Nailing myself to the roof.

Well, the medical adventures of John continue. On Saturday (the one before Christmas) I learned an important lesson, I am not puncture proof. Cheryl and I have come to the conclusion that Beth has too many toys in our family room. With Christmas on the way, and the inevitable inflow of new toys, we decided to introduce a negative toy flow to the family room. The victim of this decision, other than Beth, was the Little Tykes work bench. It was taking up a large corner of our family room, about the same area that we expect Beth’s new Barbie Dream House to occupy.

On Saturday morning I set about disassembling the work bench so it could be stowed in the attic. The task was slow going, and Beth didn’t help much. She was horrified that I was taking away a toy – and she hadn’t even been bad. I explained to her that we couldn’t keep everything we got, that after a while some things have to be either stored or thrown out. I reassured her that we weren’t throwing it away, just storing it in the attic for a while (until we decide to give it away). Then I explained that even I have had to store things that I used to like to play with. I showed her my two computers, disassembled and stored away. “Daddy, you put away your computers!?!” Clearly, Beth knows her father, but she got the message. I told Cheryl those computers might come in handy some time. Finally convinced, Beth offered to help take it apart. Of course, it probably took three times as long with her help, but at least she was at peace with the whole thing.

Finally it was taken apart and packed into two lawn and leaf garbage bags. I got out the ladder and climbed up to the attic access door. It turned out that the bags containing the work bench were just small enough to fit through the access door, but it took up much of the room just inside the attic. This left me little room to maneuver up in the attic. However, I climbed up into the attic and attempted to crawl around the bag. This involved simultaneously stepping over the bag and one diagonal rafter while stretching my leg to the next available horizontal rafter (about two feet beyond the diagonal rafter I was stepping over). It was tricky, but I would have made it if I hadn’t impaled myself on the two inch nail sticking out of the plywood sheathing right above me. At the moment of impact I did what any other adult would do, I let out a string of profanity that would make Eddie Murphy blush. We try not to swear the house, so as not to be a poor influence on Beth. However, Beth knows what the swear words are, and she knows that they usually mean trouble. So I’m in the attic clutching my lower back and carrying on like a cat that just got it’s tail caught in a fan, and Beth suddenly appears at the foot of the ladder and says, “Daddy, do you want me to come up and help you?” “Nooooo! Please don’t try to come up here Beth!” I climb down the ladder, secure the access door and go to the bathroom to survey the damage. I grab the Q-tips and a bottle of peroxide. I discovered that it is not easy to clean a wound in the middle of your back. I also discovered that Beth does not like the sight of someone else’s blood any more than her own. I set up a complicated network of mirrors and was able to contort myself sufficiently to get at the wound. When it looked like half of the Q-tip head disappeared in the new hole I made, one thought came to mind: “oh crap, they’re going to want to give me a Tetanus shot for this.” A phone call to the “nurse on call” service with my insurance company, and three hours later, and I was walking out of the Walk in Clinic with two new Band Aids and a shoulder that was more sore than my back (if you recall, the nail got me in the back – the nurse got me in the shoulder, with something a lot smaller than the nail – go figure).

You should have seen the reaction I got out of the doctor. He was reading the nurse’s notes describing my condition: nail puncture wound. So he asks me where it happened. I turn around, look over my shoulder, and pull up my shirt. He looks at my back and gives me this look that says, “how the hell did you do that?” What can I say, I’m gifted in that way.

Here’s to not needing any more emergency medical attention this holiday season.