Rule of Thumb
by Valerie Nusbaum
Last week, our friend, Diana, stopped by. Randy and I spent some time catching up with her, laughing about old times. Diana mentioned that she enjoys reading my column every month, and she said that she especially enjoys reading about Randy’s antics. I regretfully replied that Randy hasn’t been doing anything “column-worthy” lately, and I’ve been at a loss for material. Then, yesterday happened.
It was Monday, and Randy was off from work. We had planned to do my mom’s grocery shopping, pick up her prescriptions, and do odd jobs at her house. Mom wanted us to have lunch together as an early celebration for Randy’s and my 27th wedding anniversary. It sounded like a good, albeit busy, day.
Randy realized that he needed to run down to the hospital to have his blood drawn in preparation for a doctor’s appointment next week, so he hurried out and took care of that first thing in the morning. The lab, of course, was backed up, and Hubby ended up having to wait quite a while. He said that he caused a ruckus at the lab. The techs there assign every patient a number. Randy’s number was L28. You know how it works: The tech comes out and calls out a number, and the appropriate patient goes back to be poked and prodded. Randy heard a whole list of numbers being called: L16, M33, P72, etc. He thought it would be funny to yell out “Bingo.” That was met with frowns from the staff, and several of the waiting patients were outraged because they hadn’t been offered playing cards. Luckily, L28 was called and Randy got away safely.
After the lab experience, we headed to Brunswick and the grocery store, which, in and of itself, is always an adventure. Groceries in hand, we arrived at Mom’s on time and proceeded to have a nice celebratory lunch, complete with cake and presents. Randy and I did our chores and errands and headed back to Thurmont.
I was tired, but I still had things to do, so I headed to the treadmill to walk off that big lunch, and I started doing some work in my office. Randy advised that he’d be out in his woodshop if I needed him. I walked, worked, and decided to take an early bath. I was in the bathroom undressing when I heard footsteps on the stairs and Hubby’s voice outside the door.
“Don’t be mad. I need to go to the doctor,” Randy said.
My first thought was that he was having chest pains or other scary symptoms. I grabbed for my clothes and went out in the hall, asking what was wrong. By that time, Randy was in his own bathroom, and I could hear water running.
“I cut my hand,” he said. This is not an unusual occurrence, but Randy doesn’t usually require a doctor’s visit, so I was a little scared to see what was going on in the bathroom. I peeked around the corner and saw Randy’s hand wrapped in paper towels and blood everywhere.
“It’s my thumb,” he sort of moaned. “Deep. Might need stitches. Can’t stop the bleeding.”
I grabbed my shoes and purse and said, “Let’s go.” He was in some pain, and the blood was still seeping through the towels. I got out some gauze pads and taped his thumb as best I could, and we rushed out the door. Being stubborn and manly, Randy wanted to drive himself to the emergency room, so I didn’t argue too much. I figured that driving might distract him, and I’d be in the truck in case it got dicey. I suggested we try an urgent care facility instead of the ER, as it might be quicker. So, I started looking for the one closest to the hospital, just in case. At that point, I really had no idea how bad it was, but what I could see was nasty.
It was evening rush hour around Frederick, so we took the first exit and sneaked in the back way to the urgent care facility. I offered to go inside with him, but Randy thought I should stay in the truck in the parking lot so that I could call the appropriate people and garner him some sympathy. I knew that he really didn’t want me with him because I can be demanding and pushy. So, I stayed out of it and let him go in alone. I say alone, but he texted me the entire time he was inside, updating his progress every ten minutes. “Still waiting.” “Waiting for nurse.” “Waiting. Bleeding has stopped. I can just leave.” Ummm…no. That was not an option after we’d made the trip down there.
Finally, after an hour and a half, Randy came back. He’d gotten a tetanus booster, and his thumb was cleaned, glued, and bandaged. He could have gotten stitches, but the consensus was that it would be easier for him if he opted not to. He felt better about things until I asked what he wanted for dinner, suggesting that he choose something he could eat with nine fingers.
This morning, Randy and his bandaged thumb went off to work. I think he was anxious to get away from me after I told him that his rapper name is now 9-Digits. I even wrote a song about it.