As if an anniversary and great house news weren’t enough for one week, we decided to throw in a little more excitement to finish the week out. Knowing that a large check was in the mail on its way to us, and that someone else was going to be paying our mortgage for awhile, we decided to go to Paducah to celebrate. We headed out for a spontaneous trip to see Up. We dropped some film off at Wal-Mart to be developed, then headed to the theater. The popcorn was great, the movie was great, the kids were great. So far, so good. Now all we have to do is swing by Wal-Mart, pick up the pictures, head to a drive-through for supper, then head home. Um…that would be way too easy.
I went into Wal-Mart while everyone else waited in the van. When I came out, I saw what I was pretty sure was our van, but no one was in the front seat. I headed that way, saw the kids inside, but no Clay. Hmmm. Strange, I thought. I opened the door and asked Abigail where Daddy was. “Over there, still talking to those people,” she said. I looked and saw a group of six or seven people gathered in front of a car, my husband included. As I was trying to guess what might be going on, I noticed that Clay was holding one arm kind of funny, with some white towels over it. This is the point where my heart just about stopped, as I had no clue what was wrong but just knew that something obviously was. I threw the pictures on the seat, called out a quick, “Stay in the van,” to the girls, and hurried across the parking lot.
When I got over there, Clay lifted up the towel for me to see several holes in his hand, dripping blood. Adrenaline kicked in just in time to keep me from losing my popcorn. No one exactly told me what happened, but from the excited conversation all around me, I figured out that a dog had gotten loose from someone’s car, lots of people tried to catch it, Clay succeeded, only to have the dog bite the heck out of his hand. There were witnesses, including one kind man who sent his wife in the store to get antibiotic cream and clean towels then gave us his name and number should we need his report, and one nurse who directed us to the nearest ER. The girl who claimed the dog was a nervous wreck. She had actually been bitten too. It was her parents’ dog and she was just dog-sitting while they were out of town. When I joined the party, Clay headed back to the van and I went with the girl to get phone numbers, owners’ names and numbers, tag numbers, and vet numbers. This took way longer than necessary thanks to the girl’s nerves, but finally I made it back to my poor hubby and confused kids. Clay was already getting light-headed and nauseous, his body’s typical reaction to an injury, so we decided not to risk heading to Salem’s ER where I could take the kids home to bed. We headed instead to Western Baptist in Paducah.
I dropped Clay off (it’s now about 9:00), then went to get some supper for my poor children. We headed back to the hospital parking lot to wait. And wait. And wait. Thankfully, the DVD player was still in the van from our last road trip, complete with a DVD, so the kids were somewhat entertained. Catherine and Samuel both conked out, but Abigail and Elisabeth never did sleep. At some point the hospital security called me (I didn’t have my cell phone so I had kept Clay’s with me) for the information so that they could file a report with the health department, standard procedure for a dog bite. Then, we waited some more. And waited. And waited. Around 11:30 I started to get worried. He had been so white and nauseous when he went in, what if he had passed out or something and no one knew who to call since he didn’t have a phone on him. So I moved the van closer to the door, locked the kids in, and went in search of my hubby. When I found him, he had been looked at, but that was it. They hadn’t done anything yet. It would still be quite awhile.
At this point, I was going crazy sitting in the van with nothing to do, so I decided to drive around for awhile. The children were all awake now, so we ended up at Wal-Mart, where we all trooped in at midnight for a potty stop. (I was embarrassed to have people see me with all my kids wide awake at midnight, and I swore to never judge people who have their kids out late at night again. Who knows, they might be waiting on their daddy to get stitched up so they can go home!) I got a drink and a magazine and headed back. But we had only been back about ten minutes when out he came. I don’t know if the lady at the visitor’s desk took pity on me when I mentioned that I was waiting out in the parking lot with four kids or what, but right after I went in to see him, they finally got to work on him. They did x-rays, which showed that the dog’s tooth actually chipped the bone of his middle finger, and stitched up two of the holes. They sent him off with a prescription for antibiotics to stave off infection, and strict instructions to get rechecked in a couple days.
We finally got home around 1:30 a.m. Boy, what a great ending to our celebration! The icing on the cake was, although we didn’t have plans for Saturday, due to our pastor being out of town, on Sunday Clay had to preach both services, lead worship in both services, be the main go-to guy, teach a parenting class, and have choir practice, all without the use of his right hand. All while dealing with the pain, swelling, and throbbing, not to mention having to tell the story countless times, and listen to quite a few other dog-bite stories. Neither one of us was worth much today, after the weekend caught up with us.
So there you go. There’s the details. I guess right now I really am his “right-hand man.” The worst part for me has not been having to take care of him, tie his shoes, or do all of the “kidwork”; it’s been having to be the one to remove the ticks from Elliot and clean up the garbage that the critters scattered all over the carport. I will now have a new appreciation for all of the “daddy chores” that he does on a regular basis.