Hospitals are where you go to get sick. Occasionally, you have to go to get patched up. June 29 is an otherwise beautiful day. Then it happens at 10:30 a.m., I sit in the bathroom surveying a growing pool of blood and a mountain of red paper towels. The skin of both calves is gone and there is a deep wound on the inner aspect of the right thigh. A band aid won’t fix this. James takes me to (the former) South Coast Hospital. I check in with minimum wait and medical assistant patiently tries to bridge pieces of dead skin with steri strips. A passing physician briefly blesses her efforts. I am referred to wound care.
Monday I report at the front desk.
I tell Ron the security guard that I am the victim. Henceforth I am known as Mr. Victim as he waves to me when he sees me. Astrid runs a tight ship. There is no hour or more of pretending to read a grubby two-year-old Golf magazine. 9:30 a.m. means 9:30, or 8:30 or whatever. Forty-five minutes wound care means 45 minutes. You don’t need a stop watch. I sit in an oversize barber chair. Astrid washes both legs with what looks like shaving cream all to a mantra of, “Henry you must elevate your legs” as she shakes her blond hair.
Astrid is right. A 10-year-old knows it. She applies a secret balm, then a silver impregnated dressing and Turbi Grip stockings, 45 minutes. I go Tuesday and Friday. I tell Astrid about our kittens. Two beautiful balls of black wool rescued by an early morning jogger from the wilderness on Also Viejo. Their antics have made us laugh more than a life time of laughs. It is now 10 weeks. The legs are healed. Astrid has met the kittens. They don’t like strangers. They like Astrid. How do they know? Elevate Your Legs, Henry.
Henry W. Pribram, Laguna Beach