emergency room

Awakening

March 15, 2021

   Carol and I had a “gentleman’s” (and the quotation marks may become more self-explanatory as the blog goes on) bet that I could not pull this story off in a socially acceptable way. So if you’re reading this, I’ve pulled it off, at least as far as Carol might be concerned.

   So here goes.

   The plan on our way (late in the day as it was) to Spring Training was to stop in Palm Springs for dinner, and then plow on ahead to a late (10:00 p.m.) arrival in Mesa, AZ. We never really found the city (another GPS anomaly), but Carol had to pee. At a gas station, we both got out, and immediately I felt something very wrong in my nether regions. Earlier that morning (and I’m treading ever so lightly upon propriety here) I had experienced a very bloody stool. Now, as I walked toward the bathroom, I was very keenly aware that something quite unexpected had expressed itself in said nether regions. I felt as if I’d been sitting in a swamp. The significant blood stain that had accumulated on the seat where I’d been driving for more than two hours confirmed my worst and most mortifying fears. Carol, being a woman herself, and having raised two daughters, looked at the all-to-familiar stain and said, “Hmm.” (Yes, I am aware that one kind of blood- a woman’s- is natural and the other – a man’s- is not, but what difference does that make the first time you see it right in front of you is my point.)

   I, of course, was freaking out, thinking I was suddenly bleeding to death. It was just the man in me, just as Carol’s “Hmm” had been the woman in her.

   “What do you want to do?” Carol asked, already well-versed in thinking of tried and true ways of removing blood stains from cloth seats.

   “Well, I don’t want to die at an AM/PM in Palm Springs,” I said hysterically.

   Instead of turning around and driving two hours back to Lake Forest (my idea, based on no “and then what” consideration at all), Carol’s idea of maybe Googling “Kaiser Permanente facilities nearby” might be a way to offset the certainty of my imminent death, and salvaging the getaway weekend we’d planned.

 I told the discharging nurse that I was “confident in my masculinity” to accept what I needed to make the trip a success, though I did impose on Carol to make the necessary purchase for me.

   The Palm Springs area ER confirmed it was what Carol somehow knew (through related experience of giving birth) and what I had believed to be utterly impossible to be: I was not going to die, and all I needed was some items of personal hygiene of which I had only heretofore been both blissfully and perhaps chauvinistically unaware. I told the discharging nurse that I was “confident in my masculinity” to accept what I needed to make the trip a success, though I did impose on Carol to make the necessary purchase for me.

   I believe the experience has helped me grow as a man. I will never again dismiss the shame or mortification felt by a female (especially a tweener experiencing her first) for a blood stained couch cushion, sheet or article of clothing suddenly appearing and in public as demeaning, diminishing or devaluing in any way.

   And I know this. To be married to a woman who will, without comment or judgment, help fit you for your first sanitary napkin as a man is to know who the truly superior gender is.

   I used to say I could only imagine the ultimate pain and joy of childbirth. Now I think I know why it’s women, and not men, that gets the chance.

   Where is that Hallmark Channel, anyway.

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