“The time I saw those little stars above my head” is excerpted from the book “Not Quite Right: Mostly True Tales About a Weird News Reporter,” available at local and online booksellers. For a signed copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $15 + $4 shipping. Read more about the book here.
So here’s how it happened: One ordinary day, I was vacuuming the narrow spiral staircase that leads to our loft, which is as tricky as it sounds. At the bottom, relieved I had made it down without incident, I stooped to wrap up the cord. As I stood, someone suddenly hit me in the head with the pointy part of a pickax. At least that’s what it felt like. In reality, one of the metal-framed steps had stealthily lowered itself behind my back, causing me to slam my head into its corner.
I stood stunned for a split second and then I was lying on the floor, looking at the ceiling and trying to decide if this injury required tears. The pain decided for me, and the answer was yes. Yes it did. Once I unleash, there’s really no stopping me.
I lay there bawling as My Trusty Sidedog Lucy and our German Shepard Neeko frantically circled me, thinking (I’m guessing): “How can we help? Who should we call? Please don’t die on us! We can’t lose you – the big guy doesn’t let us have treats.” Although it turns out, Lucy was actually thinking, “Mom’s on the floor. That means she wants me to put my tongue in her ear,” while Neeko tried to comfort me by drooling on my toes.
Sweetums was at the store (see, that’s a sign I was really in pain. I was crying when there was no one there to witness it) and I slowly calmed to the hiccup-sob that comes after a hard cry. I wondered if I should tell Sweetums that happened. See, Sweetums thinks I am accident prone. I don’t know where he gets such ideas.
It may have started on Mother’s Day 2014 when I decided to go bike riding with Sweetums. My borrowed bike was old and much too big for me to ride comfortably. As I pedaled up to the garage, I somehow forgot the bike actually had brakes and went all Fred Flinstone and put my feet down to stop it. The bike toppled over, taking me with it, and I felt the shock of pain. I looked down to find a rusty piece of metal rebar had lodged itself just below the knee cap, leaving a quarter-sized puncture wound.
I kept telling Sweetums I could still make it to the movie we planned to see that afternoon as he was handing me a shot of bourbon and assessing the wound (he has emergency medical training so I was OK with that). He determined the hole was quite deep and I needed stitches so we headed to urgent care instead of the theater. Eight stitches and a bottle of pain meds later, we returned home and I hobbled around for the next week.
Since then Sweetums has taken me to the doctor or ER for: falling down stairs (twice, but only once crunching my feet beneath my body and scraping the skin off my toes), falling off the back deck once (no, I wasn’t drunk. I was out with the dogs at 4 a.m. and it was dark), and overdosing on cold meds while in a feverish stupor.
So I really didn’t want to give Sweetums more fodder. I weighed my options while cradling my head and its egg-sized bump on a pile of pillows: Getting pampered … or being made fun of? Being spoiled … or providing more joke fodder?
I decided on the pampering and spoiling. When Sweetums arrived home, I was dressed in a black nightie and propped on about eight pillows looking for all the world like Scarlett O’Hara who’d gone faint upon realizing she was going to actually have to do some work on the farm. My sweet hubby gave me sympathy with zero sarcasm (which I’m sure wasn’t easy), gently felt the wound and pronounced I wouldn’t die, then brought me an ice pack and tucked me in.
By the time I woke from a nap, my head hardly hurt at all. But I didn’t tell Sweetums, at least not right away. What kind of princess would I be if I didn’t milk it a little?