It was November in Wisconsin. The air was cold and the wind cut through the trees as we bundled up and ran for my friend Danielle’s car. Vestiges of the first snow still lay on the ground, only partially melted from a just above freezing day before. Danielle and I were taking our friend Jewelia to the airport bright and early this morning before we went to our last classes for the day before our Thanksgiving break from college.
Two hours later, we were back on campus and running late for chapel in the gymnasium. We were not dressed for classes and would have to dash to our dorm rooms to get ready and then hope we did not get in too much trouble with our dorm supervisor for being late. I took off at a brisk run towards the set of cement steps that led to the door to our dorm, completely focused on getting to my room rather than looking to see if any half melted puddles had refrozen and set death traps for me along my journey. One such evil patch of ice sat unassuming at the bottom of these cement steps, and my foot hit it perfectly.
I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked when I fell. In my mind, I probably looked like one of those cartoon characters that slips on a banana peel. My head took the entirety of the blow, hitting one of the cement steps with my forehead and nose. I didn’t see any road runners, Tweety birds, or stars circling my head, but I certainly felt dazed. I could hear my friend Danielle laughing at me from beside her car until I turned my head and she saw my face.
Her face immediately turned from grinning to pure focus as she immediately gathered her three and half years of nursing school experience to take care of her clumsy friend.
“Compression,” she ordered, taking my hand and having me press it firmly on my forehead. I could feel the oozing of blood under my palm, but the full extent of what had happened was still lost on me. She took my other hand and led me down the sidewalk to the nurse’s office that was not far from our dorm. I watched the blood drip into the pure white snow while she rang the door bell and then knocked forcefully on the door to try to get someone to answer. But with chapel currently in session and it being the last day of school before break, no one was in the nurse’s office.
Danielle then led me back to the dorm to try to get me fixed up some as she tried to determine the extent of my injuries. She gently cleaned my face of the blood while she tried to call our dorm supervisor to let her know what happened.
“Don’t look in the mirror,” she remarked as she dialed Randa’s number a second time. Of course, I’m terrible at taking directions and was still getting over the initial shock so I stole a peak at myself in one of the mirrors above the sink and immediately started freaking out. The entire side of my face was covered in blood in addition to it being on my clothes and on the counter. I would later find out that face wounds bleed really badly, but at that moment, I thought I was probably going to die.
As I planned what I wanted to say to people at my funeral and sobbed, Randa finally showed up and immediately ushered me and Danielle to her car where she drove us to the emergency room. I was still freaking out about my head, a bandage pressed up against my head as we drove, but I was also now trying to figure out how in the world I was going to make it to my flight back home to see my family for Thanksgiving. We checked in and waited, and it didn’t seem like it took too long for us to be taken to one of the rooms where a nurse asked all the normal questions and examined my forehead and nose. By this time, bruises had started to spring up around my eye and upper nose so I can only imagine how terrifying I looked. Finally, I saw one of the ER doctors, and he told me that I had taken blunt force trauma to the head, something I had only heard on the crime scene shows my family enjoys watching. Luckily, I was alive to hear him tell me this. I told him about what happened and my concerns about missing my flight, and he graciously bumped me to the top of the list because he thought he could stitch me up pretty fast and didn’t think I had a concussion. He sewed me up, two stitches inside the wound and eight on the outside and made me look somewhere between pathetic and menacing before sending me on my way, telling me to make sure my friends and family watched for signs of a concussion and bring me to the emergency room if I did.
3 hours later, I was in the airport terminal with my friend Leasha who had decided that she was going to take care of me since we were already on the same flight. We talked to one of the airline employees and asked if we could move seats so we could sit together. I guess I must have looked pretty scary because they quickly acquiesced and even allowed us to board sooner than we would normally have. I made it home safe and sound, and my mother fussed over me as all worried moms like to do when their baby gets hurt. I apparently got over being self-conscious about my black eye and crazy stitches because I found a ton of pictures from this trip and tried to convince my family and friends that I had gotten these wounds from a vicious fight and that the other guy was totally worse off, but for some odd reason, they didn’t believe me.
A few weeks later, the stitches came out, and a few years later, you couldn’t even tell that I had cut open my head because it healed so nicely. Part of me wishes that I had a cool scar to show people, but I’m sure I’m bound to do something clumsy again as it’s been 10 years since I got stitches now. I thought this morning that I was going to fall going down the steps at the park, but I managed to survive that. For now, I just have my normal bruises I get from everyday living and random bug bites because mosquitos are obsessed with me.
This post was inspired by Gin & Lemonade’s writing prompt about sharing a fall memory. Check out her post!!!