I’m typing this with only one completely functioning hand, so it’s slower going than usual. You see, I got myself into a bit of a sticky situation a few nights ago and ended up in the emergency room. Alone.
The friends I’m staying with left for their first real vacation (well…mini vacation) in years. One where they don’t have To-Dos and obligations, but could simply relax. Except it didn’t start quite the way any of us intended.
They left me home to house sit and dog sit, but after they had been gone less than half a day, there was an incident. I’m still not entirely sure what happened, because it all happened so fast, but suddenly two of the male dogs began fighting. And boys being boys (or more accurately alpha dogs and aspiring alpha dogs being alpha dogs and aspiring alpha dogs), neither would quit. It was pure chaos.
Thankfully I wasn’t alone, and the other dogs were quickly removed from the situation, or it might have been even more chaotic. As it was, this was something I had never really witnessed before (nor do I want to again). It was brutal.
But as someone who abhors violence (and clearly acts before thinking), I tried to get right in there to break them up. Like right in there – trying to unclench jaws and everything. I was successful – briefly – but then I ended up getting my hand bitten, and the boys were right back at it. Initially, I was concerned that I almost lost my thumb as there were puncture wounds at the base of my thumb on both sides of my hand, leading to the question from the other adult in the home “is that your blood?!”
After several agonizing minutes where I felt helpless (and sounded like a screaming banshee trying to get the fighting to stop) and finally a frantic phone call to my friend, I got the hose from the kitchen faucet and sprayed them. They stopped fighting, sat up panting, and looked at me as if to say “what’d you do that for”? Who knew that was the best way to stop it? Certainly not me.
By that point, the kitchen was covered in dog fur and my blood, and it became clear that an emergency room visit was in my future. So I wrapped my hand in a towel and off I went, while the dogs were looked after by the young woman who was with me at the time. With my friends off the island, I found it necessary to drive myself to the hospital. Probably not the wisest decision, but also not the dumbest decision of the evening.
After I checked in and sat in the waiting room looking around at the other small groups of people waiting for a friend or family member to be seen, the adrenaline began to wear off and it suddenly occurred to me that I was really there by myself. The one person who was always with me through everything wasn’t with me anymore, my kids were 1,000+ miles away, and I was sitting there bleeding and alone. I had never felt so lonely.
Despite my best efforts to prevent them, tears began streaming down my face. And they wouldn’t stop. A kind woman sitting a few rows away looked at me and asked if I was OK, and if I had been given anything for the pain. (Oh, if only it were that easy to get rid of my pain…). I explained that I really was fine, and that my pain was more emotional than physical. She nodded and said “I can understand that. But I needed to check, because you’re breaking my heart.”
Little did she know that my own heartbreak was the cause of my tears, which only made them flow faster. Sometimes the kindness of strangers sets me off the most.
Eventually, after an examination, x-rays, stitches, and a tetanus shot, I was sent on my way, my hand wrapped in colorful gauze and tingling from the numbing agent they injected me with.
My hand is currently swollen and sore, but it looks like there will be no long term effects from the bite. And chances are pretty good that I probably would have done the same again, if given the chance (at least until I remember the hose trick for the next time that I hope never comes). I have a history of doing this, I guess. After it became clear that I would be OK despite my injuries, my oldest daughter reminded me of one of the family stories A and I would tell the kids, and she told me I hadn’t learned my lesson the first time. I think she’s right.
Years ago, before the kids were even born (and I’m fairly certain it was before we had even gotten married), A and I were in a volleyball league. Actually, we were in a few – he had the men’s league, I had the women’s, and we were on a co-ed team together with some family and friends. One evening, after one particularly unpleasant loss for the men, A and his brother got into a disagreement. Which led to some yelling. Which led to some flying hands (which is a euphemism for punches being thrown).
Despite the fact that my husband was 6’0″ and 250, while his brother was about 6’1″ and possibly 280 at the time (both being more large and muscular than fat), I stepped between them and start slapping their arms away from one another like I was swatting flies. Eventually, they separated and walked away to fume on their own, while those around us approached me saying things like “what are you…nuts?!” and “I can’t believe you got in the middle of those two!”
From the outside, I imagine it looked foolish, but honestly, it never even occurred to me not to step between them. I hate violence that much, but I also instinctively knew that neither one would want to hurt me intentionally. It may not have been the wisest decision, and it definitely could have ended quite differently, but I would probably do it again if given the chance. I don’t like people getting hurt, being hurt, or hurting one another. Especially those people (and dogs) I care about.
When all is said and done, I probably won’t ever learn not to put myself in sticky situations, stuck right in the middle of a rock and a hard place, or not put my hands where they have no business being. But, apparently, that’s part of who I am.
And if I’m going to really rediscover myself this summer, I’ve got to take ownership of the stupid parts of myself along with the not-so-stupid ones. Chalk this one up to stupid side of me.
[Author’s Note: I do not blame the dogs or the owners for this incident. It was a fluke thing, foolish on my part, and in no way reflects the temperament of the pets or their training. And the animal control officer who was required by law to make a home visit to check out the situation agrees with me.]
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