Watch Your Step

August 13, 2009

Mark thought, “well this ought to be interesting” as he donned his new running shoes, some hiking pants, a long sleeved shirt and a rain jacket and headed out into the pouring rain for an early morning jog.  It was still dark, but Mark was not alone- Paul and Petra were meeting him for this run, the first since his wife Trudy (that’s me=) had forbad him to go jogging alone (s/p the recent theft of a camera from two medical students while out on an afternoon walk).  Trudy muttered something in her sleep about the craziness of going running when it is still dark and pouring rain as Mark shut the door.

As he sloshed through the mud at the top of campus towards the Gimbie Highroad, Mark realized that the pavement was no longer a road but a river, and hopped up onto the reddish brown Gimbie-dirt colored cement slab which runs alongside the road, covering a three foot deep trench for street water runoff. The trench was full of swirling Gimbie-dirt colored rainwater, trash and sewage. Mark’s rain jacket was no longer repelling water, but rather soaking it up as he strode along the ditch cover.  He was thinking “with all this rain, do I really need a shower this morning?” as the slab under him disappeared and he fell,  hitting first his left shin, then his right thigh soundly on the opposite side of the gap in the cement slab, and then sinking into the putrid run off. He climbed out, feeling as if he had been hit with a crow bar as he limped along home leaving a dripping a path of blood.

When Mark reached home, he showered and then told his sleeping wife he needed a nurse. Nurse Trudy arose to the task and had just finished cleaning the inch deep gash in his leg when seven month old Sifan (an abandoned baby girl she had been watching for a few days) woke up and began to cry. Jonah was still sleeping. Mark was sent to see Dr Priscilla who prescribed a Tetanus shot, a week’s course of antibiotics and then ordered him up onto the grimy ER examination table. As Mark undressed his leg, first his leather cowboy boots, then his clean white socks, and then unzipping the left leg of his favorite hiking pants, his mind began to wander.  He was thinking of how he had always been warned to wear clean underwear in case of an accident landing him in the ER. But now as he sat in this ER, he felt a spectacle because he had socks at all, and leather boots ,and pants that zipped on the side.  He glanced at the group of sockless Gimbieites gathered around in their muddy plastic shoes.  And, he felt a bit overdressed as he looked at the suture kit which was carefully being opened, to reveal ever so slightly rusty surgical instruments and a faded surgical drape laced with holes.  He wondered which hole in the surgical drape Dr Priscilla would choose to use as she sutured up his wound. After several stitches, Mark was sent home to put his leg up and slow the swelling. As he lay on the bed with his feet up, legs aching, he thought of all the work he needed to be doing, though he was glad at least that he hadn’t broken his leg.

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