Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chin Grin

After Terry had cleaned it up and spread a reddish brown, homemade anti-bacterial solution with cayenne and other Native American wound treatments.

My latest tangle with the dishwasher door split my chin like an overripe plum, bruised my jaw and snapped my neck back with a crackle-pop that had me thinking for an endless second that I'd be looking to Christopher Reeves' last years for inspiration and motivation.

Once again sleep deprivation, ADD and visual impairment joined forces in an attempt to knock some sense into me.  When am I going to learn:

  • to always push in the rack and shut the dishwasher door if I'm going to turn away for anything other than to reach into the sink for another item
  • to always turn in place and get visual bearings before attempting to move in the new direction
  • to not be thinking ahead or about anything other than the task at hand when it involves the dishwasher door, knives, or anything hot--stove, oven, dishes, pans
  • to move with slow deliberateness always


I'd just served Mom's lunch tray and had gotten a deep pan out of the dishwasher that I needed to put the artichoke to soak that I was going to fix for dinner.  It had wilted a bit and I hoped soaking it would revive it.

I put the pan in the sink, the artichoke in the pan and ran the pan full of water.  Having forgot to shut the dishwasher door immediately, I had now forgotten it was open so when I turned right to head to my desk to grab my Nexus so I could read to Mom while she ate there it was and it was too late to stop my motion.

I was in mid step with my left foot off the floor as I twisted right on the right foot when my right knee encountered the bottom rack and...well, I now have a concrete and visceral understanding of the cliche, 'getting the pins knocked out from under me'.

I was in the air like a bowling pin hit low and barely touched the dishwasher rack or door before landing chin first on the other side.  In my head it sounded like a bowling ball hitting the floor.

I now have a concrete visceral knowledge of what it means to take a punch in the jaw.  This should come in handy when writing the scenes in my stories involving fist fights, bullies, domestic violence and such.

As I verified I could wiggle my fingers and toes, I was hearing Mom calling from her chair, "What happened?  Are you all right?"  But her voice was faded and far and I wondered if it was just my pulse pounding in my ear or was I browning out.

I couldn't see any better than I could hear as my hair was in my eyes and my hand was trapped under my ribs so I couldn't brush it away.

I tried to kick the floor to get the attention of my nephew downstairs but my legs were trapped under the dishwasher door.

All I wanted was to sleep but I knew Mom would try to come see if I didn't answer her.  So I pushed the floor with my free left hand and managed to flip over onto my back which allowed me to suck in a lungful of air and the pulse pounding in my ear went silent and Mom's voice and the traffic noise, the air pump and the fridge motor were all clamoring for attention.

I finally managed to say loud enough for Mom to hear, "I'm OK.  I can move.  Don't try to come in here."

Then I tried to call my nephew again but there was no way I could project my voice to be heard down in the basement.

It was about then that I noticed a tickle on my neck and jawline and crawling into my ear.  I reached up and touched it and found it wet and hot.  So I touched my chin and my finger sank into mush triggering a vivid vision of the split in the plum I'd trimmed and shared with Mom for lunch.

Was that nausea? If so I better not be laying flat on my back.

Breathe.

I struggled to turn over again, pulling my knees up to my belly to free my legs first and then onto my hands and knees.  That's when I saw the puddle of blood bigger than my head where Id been face down at first and a new baby puddle forming as drops rained down from my chin.

Breathe.

Two feet away beside the back door was Mom's white visor that I'd been wearing to cut the glare from the window as I worked at my computer that morning.  It was spattered with tiny red dots.  Does that mean my chin actually squirted when it first split?

Breathe.

Now it was imperative I get my nephews attention as I could not move from this spot until I had something to staunch the blood flow.  I tried pounding the floor with the padded bone above my wrist but that hurt.  I tried the other and so did it.  Later I discovered they were both bruised already.

I think they encountered the edge of the dishwasher rack.  Which might explain why I nearly cleared the dishwasher before landing chin first like a diver.  My hands might have added to the momentum with a little push off if they came down mostly on the far edge of the rack.

Now Mom was trying to call Levi too but she can barely project her voice to be heard across the room.  She would have done better by pounding the floor with her cane.  But with her tray on her lap she couldn't reach it.

Adding to the challenge of getting Levi's attention was the factor of his room being at the far end of the house from Mom.  I was at the midpoint.  I was right across the hall from the stairwell and the laundry room was under me.  Ah the laundry shoot was right above my head and a foot to my right as I faced the pantry cupboard.

I reached up and grabbed the edge of the open shoot and lifted myself up to a crouch until I could knock loose the stick propping its door open.  The stick fell down the chute and I started banging that lid down again and again until I heard Levi's feet on the stairs.

I sank back to the floor sitting with my back to the chute.  Now blood was soaking my collar and running down my front inside my shirt.

Breath.

Levi got me a wad of paper towel to hold against my chin, closed the dishwasher door, cleaned up the blood on the floor and pantry doors, dropped the visor down the laundry chute, and called my cousin's husband to ask if he could take me to the ER.  Later that evening he made and served Mom and I scrambled eggs.

I spent the time waiting on Terry gathering stuff I needed--purse, ID, medical card, cell phone, Nexus, charger.  Then dropping a quick message into chat for Ed to find when he got off work--that I'd had a bad fall, split my chin and Terry was on his way over to take me to ER.

But when Terry arrived he brought a first aid kit and offered me the option of his tending to it with butterfly bands.  I jumped at that offer because I'd rather risk a scar than spend hours in an environment that has nearly every one of my panic/anxiety triggers--noise, crowds, flickering lights and shadow, social engagement.  Call it sensory overload.

Besides a scar might help me remember:
  • to always push in the rack and shut the dishwasher door if I'm going to turn away for anything other than to reach into the sink for another item
  • to always turn in place and get visual bearings before attempting to move in the new direction
  • to not be thinking ahead or about anything other than the task at hand when it involves the dishwasher door, knives, or anything hot--stove, oven, dishes, pans
  • to move with slow deliberateness always
[This is one of the posts going up retroactively after the weeks long unintended hiatus that began the week after July 4th.  See She's Back for more detailed explanation.]

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