The Tale of the Rebounding Man
I find this man's ability to rebound downright odd…
Back in the day, I used to tell my husband Bob that if he found me dead when he woke in the morning, look first at Gizmo, the homely little cat I once shaved. Oh, Gizzie was never mad at me — just the opposite. In the moments following that fateful shaving Gizmo decided that I was his best friend, the human being he loved most in the world. I could not lie down to sleep at night without Gizmo’s little paw covering my nose (to see if I was breathing?) or the same stinky foot reaching into my mouth. I have no idea what he was looking for. My suspicion is that he just wanted attention, a kiss on the head, and a little extra blanket in which to curl up.
Whatever….I eventually came to peace with the idea that Gizmo might suffocate me in my sleep. I always just assumed that Gizmo would play a part in my demise.
On the other hand, should Bob pass from this earth in some unexpected and dramatic way, I don’t want anyone looking in my direction. I am married to a klutz. I can assume no responsibility for Bob’s self-inflicted injuries.
Allow me to illustrate:
We’re living in Spencer, Iowa, circa 1992. There is a blizzard covering the entire northwest corner of the state. The miles and miles of snow are blinding, but the trees look like they are covered in crystal lights and hiding magical fairies. Bob does not appreciate the crystal lights look. Perhaps he hates fairies. I honestly don’t know. He immediately decides that all frozen branches must be cut down, snow and ice be damned. He takes an electric-powered chainsaw out with the purpose of systematically murdering each of the offending branches. How dare they bend down like that, taunting him with their ice-laden weight?
It’s just a medium-height ladder, electric-powered chainsaw, and Sir Bob in his finest winter regalia. Man against tree. Blue eyes flashing, Bob is determined to get the best of this tree. He climbs to the highest branch, pulls his chainsaw out and promptly attacks the tree with a frustration normally reserved for the Oakland Raiders. It likely takes his mind a fraction of a second to realize that he is in the process of falling. And like any good woodsman, Bob tucks the chainsaw between his thighs, just to make sure it doesn’t hit the ground and break. That’s the day my husband rode a moving chainsaw to the ground. It is also the day the emergency room doctors tell him how incredibly lucky he is to walk away with his bits and pieces still attached. He manages to survive with severe burns to his thighs.
That was a fun day but a fluke, right? Not so fast. We quickly realize that I possess the building talent in the family. Need a hardwood floor or new tiling laid? I’m your girl.
It’s approximately 1995, Concord, Michigan. I’m just finishing laying a wood floor in the den. Bob is keeping himself busy in the garage, ostensibly rearranging sports equipment. For a reason that can only be understood by the Almighty, Bob runs his hand along the metal garage door frame prior to closing the door. Hey, that thing is sharp! I can just imagine his pain addled mind thinking. By the time he enters the den I realize he has slashed the top of his hand, slicing tendons along the way.
We spend the evening in the Albion Hospital emergency room and the next day in surgery where doctors work hard to sew Mr. Fix-It back together. Miracle of miracles, the guy can actually move that hand now. And to think, it only took a year or so for him to recover.
By now we have fully accepted our talents and limitations. I can’t cook worth a darn and Bob evidently cannot make a simple home repair without risking life and limb.
Fast forward two years. I am now installing ceramic tile in the master bathroom.
Bob walks in as I finish. “What can I do?” he asks? Grateful for his offer, I tell him that I’m going to put a carpet runner down and would appreciate it if he would cut any stray strings from its edges. I even hand him a pair of scissors. I walk away, thrilled to be so near the finish line of a project that has taken me two days. Bob follows me moments later, a sheepish look on his face, and a huge towel wrapped around his arm. He refuses to answer when I ask him what he’s done.
Turns out, the scissors were not to his liking. Rather than simply snip the strings off the carpet runner, Bob spies a shiny new X-ACTO Knife with a blade sharp enough to satisfy Sweeney Todd. As he holds the offending string in the air, he dramatically slashes at it with the X-ACTO. Oops. Who knew a slit wrist could bleed like that?
Less than 30 minutes later, we’re rushing back into the Albion Hospital emergency room. “Oh, hello Bob,” the staff says as they see his face, devoid of color. I’m pretty sure they forgot to ask me for insurance information. Perhaps they have it memorized. That emergency room knows Bob like a good friend. In fact, they’re thinking of naming a wing of the hospital after him.
Lord love ’em, they evaluate my klutzy husband and in a matter of minutes, rush him into surgery. For a reason I will never fully understand, I follow the bed they’re pushing him on, running behind a clutch of excited medical personnel. As we move through a crowded waiting room, one of the nurses begins to chant like the town crier to anyone who will listen, “You need to move! We have a cutter here!”
A cutter? Does this woman believe that my fool of a man has purposely slit his own wrist? Sweet baby Moses.
For a reason I will never fully understand, I feel judged by the faces we pass in the waiting room. For a moment, I am the wife of a man who would rather bleed out in Albion Hospital than live another day with me. As quickly (and loudly) as the nurse announces, “We have a cutter!” I follow up with, “He’s not a cutter! He’s a klutz!” I’m pretty sure that my protestations accomplished nothing.
After hours of micro-surgery, doctors are hopeful that Bob will one day regain use of that wrist.
It’s 2007 and we’ve just moved into a beautiful loft in downtown San Jose, California. With its exposed brick and high ceilings, this place is just my cup of tea. Bob arrives home from work one evening, determined that this be the night he strings cable wire into the kitchen. In what I’m sure was a Eureka moment for him, Bob decides that the wire will be less conspicuous if he tacks it high, right where the wall meets the ceiling. As any sane man would do, Bob pulls out a 6-foot step ladder, balances it on the countertop, and ascends it like a monkey on ecstasy. Just as quickly as he goes up, Bob is on his way down, hitting the floor with a thud I’m sure the neighbors mistook for an earthquake. His leg is bent behind him like a G.I. Joe owned by a sadistic 7-year-old.
Before you can say, “One more accident and I’m leaving you on the side of the road,” we’re at the emergency room, introducing ourselves to a brand new group of doctors and nurses. I shrug mentally, pretty sure that they’ll get to know Bob well over the next few years. Surgery is scheduled for the next morning.
It’s been years and Bob now has one normal foot and one foot we lovingly refer to as “Frankenfoot.” I have no idea how many pins, needles, paper clips and wads of bubble gum are holding that ugly thing together, but at least he can walk.
In review: Should I die suddenly of unknown causes — take a look at one of my well-meaning pets. Should poor, sweet Bobby die suddenly of unknown causes — well, lets just assume it was self-inflicted.