Harry and Halley suddenly forgot their need to escape and turned back towards me with remorseful eyebrows peaked.
We had been near the end of our walk on a sunny, frosty morning when a neighbor’s dog surprised us from behind, suddenly barking the “you’re on my territory” bark that every other dog knows means it’s time to move out on the double. This particular dog isn’t usually out on our morning excursions, so I wasn’t prepared for it. But since we were, in fact, on neutral ground (the paved road), I called to the dogs to “walk!” and dug in my heels to pull them back down to a normal pace. My heels, however, did not find adequate friction on the frosty pavement, and decided instead that a position somewhere above my head would be more appropriate. I instinctively turned as I went down to avoid landing on my back or taillbone – and encountered the pavement with my elbow instead.
I knew I should have worn a coat.
I could tell that I was bleeding inside my sweatshirt, but rather than examine it there in the road I decided to get back home and attend to it. I walked the dogs back to their kennel, then entered the house. My lovely wife greeted me.
“Hurry, help me move this to the front door!” It was a TV cabinet she had listed on craigslist, and the mark – er, I mean, buyer – was on his way over. So we moved the cabinet, and he arrived. He dickered over the price, naturally, and we took a while to make change and then carry it out to his truck. Then I went back inside and showed my wife my wound. There were actually two – a broad flaying of the underside of my forearm, and a smaller, deeper cut behind my elbow. Of course, I had to explain how it happened, and of course it was all my fault for being stupid. She cleaned it up, and said she’d bandage it properly after I took a shower.
In the shower, I happened to flex that arm and noticed a spurt of blood against the side of the stall, which stopped as soon as I extended my arm again. Naturally, I had to repeat the experiment a few times out of curiosity until I began to feel dizzy and nauseous and my field of vision became interrupted by bright blind spots. So I ceased my attempt to earn a Darwin award (too late anyway, I’ve already peed in the gene pool four times [apologies to my offspring for that metaphor]), rinsed off and exited the shower. My wife came in to continue her nursely duties, complaining about the blood I got on the white towel. She bandaged me up, and I went to lie down until my head and stomach felt better – while being serenaded by my wife’s witty remarks concerning the well-documented male tolerance for pain and suffering. I’ve never fainted from bleeding, but I’ve never felt closer to doing so than I did that morning.
I just happened to have a doctor’s appointment scheduled a few days later. My arm was still swollen but no longer bleeding by that point. The doctor looked it over, made me move it around, and concluded that there was no break. “Don’t re-injure it,” she warned.
So, I haven’t been walking the dogs for the last few days – I want to let this fully heal first. Every time I go out to feed them, they look up at me silently as if to say, “We’re really, really sorry. Are you ever going to walk us again?”