Last week I hosted a “Going Under the Knife” party for some sharp people I know. It was held in honor of my sister, Jackie, who was set to have surgery on her foot the next day. The guest list included her husband and mine and Mother, of course.
It was a causal affair with an easy-peasy menu and wine to boost the courage of the afflicted. We had to have flowers, so I gathered what was left in the yard — purple-spiked perennials, the sole survivors of the 100-plus temps.
Our family arrived, wine was poured, and I started “acting the goat,” as Dad used to say. I handed Jackie the flower arrangement so she could see how I’d personalized it, two butcher knife blades protruded above the flowers.
When Jackie picked up the arrangement for a photo, one of the knives fell on the floor, narrowly missing my right foot. That brought more peals of laughter and the usual warning from Spark — about how careless I am with knives and when “Are you going to learn not to be in the kitchen cooking without shoes on.”
“Pooh, pooh, on you,” I thought, but didn’t say. Instead I accused him of being a worrywart. The evening proceeded without any more cutting remarks. The next morning Jackie was off to surgery, and Spark was on a flight to Chicago on business.
That left me at home drying wineglasses and watching the “Today” show. Distracted, I knocked one over. When I looked down, glass was scattered on the floor, and a thin trail of blood was inching its way across my right foot.
“Get off the rug, you ninny, you’re bleeding,” I thought, stepping onto the wood floor. That’s when I saw a 2-inch shard of glass sticking in a vein at the top of my foot. I pulled it out and the puncture pumped like a faucet. Grabbing a dishtowel, I stood applying pressure to the cut, feeling panicky.
Who could I call? My sister was under the knife, Spark was airborne, I didn’t want to worry Mother, and my neighbors weren’t home. I hoped my buddy Dawn might still be in town after dropping her daughter off at school.
Where are you?” I asked when she picked up her cellphone. “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you,” she said. I found out later Dawn was driving through a construction zone and one of the arms that stop traffic came down on her new car.
“I’m across the river,” was all she said. “I’ll call The Missourian — they’ll send someone over.”
Amy, from bookkeeping arrived minutes later, walking into what Dawn later said looked like “a crime scene.” It’s awful to have someone see you in such a sticky, icky mess. But Amy was my knight-ess in shining armor. She delivered me to Mercy Urgent Care. By the time we got there, the bleeding had stopped. I didn’t need stitches.
Amy went back to work, and Dawn drove me back to the house and helped me swab the decks. We are now blood sisters.
After Dawn left, I hurried out the door for a lunch meeting, and then an errand, before returning to Mercy for another appointment, upstairs from Urgent Care. When the doc came into the examining room, he looked at my face before glancing down. We were both in for a shock.
The bandage around my foot was soaked, and my life force was dripping through my shoe and onto the floor. It was back to Urgent Care, after a comment from one of the nurses, “I guess we’ll see this in a column.”
Another nurse, who went to school with my daughter, gave me a wheelchair ride downstairs, and the same kind doc who I’d seen before stitched me up, telling me that my vein was just being pesky, and I should go home and stay off my feet.
That was no problem. I had a good book. The next day, I limped over to see my sister to bid her right foot well wishes. I left the flower arrangement at home.
I’d like to say I learned my lesson, that I won’t cook without shoes, but I’m sure I will. I might, however, rethink humor at the expense of others. Well, maybe not.