COLUMN: The Human Condition – Hubby the Impaler

Martha E. Conway

Martha E. Conway

Editor’s note: Reprinted from 2005.

July was an interesting month… Interesting in the sort of hold-your-breath-and-wait-for-the-next-shoe-to-drop sort of way. I am not sad to see it pass.

My husband works in a fairly dangerous branch of the construction trades with plenty of opportunities to get blown up or electrocuted. In the course of a day, he works with pointed things, sharp things, motorized sharp things and, my personal favorite, motorized spinning things that shoot smaller metallic, sharp and pointy things into your eyes. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

July 4, my daughters and I decided to go shopping at the Big Box Store Everyone Loves to Hate, just to get out of the heat. As we entered the store, it occurred to me one of us ought to turn on her cell phone, and I quote: “Just in case your dad calls looking for us.”

From my lips to God’s ears. Well, somebody’s ears, because within minutes, my cell phone rang.

“Hello?” I said. (I don’t know why we say ‘hello?’ as a question when we answer the phone, but it’s better than some of the alternatives.)

“Where are you?” Hubby asks.

“We’re at [Big Box Store, which shall not be named].”

“Oh. Well, I got a splinter in my arm, and I think I’m going to have to go to the hospital and get it removed. I think I can get myself there, but I’m not so sure I’ll be able to drive home, depending on what they have to do.”

My heart did a little jump. Hubby, formerly known as “Do you think this needs stitches?” Conway in his teens never seeks medical attention. Ever. Many years ago, he called me at work to see if I could drive him to the hospital because he’d cut his hand. I figured it was an amputation. I was pretty darned close.

I told him I’d meet him at the Community General Hospital emergency room in Syracuse with a spare driver. We arrived to find him sitting in x-ray with a tiny puncture wound on one side of his forearm and an unnerving lump on the other. Whatever went in apparently traveled several inches from its entry point and lodged in the muscle.

I rubbed his leg and held his hand and watched them cut… and cut… and cut… and dig… and was completely grossed out. Finally, a wooden spike about three inches long and a quarter-inch wide appeared in the forceps. A few stitches, some gauze pads and antibiotics later we were on our way.

Ten days later, we were back. This time for the metal-fragment-in-the-eye incident. Ironically, it required three medical centers and a sharp metal spinning thing (on a much, much smaller scale) to get it back out.

The other night, I was heading to bed and walked in on hubby watching TV in the bedroom. “TLC” does not stand for tender, loving care, either. It is a supposedly educational station. I walk in on a photo of a man with a frog-hunting pitchfork – with barbed points – through his face. He is watching “101 Things Removed From the Human Body: From a bag of four-inch carpenters’ nails in a man’s stomach to a two by four through a woman’s face, follow the astonishing medical list of things removed from the human body.”

“OH, MY GOD, YOU’RE TAKING A TUTORIAL?!” I yelled at his surprised countenance.

Then I went to bed and waited for August to arrive…and peeked through my fingers at the screen to see what may lie ahead.

Martha E. Conway is publisher of the Madison County Courier.

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