Saturday, August 14, 2004

Friday the 13th and the Awful, Awful Ass-Bite

(This blog makes prolific use off the word "ass". If this word offends you in any way I suggest you stop reading now. Alternately, you could substitute another word of your choice for each occurrence of the word "ass"... which may or may not add to the comedic effect, depending on your choice. In any case, reader discretion is advised...)

I've never really been a believer in the whole "Friday the Thirteenth" thing, but this happened on that day, so I might as well work that angle...

I got a phone message at work to call my girlfriend. "She's been bit on the ass," they said. Well, actually, they only told me it was an emergency, but that's what the emergency turned out to be. Yep, she had been driving along, doing errands, when she was suddenly bit on the ass. Pretty hard to picture, considering she was sitting on her ass (usually the most comfortable way to drive), but it happened. In fact, even as she slammed the van into park in the middle of traffic and jumped from the vehicle, she continued to get bit on the ass. Whatever it was really didn't want to let go... of her ass!

By the time I had her on the phone, she was already in a Walk-In Medical Clinic. She had bravely managed to rip the creature from her ass and fling it as far away from herself as she could. What was it? Well, I guess we'll never know... She didn't exactly stop to examine the attacker. Actually, knowing how terrified she is of bugs, I was amazed to hear that she had grabbed the thing at all! They say that a mother will get the super-human strength needed to pull a car off her trapped child... Well, I guess that is also true of the super-human courage she needed to rip a bug from her ass. Anyway, she managed to collect herself enough to get to the clinic before the pain became unbearable.

The doctor on duty said he had seen bee stings, hornet stings, and spider bites, but nothing like the bite on my girlfriend's ass. Not exactly the most comforting thing to hear from a doctor, really... So, they decided to transfer her to the ER at the hospital, which is about all she had time to tell me before she hung up and turned off her cell. Which hospital, you might ask? Yeah, that's pretty much what was going through my head too. Well, that and, "She got bit on the ass!"

Calgary only has 3 major hospitals, so it didn't take long for me to track her down, and not much longer than that to convince my boss I'd need the rest of the day off. So, before long, I was strolling into the Emergency Room of the Foothills Hospital, like a knight in shining armor, looking for the girl with the bug-bite on her ass. I was told that she had already been looked at (I guess arriving at the ER in an ambulance puts you on the short-list to be seen) and was now in Minor Treatment. I found out this was the place where they do stitches and minor surgeries. Damn! How big was that bug anyway? This is Canada, after all, not Australia!

I followed the green arrows painted on the floor and eventually found my girlfriend. There she sat, in the waiting room of Minor Treatment, looking about as miserable as a person can. She was in a wheelchair, being too light-headed from the pain and the venom (Venom?!? What the hell?) to walk on her own. She had an ice-pack wedged between her ass and the back of chair and a rapidly growing pile of used tissues beside her. She looked like she was having about as much fun as the old lady with the mysterious brown paper bag on her lap, or the old man with one leg and a bleeding head wound... This was quite the party I had stumbled upon!

I tried to give her a hug, but found out rather quickly that any movement was excrutiating for her, so instead sat beside her and her pile of tissues, waiting for the nurse to call her name. She had been there for an hour already.

We did the usual Hospital Waiting Room Routine... We watched some TV, perused the terrible selection of magazines, read the educational posters on the wall, and eventually settled into that empty stare that always claims you in the end.

The minutes dragged by...

In an effort to break the boredom, I decided a little bathroom break was in order. I was only gone about 3 minutes but, when I came back, she had been taken in. It figures! And they wouldn't let me go in with her because the location of the wound was "too embarrassing". No kidding it was embarrassing! It was on her ass! But didn't they know I was her boyfriend? Apparently that didn't matter... Back to the Waiting Room with me.

Round Two.

It was difficult to sit and wait the first time, but at least we had been together. Now, there I was, out in the Waiting Room with a growing crowd of sick and injured people, completely unaware of what was going on with my girlfriend or how long she would be in there. A couple times I tried to get in to see her, but was turned away by the nurse. Bitch.

The minutes dragged into hours. The chair I had now was right beside the TV, so I could hear it but not see it. Frustrating. A couple of times I actually left the building, walked around the grounds, and read some of the memorial plaques posted around the place. Every time I returned, though, it was like I had never left. Everyone was in the exact same position, with the exact same blank stares, and the only open chair was the one beside the TV. Damn.

As the life was being sucked out of me and I feared we would never leave that hospital again, I notice an interesting phenomenon... Little signs all over the place telling me how long I could do certain things... "Loading Zone: 5 min. Max."... "Courtesy Telephone, please keep all calls under 2 minutes"... They were telling me that I must perform whatever actions I was going to perform in periods of time measured in single-digit minutes. They, on the other hand (judging from my wait thus far), would allow themselves unlimited hours to do whatever they needed to do. Control freaks! I actually think it's an elaborate head game. They torture you each and every time you visit so that the next time you hurt yourself, you ask yourself, "Do I really need to go to the ER? Maybe if I just stay off this broken leg for a while..." After all, you can always sit around your own house in pain, listening to the TV, right?

In the end (for once in this blog, not a reference to my girlfriend's bitten ass), they had to make an inch long incision along the already 3/4 inch bite, flush out the venom, and ensure no piece of the bug was actually still in her ass. So, 6 hours and 3 stitches later, we were finally set free. They never did figure out what it was that bit her, and she vows to never drive that van again, but at least the worst is over. Now, she can get on with the healing and look forward to May 2005 which is, yep, you guessed it, the next Friday the Thirteenth...
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