I hadn’t realized how much he had wrapped my head with a layering of gauze until I was dropped off at my building by the cab driver. I saw my reflection in the revolving doors as the white gloves powered the panels which pulled me into the lobby. It hit me as did the voice of the Doorman, “Craig. Craig. Are you alright?” I had the role. I was the lead. Frankenstein.
I turned the key in the door. I was home. Finally. I’m safe. I hear the familiar voices of my Boys and feel their wagging tails against my legs. They were happy that Daddy had returned. I put my bag down, took off my overcoat and went into the bathroom. I laughed at the figure I saw in the mirror as I undressed my head. Was this really necessary I thought. I was wrapped in yards of gauge. Round one, two… , five, six and still unwinding. I guess the gauze took my mind away from noticing, but when I looked down at the sink I saw red flakes. I had washed my hands before unveiling my head and the sink was wet. The flakes seemed to expand and join each other in the droplets of water. And, then a small pool. Red. I ran my fingers through my hair. It was stiff. Crusted. Red. More flakes fell to the sink. Red. The river of blood which had run through my hair before my client had stopped the bleeding had dried between each strand. As I continued to try to loosen my hair, more flakes. Red. This wasn’t working I thought. I covered the stitched seam and sealed around it with surgical tape. I couldn’t get the flakes to stop. I needed to shower. As the stream of water hit my head, the clear water turned red. The river started again but this time, went clockwise down the shower drain. Red.
I was exhausted. This wasn’t the Friday I had expected. I felt scared. The spasms in my back had increased. I was stiff. I put on my gym shorts and a tank top. Tomorrow is Saturday. I won’t be able to see my own Dr. until Monday. What will I do until then. And, what about work. An Oncologist. How do I find an Oncologist. My back. What do I do about my back. What happened today. I have to Google “soft palate.” Did anyone in the Office finish my client’s transaction. I was scared.
I woke up in a panic. My pillow was wet. I was soaked. Sweating. It was dark and I startled Balthazar. He wanted to lick my face. The sterile pad on my forehead was moist. I wasn’t myself. I went to the bathroom to look at my forehead. I changed the bandage. The wound had already started to heal. There was discharge around the stitching. I had to fight my body to move my arms. My back was really complaining. My feet were cold. I thought, I know I wasn’t outside enjoying the sights of the holidays. Why are my feet so cold. I put on socks.
It was late Saturday morning when the ringing of the phone woke me. I picked it up just before the call went to voicemail. It was a recording. A woman’s voice was telling me I had been referred to NY State Worker’s Compensation. This was because of a work related injury which occurred on Friday, December 2. This was a courtesy call to let me know that my case number was… Wait! Don’t say it yet. I don’t have paper or a pen. Wait! I need a pen. But, it was too late as I couldn’t move. I told my legs to get out from under the covers. I told my feet to move onto the floor. I waited for my arms to move and pull with the rest of my body so that I was upright and walking toward my desk. I waited. It was too late. The dial tone had stopped. The line went silent. There was no longer a call.
I had become a “case.” I didn’t know what that meant as I hadn’t heard the rest of the call.