“Apparantly I do”, she answered as she typed her blog post with one hand, the other heavily wrapped in many layers of gauze. This was of course not at all the way she had expected the long awaited holiday reunion in London with her daughter to play out. It had started out wonderfully…a luxurious lie in..then surprise presents for her Spawn followed by a delicious homemade Carlton version of the English fry up. The rest of the days plans included a trip to the local pub for a pint or two, watching the Doctor Who Christmas special, then off to a friends for holiday drinks before ending the day with the 8:30 showing of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. A damn fine day in anyones book…that went spectacularly tits up 10 minutes before “The Doctor” appeared on the screen. Irony?
They had had grand time at the pub! She had taken Hannah to “The Clock House”, where the bookclub she had joined met once a month, and her daughter was charmed (as she knew she would be) by the “secret” door in the bookcase upstairs that led to a small cozy room perfect for a meeting of bibliophiles. Downstairs they joined in the general merriment…she had a glass of mulled wine followed by a gin and tonic, and her beloved Spawn had a pint of local brew and then her own mulled wine as she had tasted her mums and liked it very much. The pub was warm and cozy, the patrons friendly and even the whinging of the bar staff for having to work on Christmas Day was tempered by the general air of festivity. There had been a moment when she had looked at her daughter, leaned forward to plant a kiss on her cheek, and sighed with absolute contentment. The Universe saw, smiled, and promptly positioned itself to drop a giant steaming deuce into the middle of the Carlton Christmas.
Yes. I stabbed myself in the hand on Christmas day while slicing an avocado. Note I said “stabbed”, not “sliced”. I was trying to remove the stone, and when it wouldn’t come out the safe way, in my brilliance I decided to stab the stone and wiggle it out. The knife slid over the top of the pit and into my hand between the index and middle finger. I have no idea what I said when it happened, you would have to ask Hannah. All I remember is feeling a sharp pain and noticing that that I could see the inside of my hand. And then it got messy.
Luckily I am not squeamish and immediately recalled my first aid training. I ran to the sink….rinsed the wound…screamed in agony (why does water hurt SO MUCH?)…then raised my hand above my head and put pressure on the wound. Naturally by this point Hannah had run into the kitchen to see WTF. She saw WTF, and asked what the number was for 911. I said 999…which we discovered is not dial-able from an American mobile. (at least we couldn’t figure it out) I remembered that there was a ‘house phone’, so she used that and got them on the line. After a brief rundown of the situation, they suggested that since I was conscious and had controlled the bleeding…I was probably fine to get to the hospital without needing an ambulance. Honestly, by that point I felt we had the situation under control…and not only did we not need an ambulance… I thought we could wait till Doctor Who was over before getting an Uber. (As it was Christmas Day, there was no public transportation option.) Luckily my daughter realized that that was an extraordinarily stupid idea and immediately booked us an Uber to Kings College Hospital. I have no memory of the ride.
We arrived at A&E (Accident and Emergency…not the American cable channel), and approached the only person we saw who looked like an employee…a man sitting behind a desk marked ‘reception’. After filling him in on the situation and giving him my name and address (for these purposes, I use my daughters home address) , he told us to take a seat and someone would be with us. We took seats in the waiting room, and in about 5 minutes a young woman who was wearing scrubs escorted us to the ‘triage’ area and wrapped my hand in gauze. The wound was no longer bleeding by this point, (I had kept my hand raised the entire time )and she informed us of an approximate one to two hour wait before being taken back. No different really than the average wait in an E.R in the states for a non-life threatening situation. So we settled back in our seats in the waiting room. By this point we were both relatively calm, and began to find humor in the situation. For about 40 minutes we were almost festive…until I had to use the ladies. I managed to get my trousers down easily enough using only one hand, but pulling them back up proved a challenge. I must mention that the zipper was broken on this particular pair of jeans, so I had sewn them shut. With a bit of wiggle I could get them on and off no problem. Using two hands that is…
This next bit is graphic-please skip to the paragraph titled “safe” if you are sensitive.
I had gotten them almost all the way up…but they were stuck a bit around my ample hips…and without thinking I instinctively lowered my injured arm to assist. Immediately blood began pouring from the wound. I assure you I am not exaggerating by using the word ‘pouring’. Within seconds there was a puddle on the floor. I raised my arm back up, but it didn’t stop. I grabbed hold of my trousers, wiggled and jived until I deemed myself decent enough, and exited the restroom. I walked toward Hannah with my arm raised and she said many, many swear words, as by this time the gauze was soaked and blood was beginning to run down my arm. I approached the triage nurse…showed her my bloody hand, and informed her that the restroom was in need of a bit of cleaning. I shit you not…her reply was ” Oh, yes? Right then…We’ll get someone on that”…and she strolled away…not the least bit concerned about the woman hemorrhaging in front of her. Fine then…I did what anyone would do in this situation…I sat back down in my seat in the waiting room. Of course, by now I was the center of attention…if not to the staff at least to the others in the waiting room. For some reason this embarrassed me…and I found myself apologizing…APOLOGIZING!!…for so rudely bleeding everywhere. And I was…bleeding everywhere. Hannah ran off to try to get someone to help, but meanwhile a woman who had been waiting with her husband/partner decided to take action. She acquired a roll of toilet paper from somewhere and began to wrap it around my hand. (I must mention…both Hannah and I got the impression that this woman had seen some shit. I mean hardcore shit…like a warzone or something like it. She had an unidentifiable foreign accent, and a tough as nails no-nonsense demeanor. She was awesome.) Unfortunately by this time, the bandages were soaked through and the toilet tissue was useless…so she just used it to wipe up the blood that was running in rivulets down my arm. It is so funny what the brain focuses on when it goes into shock…my main concern at this point was in not getting blood on my sweater, or green leather thrift store coat. I was also continually apologizing for the mess and all the drama. I do remember hearing the announcement over the intercom “We need clean-up in the A&E toilets.” Hannah returned with the triage nurse, and she took my by the arm and began to lead me off…with me tossing back one final ‘I’m so sorry!’ over my shoulder. (I’m becoming a little bit too English, methinks)
I was led through the automatic double doors into the promised land.
YOU ARE NOW SAFE. For about 20 seconds, because if you scroll down I’ve added a few gruesome pictures. But don’t worry, you won’t see them accidentally…I’ve put some pics of our holiday adventures ‘pre-stabbing’ before you get to the gruesome ones…so you have to intentionally scroll way down to get to them, you pansy.
And here ends part 1 of the continuing drama- “A Silly Christmas Stabbing..my adventures with the NHS.” This will be a three part series. I apologize, but I’m typing with one hand because I had (spoiler alert!) surgery yesterday, and my bad hand is starting to be a bit throbby. This has literally taken me all day to type. Don’t worry though, it will be only a day or two at most between posts. (I’m very well aware of the fact that I owe you the rest of Florence…but get off my back! Man, you are such a nag. ) Hannah is in Scotland (I made her go on our planned excursion on the 27th so at least one of us could make use of our non- refundable train tickets) and will be back to London tomorrow. I’m in a nice hostel by Elephant and Castle.
I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, frivolity and yummy things to eat!!! I still have one mince pie left, so I am going to take my fussy little butt up to my bed here at the hostel and savour my last remaining pie. No sharesies…
The photo above was taken 5 minutes before the stabbing. Sigh…
Ok, now it gets gross…