Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Nearest Emergency Room, anyone?

Ever since our move, Matt and I have joked about our need to find the closest hospital. In Massachusetts we lived literally two minutes from the hospital. (Those two minutes felt like infinity plus two as we were racing there for the arrival of baby #1!) Here in our riverside Connecticut home, hospitals are nowhere to be found. When the kids are particularly rambunctious, Matt will say only half in jest, "Do we have the GPS set for hospitals?"

On Monday I borrowed the GPS (a gift from Matt's former colleagues) to attend a conference in Schenectady, happily buzzing around miscellaneous side streets in East Longmeadow, MA, searching for a Starbucks that promised to be just a mile away but took a half hour to find! The satellite's interpretation of a direct route is sometimes mind-boggling. But Starbucks-searching aside, I was glad for the moment by moment directions. (Foreshadow....foreshadow.... pay attention here!)

Midway through the day I pulled out my cell phone to use the calculator function. Surprisingly, there was a voicemail message from Matt. Though I occasionally receive "I pooped on the potty" calls from Lucas, I immediately had a bad feeling when I saw the message signal flashing. My instincts were correct. Matt was seeking assistance in finding the nearest emergency room. If I had a minute, could I give a call?

Fortunately, he gave additional details. Rather than our usual fear of one of the kids crashing into the brick fireplace mantle or tumbling from the playset in the backyard, the "patient" in this instance was Matt. He was cutting one last board with the table saw, eager to finish a piece for the aforementioned playset before getting lunch together and racing off to an ear check for Lucas. When his right index finger took the final cut of the saw along with the board he was sliding, lunch became bagels in the ER, and Lucas's doctor appointment was postponed in favor of his father's more urgent need.

Always the picture of calm, Matt managed to assure me at least twice in this original message--"Really, it's no big deal. Just a couple of stitches, maybe. But if you could call with any idea of where a hospital might be...." I was listening to the message nearly three hours after it was sent, so my return call was of little help. By this point, Matt had actually accessed directions on the Internet, packed a little lunch, worked his newly-potty-trained son into a diaper (no easy feat, some of you will recognize!), and coaxed the big sister into getting her brother's shoes on and packing books for entertainment. Do you see why I love this man? I have reached for the phone to dial 9-1-1 over a split lip. Matt slices his finger in a saw and still manages to remember the diaper bag and his sense of humor.

I'll skip the gory details, few of which I know. The finger is intact, and Matt is bound for a specialist on Friday to see if he might need plastic surgery. We're all feeling that human mix of extreme gratitude and extreme inconvenience, with gratitude happily winning out most of the time. Matt is missing basketball (indulging in the play-offs as I type!), but he'll be back!

And in the meantime, if you want to find the nearest ER, just give him a call.


Laura said...

Yowza! Matt is truly Superman! I think if I ever hurt myself at home with the boys I'd freak out a long time before being able to function. But packing lunch and having Kyra get books? Wow! Our ER isn't too far, but I can't imagine trying to drive there with a bloody hand! I hope the finger heals quickly and Matt is back to basketball soon!

Sue said...

Oh my gosh! What a tale! I'm glad to hear of a positive ending. While reading it, I was struck with that incredible sense of a calm wherewithall. I just wouldn't have been able to think of all of that. Heck, I can't even think about all I have to take when we go to CHURCH, let alone the ER! Yes, my dear, you've got a great thing going over there in CT!

Grampa Peter said...

The sense of calm and inner peace even in such tumultuous moments is something to behold...and gives me a sense of peace which reminds me how much you all are loved...

Carmen San Diego said...

Wow I lived in Groton, CT and there were 2 close hospitals (3 if you count the Naval clinic) but because of my disease I had to always go to Yale in New Haven. It was an hour away (with out traffic) so it really sucked. Where is it you actually live? I never even heard of that city and being that CT is so small I was shocked that I hadn't heard of it. What bigger city is close by? Any how I'm glad Matt is ok but man what a headache for the both of you.