Turns out that knocking harder on a (thin) glass patio door isn’t such a good idea.
Let’s back up a tad. As I mentioned in my post, Meanwhile, back in Greece…, I found myself in that country for a few months in 1971 with a two-year-old daughter and a mostly absent movie-producer husband.
It’s not quite as bad as it sounds (okay, maybe it doesn’t sound bad at all) because I wasn’t completely alone – we shared a house with a motley assortment of other people:
- another producer, his wife and two kids;
- one of the actors; and
- another producer who was single.
It made for fun evenings of charades on the odd occasion when we were all home together. But I digress.
On the ill-fated day that I knocked harder, the problem was those two monst- er, I mean kids. Six and four years old. Very naughty. Oh sure, in hindsight (45 years’ worth of hindsight) I can see that they needed more positive attention etc. etc. But back then? Well, I’ll tell you.
On that day, our upstairs neighbour came down and told me there was a phone call for us. We did not have a phone. Probably due to the cost – did I mention we were in a rural outpost nine miles outside of Athens? There were goats and chickens in front of the little cottage across the way. I’m digressing again!
So since I was the only adult at home, up and about, I took my daughter’s hand and went upstairs to take the phone call. Yes, I left the six-year-old and his younger brother downstairs. Their mom was lying down in her master bedroom.
When little Kathy and I came back downstairs, I went to open the patio door. It was locked. I peered through the glass and saw the boys, laughing, no, smirking, as Kathy and I jiggled the handle, unable to come back inside the house. I knocked. They giggled. I yelled. Gales of laughter. And then – you guessed it – I knocked harder.
SMASH CLINKETY-CLANK TINKLE TINKLE CRUNCH. Lots of blood-flecked broken glass was involved… along with two rather scared-looking little boys. Kathy seemed puzzled and a bit in shock – although not in as much shock as her mother, who was mesmerized by the crimson blood oozing out of her wrist. My wrist, to be clear.
It’s two days later. The wound which I’d hoped would heal all by its lonesome refused to do so. It was, shall we say, sort of gaping. It was obvious to all that it needed stitches, so after two days of denial, I was finally convinced that I had to get to a hospital.
ΤΜΗΜΑ ΕΠΕΙΓΟΝΤΩΝ ΠΕΡΙΣΤΑΤΙΚΩΝ
(Suck it up! I didn’t know what it meant either.)
Now bear in mind this was 1971. Most Greeks didn’t speak English. Luckily the
monst boys’ mother was multilingual, so she helped me get through the triage process with the unilingual-Greek staff. The trouble began in the surgical room.
I was never a great patient, being less-than-thrilled with needles and such. So there I was, lying back in a dentist’s-type chair, right arm out to the side, tied down to a slab perpendicular to my body. I felt, shall we say, VULNERABLE and SCARED SPITLESS!!! It didn’t help that I understood NOT ONE WORD of what they said to me. Now, I’m the type that likes to know what’s happening, preferably before it happens, but while it’s happening is okay too. But obviously that was lacking.
There were three people in the room. One female and two males. The female seemed to be a “nurse” who was apparently trying (in vain!) to soothe me. Then there was a man who seemed to be a “doctor,” and another man – I have no idea what he was there for. Perhaps he knew what was coming. 😉
Suddenly the “doctor” produced from somewhere – like a magician, from behind his back – a syringe, that looked about the right size to bring down an elephant. I gawked at this THING. Imagine my anguished eyes as they followed this THING on its way to – YES – THE WOUND — and then ***PLUNGE*** HEEDLESSLY RIGHT! INTO! MY! BLOODY! PAINFUL! WOUND!!!
I think I screamed. No, I’m pretty sure I screamed. I also remember calling the “doctor” some very choice names. I will not print them here; this is a family blog. But I will say this: one of the names started with a B and ended with a D – and had an ST in the middle.
All three “medical” people were holding me down – since I think I was attempting to levitate out of the chair and fly back home across the Atlantic Ocean. As a matter of fact, if I could have, I would have. Who was the brilliant person who thought it was a good idea to freeze a wound by plunging a needle RIGHT SMACK INTO IT??????
Here’s the kicker. The “nurse” said, IN ENGLISH, as her (heavy, hairy) arm was holding me down across my chest, “You know, you shouldn’t call the doctor names like that. He understands English.”
I almost screamed again. Chastened, I thought better of it. The stitches were dutifully sewed and tied. I didn’t feel a thing.
The hospital wanted me to come back in a few days to make sure it was healing properly.