Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Helping Hand


I wrote the story posted below (a truly true story) last August and sent it to Sun magazine (they have a Readers' Write section that is just plain wonderful). Anyway, I never heard from them so I have decided to publish it here, where the deer and the antelope play.


At eight o'clock in the morning on Friday, December 8th, 2000 (the 20th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon) my wife lay on the floor of our dining room, wounded by the four dogs who were in a pitched battle on top of her. She was covered in a blur of violence but she herself was incidental to their conflict. She was half-sitting and bleeding from one leg and one arm, and her face was ashen. Having just finished my shower, and figuring that coffee and the newspaper were probably out of the question, I ran to her and tried to pull the dogs off, but in the commotion one of the Dogs of Blur ripped open my left hand along the fat part of my palm, next to my thumb. It was a large and frightening wound. Able to somehow grab the tail of another dog, I pulled off the last two fighters with my wife's dazed help. She ended up going outside with two of the dogs: their battle had ended just as my wife began to pass out.

Blood was smeared everywhere. I picked up a cordless phone and dialed 911. The paramedics were soon on their way. I waited, dazed...

To backtrack: my wife rescues dogs, and had recently introduced a smallish black Chow to the group, an ever-changing pack of rescues, mostly ad hoc in nature. The black Chow's arrival released every known tension the dogs had ever had, and suddenly the alpha position was apparently up for discussion. Our German Shepherd began to do battle with our Husky, and another street chow mix and a female brindle chow mix (Luna, a dear girl but full of piss and vinegar) would get caught up in the action--that morning's ruckus was not their first tangle, but it was their first fight with such profound collateral damage. On the day of the battle my wife had changed an entrance routine from the yard to the house, and a mad frenzy at the door escalated into the mayhem that would end up with both of us at the hospital.

The paramedics arrived, looked at my hand ("Dude, your hand is fileted") and tended to my wife, who when stressed often experiences a sharp drop in her blood
pressure, causing her to faint. She came around (with aid from the paramedics)
and we ended up being driven to the hospital by a friend. At one point that afternoon, as we lay in our emergency room beds (I with my "fileted" hand held aloft, her with her punctured leg pulled up near her chest) we looked at each other and laughed. On the speaker system in the emergency room "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" played without a single note of irony.

My wife was patched up within an hour or two, but due to the severity of my injury
the emergency room doctor wanted to wait for a plastic surgeon to treat my wound as he felt a specialist was necessary. I waited over six hours for the plastic surgeon, my hand held aloft, and I was not sure how bad the injury was. It didn't really hurt, as long as I held it aloft. Finally, the specialist arrived around 3:00 in the afternoon, and made short work of his stay. After determining that my hand was indeed still attached to my wrist he began to inject the area around the open flesh with novacaine--these pointed attacks hurt like a motherfucker, at least until the novacaine took effect, and while my hand was completely numb he sewed me up and I was free to leave.

Our good friend drove me back (my wife had already gone home by then) and we stopped and purchased pain medication (which I would need it for when the novacaine began to wear off). My wife had a job-related deadline (she works in television and film production where deadlines are biblical in their severity) and had to leave, but I assured her I would be fine. With my wife and friend both gone, pain returned to my left hand, and so I reached for the bottle of pills that would ease my discomfort. It was then that I discovered that, with one hand essentially useless, I could not open the safety-capped bottle.

Alone in my house, the pain in my hand increasing by the second, I began to laugh as if a secret joke held my life in its relentless grasp.



At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Mary said...

Sorry for your injuries, but I am just curious as to what happened to all the dogs? Did you put any of them down? Do you still do rescue? We had a similar situation here and our black chow mix was just found dead in our yard, we have no idea what happened but we also know that a cat was involved also and the dogs (all rescue) go into a frenzy when a cat (wild feral) gets into our yard. Hope things go well for both of us, we will still rescue but are getting rid of one or two of our dogs who we know were involved.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger MJS said...

None of the dogs were put down. One went to a shelter in Lake Tahoe and was adopted into a very good home. Our German Shepherd went through some training, and we did as well.

Good luck with your doggies!



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