Monday, November 30, 2009

Dog Day

The boys were busy showcasing all of their many scars to my Aunt on Thanksgiving Eve - I'm sure much to her delight because who doesn't want to be caught in a scar competition between brothers - when I held up my middle finger and said to my Dad, "Hey - you wanna see my scar?"

The chuckle between us was understood, for we both knew what scar I was talking about.

"You know," he said leaning in close, "It really is a funny story."

"Yeah...NOW it's funny." I replied.

Peninsula College, 1993.

That dog had been wandering around campus all day long. Just wandering and wandering like a - well, like a lost dog. For a while, it seemed like it had latched onto the crazy math professor, adopted him if you will, and followed him as he sprinted from one end of the campus to the other. But I think it was just onto the scent of his real dog, the ratty ugly little excuse for a dog, that was busy peeing in the shrubs and had taken his eye of his master for just one minute.

One minute is all it takes.

I was waiting for my Dad to come pick up what would be the first of many carloads of stuff to move home for the summer. It's amazing how much stuff one college student can accumulate in 2 years, inside a cramped dormitory room. But accumulate (I like to refer to is as collect) I did, apparently, and it would take no less than 3 carloads to get me and all that stuff home, finally.

I saw the dog wandering over from the edge of the parking lot - looking forlorn, sad and basically lost. He was probably feeling rejected by the crazy math professor and his tag-a-long mutt, who knows. But he seemed harmless, you know, like most dogs who chose to spend their days sniffing back packs and Birkinstocks on a college campus are.

Although I am a big fan of dogs. I am not a big fan of Poodles, of any kind. In fact, I can't even believe they are in the same class of animal as Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds. It just doesn't seem right. Poodles are overgrown rats, with bad perms. There is nothing remotely appealing to me about a Poodle, not even those ridiculous bows that their owners put in their hair to make them cute. I'm sorry, but no amount of fabric is going to make a Poodle cute. You can shave their fur into any shape you want, it's still a Poodle and it's still ugly.

And this Poodle was no exception.

Surprising even myself, I felt a soft spot in my heart when the Standard Poodle sauntered (I swear, he was sauntering) up to me as I stood there waiting for my Father. As any person with half a brain knows, if a strange animal walks up to you, the first thing you do is let him sniff you by offering your hand before attempting to pet the animal - even if it's a Poodle that you don't really want to pet in the first place because who on Earth wants to pet a stinking Poodle anyway? Mostly I think I was impressed with his size. I'd never been nearly eye to eye with a Poodle before. This was a new experience and if I'd learned anything during my first 2 years of college, it was to embrace new experiences with open arms - in this case, an open hand.

And just like that, he bit me.

Sure, you saw it coming. But I didn't. I stood there, just as my Dad had pulled up in his car, probably looking as dumbfounded as I would have had I just seen a Big Foot walk in front of me. My Dad did what Dads do - he grabbed my hand, more specifically the finger (had to be the middle, flipping off finger of course), and applied pressure with the ease of a medical professional.

Except my Dad isn't a medical professional.

And he faints at the sight of blood.

I'm sure you can see it coming now.

We were standing next to my car the first time he lifted his hand from mine to see if I was okay. Suddenly, I was carrying him. Okay, not literally carrying him, but he slumped over onto me and the hood of my car - all the while still gripping my mangled finger in his hand. He almost lost consciousness that time...almost. Keep in mind, my Dad is 6'2". I am 5'6".

I quickly learned that all those stories my Mom had told about my birth were true and I decided we had better get him (and me) into the dorm as soon as possible.

So we began to walk, and he slumped again, but this time he went all the way down. I tried to soften his landing on the pavement, but he still managed to bang his head. I know I was immediately surrounded by friends and somebody called the ambulance (I only found out 20 years later through the magic of facebook who that person was - so thank you Jason) and my Dad woke back up again just as the EMTs were pulling up.

They assessed him, took a look (hardly a glance) at my finger and loaded him in a gurney.

"You'll have to drive to the hospital," they told me.

And for the second time that day, I'm sure I looked as if I'd just crossed paths with a Big Foot (it was the Pacific Northwest after all). I have to drive myself to the hospital and he gets to ride in the aid car? I thought. I just got bit by a dog! I could have rabies! Where the heck did that ugly excuse for a canine wander off to anyway?

So, a friend drove me to the hospital, not too far behind the ambulance carrying my Dad. I rode shot gun, clutching and applying pressure to my middle finger the whole way there, which was about .5 miles from campus. Port Angeles is a lot of things, but a big town it isn't, not by any stretch of Stephenie Meyer's imagination.

I was squeezing my finger so hard that I had lost all feeling and I was, even though I'd never experienced even an inkling of dizziness my entire life, afraid of looking underneath for fear that I'd find myself face up on the road with my eyes trying to look inside my brain, just like my Dad had a few minutes earlier. But mostly, I was just afraid for my Dad. I didn't understand and I hadn't ever seen him faint. Not even the time when he stuck his hand underneath the lawn mower and came running into the kitchen holding a blood soaked towel. My Mom sent me out to the yard to look for fingers - and of course, there were none because he hadn't severed anything. And if he came close to fainting that time, I wouldn't have known because I was so busy doing that my Mom had told me.

Something about my family and fingers...

Anyway I was worried about my Dad and couldn't wait to get out of the car and into the hospital to see if he was ok.

When they escorted me into the area where he was getting a tetanus shot (for bonking his head on the gravel), everyone in the room turned and looked at me wide-eyed like I had a scarlett letter taped to my chest. Or maybe they thought I was a Big Foot (doubtful).

"So you're the one responsible for all of this," the doctor said laughing.

I couldn't believe a doctor was laughing at me.

"That would be me," I said raising my right middle finger.

In the end, I didn't get stiches. The cut was to the bone, but too jagged to stitch. I was sent on my way with butterfly bandages, a splint, and a scolding never to do that again to my poor Father from the ER doctor.

My Dad was sent on his way with a tetanus shot, a bruised ego and strict instructions from the ER doctor to never do that again.

We vowed not to tell my Mom until my Dad had made it home safely, for fear she'd send the calvary to bring both he and myself home from the most unsafe place on the planet (it was a wonder I'd survied for 2 years already). If you know my Mom at all, you know that "caution" is her middle name.

And I still don't like Poodles.

Other {Write} of Passage participants can be found below:


Anonymous said...

Of all the topics you could have chosen to write about today.. this one cracks me up! Thanks for the memories.

I have always worried about all of you when I'm not there to protect your every move.. now that you're an experienced mom you know why.

It never stops! But at least you have your very own EMT.


SugarBritches said...

Hey that is a great story! I mean you even referenced Twilight.

Anyways, I don't like poodles either. I know you're an Aussie lover as well, so I'm almost ashamed to claim my little hybrid rat dog, Roxy. She's sweet though, for a lap dog.

Summer said...

LOL That's hilarious! Thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

Very cute. I'm not sure who was more mortified - you or your dad. I'm with you, poodles are a waste of a bad haircut.

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

This was funny. I can't believe your dad was fainting! On you!

BTW, I met you way back when at a Seattle Mom Blogs thing (at Purple)... Hi!!