Glass shatters

Saturday, July 24, 2010


We were in the final ten minutes of preparing for the arrival of three members of my husband's family—earlyish in the morning, wicked heat of the day already arrived, my post-oral surgery face looking like a boxer's favorite punching bag.  I was in the shower, to which I had rushed and in which I was counting down the checklists, when I heard my husband's voice.  "Um," he said. "There's been an accident."  Something broken, I thought, but when I pushed the curtain back I saw his hand, or, I should say, I saw the arm that connects to the hand, embellished by towels soaked with red.

One has to stop and think about accidents.  What, I wondered, briefly, was that?

But of course it was his hand, and soon I learned that it had been impaled (or something like that) by the hummingbird feeder my husband had inadvertently dropped.  With guests arriving in just two hours, with the scrubbed house now looking most assuredly less white, more red, we were off—down the road to the emergency room, where we would spend the next four hours before my husband emerged with a mummy wrapped hand and the name of the surgeon who would be working on his severed tendons this coming week.

I've spent time in emergency rooms before, and of course, they collect, they distill stories.  Today there were many that came and went—stories I could imagine, stories I could not, and one story that I heard through a hung curtain—a wife telling the story of a husband's tumor, and how it had grown.  A wife, speaking of her husband with so much teach-able, unbreakable love.  The husband let her talk for him; he was exhausted, it was clear.  Later, while I paced, I saw the man fast asleep, the wife stroking his pale and trusting hand.

Love looks like that.

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

That's scary - I hope your husband's okay.

Becca said...

That's awfully frightening - there is so much blood. And on top of your oral surgery yesterday...poor you.

My son had a horrible cut on his hand and wrist, requiring surgery to repair nerves and tendons, followed by physical therapy. I'm sorry your husband will have to deal with this.

Lilian Nattel said...

That is so sad and beautiful, the conversation you overheard. I am so sorry about your h's hand. I hope that the surgery is soon and successful.

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Oh Beth, even in the midst of your own scary stuff you remind us to look closely at life and see the poetry right in front of us. Thank you for that.

I hope your husband hand heals quickly.

septembermom said...

How scary for you and your husband. Hope he'll be okay. It is beautiful how you relate that love story that you witnessed.

Melissa Sarno said...

I wish you and your husband well with all of these medical procedures. The story of the husband and wife in the ER is touching. It's interesting...the places we see the moments we see.

Priya said...

Oh no! I hope your husband gets better soon.

Beth Kephart said...

Thank you, everyone. It was scary — and it was hard to watch Bill have to wait so long for care (hence my pacing, looking for doctor help). But more and more serious cases kept coming in and soon all emergency-room rooms were full. He's slice the tendons in his hand; he'll need surgery. But they expect a full recovery in time.

lib said...

So sorry to hear about Bill's hand. Between his hand and your oral surgery, life has been interesting for both of you!!! Take care....

Beth F said...

Oh no. This sounds so scary. I can't imagine what it's like -- the two of you in your own recoveries, the horrible heat. So happy that full recoveries are in sight.

Mandy said...

I can only imagine how scared you were - and how brave, too. And the last bit of this post brought tears to my eyes. My grandpa has been in and out of hospitals these past five years with heart troubles and my grandma is always there, demanding answers and taking care. As scary as it was at the time, it's a good memory to have of my grandparent's love.

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