Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Stupidity and the Consequential ER Visit: Part One

Last night, I found myself hooked up to an IV drip, lying under bright lights while a surgeon took a scalpel to my upper thigh and waist.
A neighboring Bahá'í family is on their way to pilgrimage today, so we had them over for a bon voyage dinner. As the veggie kabobs, ribs, fresh rolls, hummus and salad disappeared from everyone's plates, I offered to make some tea. Yes, please!
I set the "I <3 <3 Jesus" pot to boil and went about socializing. When all was ready, I prepared the cups, tea bags and a side plate of fudge (of course!). I poured the first cup of tea straight from the pot, as I usually do and it spilled a bit out of the cup. This isn't going to work, I thought. I looked for my large glass measuring cup as all other pitcher-type containers in this household are plastic. I bumped the pot and boiling water spilled a bit on my jeans, bare toes and the floor. Geez. I went to get a towel for the floor (we've found that wet floors around here inevitably lead to a slip and a fall). I cleaned up the floor, stood up and knocked the pot just enough. Yup. That whole pot of boiling water poured on my waist and down my legs. My jeans were cooking my skin. Who thought a cute pair of jeans could be so dangerous?
MarvelousMartine, having witnessed the whole charade began commanding StupifiedMe, "Take your pants off! Take them off!"
I do as I'm told. I wandered, half-naked, outside to the laundry line to look for dry clothes when I realized that my skin was bubbling and melting. Shaking, I went to our outdoor sink and began splashing cool water on myself. When Josh arrived on the scene, I asked him to connect the hose. We have one of those lovely hose nozzles with all different options: mist, soaker, shower, etc. I sprayed myself continually, waiting for my brain to snap back to reality and some kind of clear, conscious thought. Josh cut some aloe, which grows in wonderful abundance in the back yard and attempted rubbing it on my legs. "No," was all I could summon at first. Then, "I just want to keep spraying water. I can't stop. Can you get our friends their tea, please?"

My first clear thought was this: My God, what happens to people in this situation who don't have running water? I asked Josh this aloud, tears suddenly streaming down my face. From the pain? From the realization of all the suffering in the world? I don't know.
My second clear thought: My underwear need to come off. But if I slide them off, my skin might go with them. "Josh, get scissors." That dear man was clearly confused by my request, but went nonetheless. As I write this, I realize the pieces of my undergarments may still be on the back patio.

During my half-nude escapade on the back patio, everyone in the household was trying to help. One went to the pharmacy down the street. Closed. Someone else filled a cool bath. Another looked up what to do if you pour a large pot of boiling water on yourself. Very helpful information at the time. Yet another called a doctor. That darling woman, who helped Max when he was quite ill, told us: Go to the hospital.

Still not thinking entirely clearly, I put Josh in a very tough spot.
"I don't want to go," I looked right in his eyes.
"Rebecca, as soon as Dr. Holly heard there were blisters, she said you must go to the hospital." That's Josh trying to convince me.
"Please don't make me go." I shook my head and tears sprang up in my eyes. That's me trying to convince Josh. "I don't want to stop spraying water on myself."
Max had been standing behind us, unnoticed until he started to whimper. That was not the kind of conversation my little boy wanted to hear. Josh lovingly escorted him back inside to calm him, leaving me alone, yet again, naked in the back yard with the hose. I keep waiting for the rumors to reach our ears:  
The white lady next door? 
She came here to escape forced institutionalization in the States. 
Oh! I heard she was a witch.
In my reflective, solitary moment, naked in the moonlight, I realized that I was being a weeny about this whole thing. Get to the hospital, Rebecca. You'll be fine. Albeit still scared of the inevitable pain when that cool water ceased, I agreed and we set about discussing the logistics of a nude gringa on public transportation.

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