One would think the simple act of reaching down to pick up your keys would not send you reeling back in pain and create a cascade of blood down your face.
Mainly, you would think that because rarely when you pick up a dropped item do you get your head split open.
Yet, I was able to perform this miraculous party trick while getting into my car recently, and had the added bonus of terrifying a small child who was walking nearby with her grandparents.
My dog Maddux and I were getting in the car to head home. I opened the front door and he bounded inside as he always does. As he went past me, he clipped my hand and I dropped my car keys. Instinctively, I bent over to pick them up. What I failed to see was my car door closing, and I proceeded to plant my head squarely in the corner of the door. I stumbled backward, clutching my head. That, I thought, really hurt. I looked up and saw a small girl, maybe two, walking with her grandparents. Language check time.
I turned to look at my reflection in the car window. About the time I started focusing on my reflection, I felt the blood begin to flow down my forehead. I pulled my hand back and thought to myself, that is a lot of blood.
The little girl stared at me, as I began to do a live “Carrie” impersonation. Her grandfather walked over to me. “Are you OK?” he asked. When he got close enough to see that I was not remotely OK, he bypassed awaiting an answer and said, “I’ve got a first aid kit in the car. Hang on.” His car was parked next to mine, and in short order he had gotten me some alcohol wipes and gauze.
He also offered help getting me to a chair or getting someone to come get me, but I assured him I was not woozy or loopy, just bleeding copiously.
I managed to clean up most of the blood that I could see, and put the gauze on my forehead to slow the bleeding until I could get home and my wife would start to compound the injury by administering unnecessary procedures such as cleaning the gaping wound.
I called her on my way home. “Hey, I kinda split my head open on the car door and I’m bleeding pretty bad so, uh, I guess I’ll see you in a minute.” It’s that kind of solid communication she treasures from me.
When I arrived at home, some friends who were visiting from out of town had just pulled in. Nice that when you haven’t seen friends in over a year your first words are, “Hang on – I split my head open. I’ll meet you inside…”
When I got inside, my wife went in to full Dr. Nurse mode. She told me I needed stitches. I told her that the cut was above my hairline, and that unless my brain was in the process of escaping from the wound, I’d be fine.
“What if you start to lose your hair?” Now, personally, I don’t think introducing the possibility of hair-loss to a 40-year-old guy is the kindest thing to do when he is already dealing with an issue.
Eventually, she convinced my to go into her treatment facility, which involved rinsing my forehead off repeatedly and applying liquid bandage to the wound which, from what my nose told me, was super glue that she used to hold the cut together.
The next day, the cut had stayed fairly well closed. It’s a rather healthy gash, about an inch-an-a-half long. I have told folks that, much like Harry Potter, my scar is in the shape of a lightning bolt. It’s just that my lightning bolt is not one of those fancy zig-zag ones, but rather a ferocious straight-line strike, one that could fell a pine tree in an instant.
I’m guessing the cut will continue to heal, and I will just take this as one of those life lessons about being aware of your surroundings at all times, as you never know when a Honda Civic may be lying in wait to attack you. I’m sure that, in a few short weeks, when the wound is completely healed, the whole incident will fade from memory. At least, until my hair starts falling out.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.