August 19, 2009

A Delivery of Accidental Irony

He wore a look that only young men who have had to take their Father's place as man of the house can wear.
A scraggly goatee, tanned features, and eyes that gleamed with teases of maturity taking shape told me that he was several years older than his age of 18.
I sized his bloody face up. "What happened to you?"
Obviously he had the crap beaten out of him.
"Three guys jumped me."
My fingers pulled at his swollen cheek bones, spread the cut above his brow apart, and prodded around his eyes.
"Ow, shit."
I stopped for a second to acknowledge his glare.
"You are allowed to think whatever you want, make up any name for me you possibly can. You cannot curse in front of your sister. I know it hurts, I'm sorry."
He stared.
"She's heard it all already."
"I didn't ask that. Don't move your head, just follow my finger with your eyes."

Another few moments and I stepped out of the room.
Just under two minutes to gather up a basin, saline solution and nice expensive medical soap, scrub sponge, towel, gloves, and inform the doctor his patient was ready.
Knocking, then I pushed open the door.
"Okay, I'm just going to clean you up a little so when the doctor comes in to take a look he can see a little better what's going on. This is just expensive soap and water, and here; feel this sponge, see? It's not rough, it's soft. But it'll still sting some."

The ever present question.
"Will I need stitches?"
"Most likely. It looks like four, maybe five, but I doubt it. It'll need to be closed though for sure."
He grimaced, then a flurry of threats and harsh words came out of his mouth against the people who did it to him.
The room grew quiet as Mother and daughter watched his face slowly reappear, the crimson disappearing into the sponge and drips.
No warning whatsoever.
Just a question, his voice low and startling sincere.
"What would you do? I mean, how would you handle the situation if you knew who did it to you?"
The sponge froze on his forehead.
Every particle in the room stopped moving as Mother and daughter stared at me.

I've never been attacked by three people who used my own bicycle to beat me, who kicked me in the head while I was lying on the rough pavement being punched, who laughed and got into their car and drove off.

"Do you know who did this to you?"
"Where's your Dad?"
"He lives in Michigan."
"I think you need to ask him."
"I don't talk to him."
"Do you have an Uncle, Grandpa, some family here? You need to ask them."
"No, just my Mom and sister and two Aunts."

Caked blood from his ears made the water in basin officially too murky to see through.
"What would you do? Would you just let them get away with it?"
He looked at me fiercely, his query cutting and relentless.

The doctor came in and spent several minutes asking his own questions, voicing concerns and clarifying statements.
"We'll use 4.0 vicryl for him...I'll write up the orders and we'll send him to get a CT scan, I want to rule out any possible internal trauma, although it seems like he's fine."
Lidocaine and Marcaine took any discernment for detail from him and his cut was soon ready to be closed.
As the needle dove in, hemostats gripped and twirled in a choreographed dance that tightened and looped, flipped spun and tied, our words did the same as we talked man-to-man.

"Sit tight. I'm going to get a wheelchair and then I'll take you to get your head scanned."
It came out negative.
The damage would be bruises, cuts, abrasions, swelling, throbbing, anger, frustration, and the battle for making an incredibly tough decision few have encountered.
I shook his hand and had him sign at the bottom by the "X."
"You're free to go, hope you feel better man."
He smiled, a first for the evening.
He shook my hand firmly. Of course he had a good grip.
"And don't come back in here to get stitched up again without bringing me a pizza."
He looked at me and rolled his eyes, ice pack held to the back of his head.

"That's what I was going out to get when this happened."

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