Did your mother ever tell you to wear clean underwear?
You never know what's going to happen.
Well I would offer this same advice to my mother, but concerning breast-related lingerie.
In the South, if it gets cold enough that it might snow, if three flurries fall from the sky and land near concrete - then the city will shut down. This year, it shut down for a record breaking two days. Having lived in the South most of my life, I have never once missed two consecutive days of school due to inclement weather, but this year it happened. The miracle every Southern kid wishes for all holiday long. Snow. Sort of. It was more like sleet. More like a complete and total white mess. And more like claustrophobic cabin fever to me. Upon hearing about the second day I was in agony. Mental anguish. I'm the type of person who has to be doing something at all times. The type of person who works six and a half hours a day, obtains a Master's degree, plans lesson, and takes a starring role in a community theatre play. So the idea of staying at home for two days in a row was pure, sadistic torture. The first day was alright. I looked at my lines. I read a little of a book (a kid's book that I'm absolutely sloshing through), I did some of my school work, I finished a sweater that was way too small for me, ranted and raved about the sweater, then ended the day with some hardcore zombie massacre- until I managed to steer my avatar out of a second story window and kill her. Then I went to bed dreading the next "snow" day.
Well I woke up and tried to improve my attitude. I had time to do all my school work, work on some lines. Maybe if I took a shower today when I got up instead of languishing around in my pajamas I would feel a little better. Hopefully I would have play rehearsal that night to look forward to. So I bunkered down in front of my Macbook, plugged in my headphones and zoned into iTunes. I finished a week's worth of College reading complete with diligent highlighting and research or Hindi. I wrote a very impassioned post for my discussion board and I was ready to start hitting my script when I heard my mom announce to her own mother that she had cut herself with a rotary cutter. For those of you who don't know what that is, imagine a pizza cutter combined with a switch blade knife. It's a wheel shaped razor that slices fabric like wet napkins.
I called to my mom and asked if she was ok. I was imagining a small cut and the shock of seeing blood and realizing that she did indeed cut herself. I thought a band aid would suffice. She called back that she didn't think so and that's when I knew there was a problem. She said she thought we would have to go to the Emergency Room so I readied myself and the house. I turned Millionaire Matchmaker off of the TV and I put on my coat and boots and rushed about gathering hers. I put our Basset Hound in his Kennel only to hear the barking of our Shih-tzu outside. I ran to the door to get him in and the cat snuck in unbeknownst to me. I gathered up my script and high lighter imagining a packed emergency room filled with people crowding in for heat and complaining of headaches, sniffles, or other psychosomatic symptoms. I found out the cat was in when he gave his mournful meow. I went about ushering him out of the house then rushed to get my keys.
"Wait", my mom said. "I can't go dressed like this."
She was wearing a decent looking pajama shirt and sweats.
"Yes you can, come on."
I did more rushing around and preparing including running out to the sewing room to see if there were any pools of blood to clean up. There were none. The house would be safe from vampires... tonight.
"Come here and look at it"
This was the moment I was dreading. I didn't want to look at it. This was the reason I chose to be a teacher and not a nurse. I didn't want to look at people's wounds, I wanted to usher them off to the nurse or tell them to put a band-aid on it and walk it off. She removed the napkin that had acted as gauze the whole time and there was a lot of blood (of course) and something that looked like a piece of nail in her skin. I told her it looked like it would get infected and nail fragments may need to be removed from the wound.
Then she called my dad. He said to put a band aid on it. I went to put the band aid on and it became apparent that blood would immediately soak through the bandage. That wasn't going to work. I realized that she'd need ID and insurance, so I ran out to get it and maybe warm up the car and move it to a better place for my mom to get in. I would also have to turn off the radio because I don't think my mom would like the Darjeeling Limited soundtrack. As I was doing this, my mom called from the door that she thought it had stopped bleeding. She took the napkin off again and we saw that what was first thought to be a piece of nail was a good sized chunk of skin. Then the bleeding started again. I told her to let me wash it, she vigorously refused. I told her to at least let me put Neosporin on the band aid this offer was turned down as well. The panacea she did use? "Let me call my mom". I told her I knew what she was going to say. She was going to say go to the Hospital. Indeed after a few short minutes, the consensus was that my mom needed to go to the hospital, something I'd been trying to tell her for twenty minutes.
Then the truth came out, the real reason she didn't want to go to the hospital. The real reason she wouldn't wear pajama pants and sweats to an emergency room visit. "I have to put a bra on". I rifled through a basket of freshly folded clothes until I found one and rushed into the bathroom to help her. Modestly prevailed. She insisted she put it on without help as much as she could. She did this, covered herself, then asked me to help fasten it. She wanted to change her pants, but this time I refused. She insisted on changing out of her wooly socks and into some sports socks and needed help putting her shoes on. I handed her her coat and finally she was ready to go. Keep in mind that all this time she has been swaddling a profusely bleeding finger with a napkin. And preparing to go to the emergency room was an ordeal that lasted as long as a Real Housewives episode.
Finally we were out the door and in the car. My mom gave me lots of tips on how to drive, which road to take, and how to obey simple traffic laws. I was nervous because, well I was driving my mom to the hospital (well we decided last minute to go to the Medstop because although it would be filled with people who were legitimately sick, it would also not be filled with families who came for the free heat) I was even more nervous though, because I was driving my mother. My mom is the most nervous car-rider known to man. She freaks out if other cars get to close, if you stop too hard, or turn too quickly. She freaks out if you're going too fast or too slow and if you're following too closely or lagging too far behind the car in front of you. And she was sure to give me lots of instructions on proper driving. So finally we were at the Medstop and upon showing her mutilated finger to the nurse, my mom was escorted immediately to the back to await a doctor. The nurse rinsed it with water (which gave me some satisfaction because it was my suggestion back home) and I watched as the doctor sterilized and stitched (just one stitch) her hand.
All in all it turned out alright. Mom got to the doctor and got the medical attention she needed. But if she would have just worn a bra in the first place, we could have been there and back home a lot sooner. Also, if you spend your afternoon looking at a gaping wound, chili may not be the best choice for dinner. The color is a little too close to blood and the bursting kidney beans look a little bit like tiny fingers if you really think about it.