Once upon a time, Doug declared that he could build Amy a playhouse in a single weekend. Since Doug is a perfectionist/artisan, that project continues more than a year later. Sunday afternoon, while Doug fretted over making the perfect cuts in a tiny scrap of red cedar, I said “be careful” and wandered off to work on the never-ending laundry pile. I almost made it in the front door when I heard the scream.

I sent boy teen in the house to get a hand towel. Boy teen, who regularly experiences Chevy Chase movie quality nosebleeds, retrieved a white washcloth. Hugging the increasingly red washcloth and a bag of ice, fake calm Doug hopped in the van shrieking at me to drive while a 6-y-o wept crocodile tears because, “Daddy has blood on his face. He’s got red on him!” An expressionless 9-y-o sat in the front window like a statue.

I drove to the ER while calling Aspie Caveman on the phone to alert him that he needed to leave the basement and help his youngest siblings. “Why? Did something happen?” The second I hung up the phone, the patient began a monologue critiquing and directing my driving. “Get in the other lane. Don’t take that road. Turn here. Why are you such a slow driver?” Clearly, I was enjoying our first moments alone in days so much that I didn’t care about the blood his shirt was absorbing to create the worst tye-dye design ever.

Once in the ER, Doug’s brain switched to entertainer mode He concocted about three jokes out of the current situation and repeated them to every kind soul who inquired about his splattered and splashed bloody clothing ensemble. After running out of social media distractions and waiting room audience, he returned to the check-in desk to ask the exact same questions he asked them when we arrived. A nurse behind the desk glanced at the bag of melted ice and the finger that was no longer obscured. “Do you really think there’s a fingertip to sew back on that finger?” Doug missed the comment completely, but it was my cue to distract him from peeking at his mangled finger.

A friend called to check on Doug. “I stopped by the house to check on the children. Tommy said it couldn’t have been that bad since Doug unplugged the table saw before leaving for the hospital.” I called the house to check on the children. Boy teen was making the pancakes and sausage that he cooks on every Boy Scout camping trip. The 9-y-o spent the entire three hours we were gone drawing pictures of herself crying with the occasional Dad picture thrown in just for portfolio diversity. The 6-y-o forgot everything about the incident the minute his older brothers turned on Megamind.

Once we made it beyond the waiting room, the evening became a flurry of activity focused on adding insult to Doug’s injury. It started with the first nurse’s, “There’s nothing left to sew.” This was followed by a shot in the arm, a shot in the hip and three shots in the injured finger. There was some aggressive blotting to clean up the messed up finger during which I seriously contemplated vomiting. An x-ray resulted in, “Well, it’s broken, but the broken piece of bone must have been scooped right out of there by the table saw.” A phone call to the hand surgeon resulted in poking and peeking in the puncture wound to study the damaged finger bone. Somewhere in this violent assault on Doug’s body, Doug stopped joking and started to look like he might take an unwanted nap. He could have been trying not to vomit. Either would have been a perfectly acceptable response to the situation.

Doug perked up when the nurse bandaged his finger in some kind of sock condom, but only because the nurse applied the tape unevenly. We barely escaped the room without a major Monk incident. As soon as we made it to the car, Doug started sounding like himself again. “Why didn’t I have the video camera on the driveway? This would have made great footage.”

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized the 9-y-o was making videos with my phone at the time of the injury. I watched her video while every muscle in my body tensed up in fear of what might be on the video. What I didn’t prepare myself for, was the 9-y-o’s voice reacting to it.

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