My wife ran up and hugged me and then pulled away and started to pummel my chest with her fists.
I have never been able to figure out the complex emotions of a woman. My own emotions must be much more primative. I can feel joy and anger but not at the same time.
That Saturday had started well and about noon my wife left to take the kids shopping leaving me alone.
I decided it was the right time to make a new door for our crawlspace and since I already had the materials ready I figured it should be a breeze to get it finished before they returned.
The first thing was to take off the old door but the door had different ideas. The screws had been in there since the house was built and had no intention of coming out without a struggle.
By the time I had one hinge off I was sweating badly so I went upstairs and changed into a bathing suit and a pair of flip-flops on my feet.
Had I had a crystal ball I probably would have chosen heavier clothing, a hard hat and steel toed shoes.
Once I had the old door off it was time to make a new one. I set up my saw horses outside on the patio and then went back in to measure, leaving the back door open.
My crystal ball would have told me to close it.
On the way back out the next door neighbour's cat dashed past me and into the crawlspace. I called to it to come out, even making nice kitty, kitty noises but, as usual, I was ignored completely.
Our house was a split level so the crawlspace extended over the whole of the living area and was accessed from the basement which was under the bedrooms. The crawlspace was high enough that we could store lots of boxes. We had lots of things we didn't need and would never use again but couldn't throw away. The floor of the crawlspace was just rough concrete and like all crawlspaces it was not an easy area to get around in but I thought if I could get in and past the cat I could shoo it out of the door.
As soon as I got going I found that I was wearing the wrong clothing because I couldn't put my bare knees down on the rough cement and my flip flops were almost useless for crawling on hands and toes. I persevered however and was almost where I needed to be, just climbing over a couple of small boxes, when I felt a sharp pain and felt my bathing suit rip as I came too close to something sharp projecting from the floor joists above. Undaunted I managed to work my way around behind the cat but making shooing noises and then yelling at the stupid animal had no effect so I felt around for something to make a better noise. The only light was coming through small air vents and I hadn't thought to find a flashlight so I fumbled around with my hands until I came across a small piece of wood. I threw it at a box just beside the cat to scare her but she simply moved back a little.
Now came the brilliant idea that if she was not going to move maybe I could get close enough to pounce on her and carry her out.
Where was that crystal ball when I needed it?
I moved slowly closer and closer until I felt the distance was right and then, making sure that the balls of my feet were securely in my flip flops to prevent the cement tearing pieces out of my toes, I made the leap.
I felt a searing pain on top of my head and woke up, only a second later I'm sure, to find myself lying, almost naked, flat on my face on the rough concrete which felt more like a bed of nails at this point.
In my charge at the cat I had hit the top of my head on the furnace cold air duct which had a very sharp corner. I must have bounced off that and slammed into the floor still moving fast enough that the concrete had done a number on everything it touched. I felt my head and found torn skin and lots of blood.
In retrospect I must have looked pretty funny lying naked in the crawlspace and I wonder what would have happened if I had lost conciousness and someone had found me like that.
Stopping only to find my flip flops I made my way out of the crawlspace, locked the basement door figuring the cat had already left and went upstairs to the bathroom to survey the damage.
I admit I got a bit of a shock when I looked in the mirror. My head, hands and chest were covered in blood and it was still running down my face. I pressed a facecloth on the wound to try to stop the bleeding and then cleaned myself up one handed. I soon realised that, although most of my wounds were superficial, my head would need stitches and I would have to get to the hospital sooner rather than later since the bleeding was showing no signs of stopping.
In the bedroom I put on a tee shirt and took off the torn bathing suit in favour of track suit pants. The tee shirt was white but by the time it had gone over my head it had changed quite a bit. Every time I released the pressure on the wound to use two hands more blood ran down my face.
Since my wife had the car I would have to get a lift from a neighbour but before leaving I thought to scribble a note to let her know where I was just in case she got back first.
When Ed opened the door his cat came to see what damage it had done. One look at me and Ed grabbed his keys and took me to Emergency. On the way I explained that I had hit my head while chasing his cat out of the crawlspace. I didn't elaborate.
My only memory of having stitches in a hospital was when I cut my foot while swimming and that time I simply went in, sat on a chair, had a nurse sew the thing up, and then walked out. Fifteen minutes tops.
That was a different time and a different country.
We arrived at the ER and I was immediately seated in front of a lady who took down all my particulars and asked how the injury had happened. I said I hit it on a heating duct figuring any more information would be superfluous.
To the question Did you lose consciousness?
I answered No
I am a very honest person and have trouble telling lies but I had prepared my self for this one. I had only been out for a second and I was not about to spend the night here.
Following that interview I sat in the waiting room with Ed who said he'd stay until I was through. I guess he felt guilty because his cat had caused all this.
When waiting in a waiting room minutes seem like hours. Several of these hours later my name was called and I went in for my stitches.
I was put on a bed and told someone would be with me soon.
When someone did come an argument followed about changing into a hospital gown for a simple head wound but that is another story.
Finally when I had succumbed to the wishes of the nurse I was taken down to the suture room in a hospital gown where I had to sit on a stainless steel table very cold. She washed the wound and did a little hair shaving and the doctor came in and put in twelve stitches.
Just a few minutes if we could have skipped the clothes stealing preamble and the long waits.
When we finally got home we had been away long enough that my family was back.
My wife ran up and hugged me and then pulled away and started to pummel my chest with her fists. She seemed very upset so I assured her that everything was alright but she pointed out what she found when she got home.
She found the bloodstained note which read Had to go to emergency with Ed. Be back soon
Not knowing if it was me or Ed who needed attention she headed to the bathroom where, in her words, it looked like a massacre had happened. There was blood on the mirror, sink, and floor and it tracked into the bedroom finishing with a bloody torn bathing suit.
I could see how she might be upset but the reason for the pummeling still eluded me.