Broken Crown

After nearly 31 years of marriage, I should have known by the sound of his voice. But I had just laid down to take a nap, the quilt snuggled over my head.

“Kris,” I heard him call weakly to me.

I looked up as he stumbled into the bedroom, his hand on his head.

“I fell down outside and hit my head,” he announced. “I’m pretty sure I’m bleeding.”

He was. My nap was over and I became Nurse Kris. Nurse Kris is a very bad nurse. She doesn’t like the sight of blood. She sucks in air through her teeth quite a bit. She’s not a bit like Nurse Cherry Ames in the mystery novels I grew up reading. To be fair, I always liked that Cherry (so-called because of her naturally cherry-red lips) solved mysteries, but I didn’t envy the nursing part. Nurse Kris just kept saying over and over, “You’re bleeding. You’re bleeding.”

As you might imagine, that wasn’t a big help.

Actually, once we got a wet rag on his head and stopped the bleeding, both he and I were pretty sure he wasn’t seriously injured. He could tell I held up three fingers. He could remember that it was Sunday. But since I couldn’t tell how deep the cut was, and we were both concerned about brain bleeds and concussions, we decided a trip to the ER was in order.

I have been to the ER on many occasions, but this was the first time that I was in the ER as the Other Person. Even the one time that an injury required Court to go to the ER, he was with his dad. I will tell you that I’m a pretty good ER patient. Perhaps because I go for bowel obstructions, I am almost immediately given pain killer in my IV. I am, however, not a good Other Person. It takes an abundance of patience, and I have enough patience to wait for a red light to change green, and that’s about it.

A full five hours and one CT scan later, we finally learned that he had no bleeding in the brain. That’s was a relief to me because had the CT scan shown bleeding, he would already be dead because it took that long to get the scan. To be fair, I’m pretty sure medical folks could tell that they only needed to do the scan so that they didn’t get sued or they might have lit a fire under themselves a bit.

During the five hours we spent there, we were neighbors to a man with respiratory issues who was eventually told he tested positive for COVID. You should have seen how quickly the mask came out of my purse. Down the row a bit, there was a man who began vomiting. I admit to having a vomiting phobia, but even Bill had his hands over his ears. I am not exaggerating when I say that the man vomited for 20 to 25 minutes without stopping. Bless his heart. And his gut.

As we continued to wait, and after the vomiting had stopped, we began discussing where we would go to dinner. After all, my grandmother always said, “No matter what, you always need a little something to eat.”

Our results were good, we were finally released, and we had Italian food and a bottle of wine.

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