne said...

You know, I would have been the same way. I'm quick to get others to the doctor when needed, but I'll muddle through. Excellent photography, by the way.

Lesleigh said...

OK, I have to say it wasn't as bad a picture as I thought it would be! But still, it had to hurt.

I can't believe he would go back out and finish with a towel under his hat to catch the blood! What a guy! They will literally do anything to not have to go to the doctor.

Just think of all the time he would have saved if he'd just gone in the beginng...when you told him he needed to go. :-)

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Julie, you and I are the GROSS OUT TWINS!

That wound looks frighteningly Frankensteinish to me. Wow! My son cut his head around the right temple when he was 5. He received 4 staples and the ER nurse stood all amazed that he didn't squirm or cry. He took it like a man, just like Phil. 4 years later, his hair will not grow on that patch. It's a permanent line etched into his head. Now, Phil and my son just have to wait for the razored in hair fades ala Vanilla Ice to be cool again, hopefully this time without the genie pants.

chronicler said...

Hah! What a great story. Husbands never believe you. They would call in a bum looking through your trash to get a second before believeing the one who committed to staying with them forever! (of course I'm being cynical) I had to laugh, funniest thing I've read all day.

Elizabeth-W said...

I just love those staples! I take a sick, perverse pleasure in men enduring any sort of medical procedure which involves gaping wounds. In the cosmic scheme, it seems we women see waayy more than our fair share of blood and gore. :) I'm not sure how this benefits us in any eternal way.
I should say I am truly glad he's okay, and that it was only a flesh wound. In my defense, I would not take any pleasure in his losing "brain tissue" (to quote Melody). ;)

s'mee said...

Thor and my three sons favorite reply to "You need to go to the hospital, that looks *really* bad..." --->"Chicks dig scars." Which interpreted means, "I am not going to the ER until I am unconcious, or better yet dead, thanks anyway. sheesh! girls!"

Skewedview said...

Great post. Manly-man stuff.
Certainly sounds like one of those "Did anyone see that?" moments. You know, the instances where the victim hopes there weren’t any witnesses and you, the spectators, aren't sure if you're supposed to rush right in and help or laugh your head off.

I once worked on a printing press next to another press and the operator who was having difficulty keeping the rubber printing dies affixed to the metal cylinder. After repeated stops to tap the rubber dies back into place, he leaned back a walloped the cylinder with the mallet. Yep, you guessed it. Bounced right off and cold-cocked him in the center of his forehead. After a brief moment of uncontrolled, riotous laughter, we went to his aide. Biggest goose egg I've ever seen.

NiHao said...

Perhaps this entire ordeal was caused by an iron maybe if the staples would rust the problem would be solved.

compulsive writer said...

I love head staples. It's so Mary Shelley.