Monday, June 20, 2011

Head wounds bleed a lot

I was going to photograph my recently finished quilts and blog them today, but the best laid blogs of mice and men gang aft agley, and it has been one of those agley days.

I knew it was going to be a busy Monday.  I had plans for the two boys to clean out the garage and at least give it a thorough sweeping before we pick up the new car - we thought it would be today, turns out it will be tomorrow because it's still in transit now.  The old car is driveable as long as you don't turn on the A/C - I knew this going into the weekend and it wasn't an issue because of our weather, but what I discovered was that if you turn on the defrost to clear a foggy windshield, the car will also start to make a bad smell and smoke will start coming in through the vents and up from the hood.  And this will panic your youngest daughter.  But that was Saturday's crisis, not today's.

I've had a 55 gallon fish tank in the livingroom for several years now - mostly it was growing algae, but when I originally set it up I wanted to have a lush underwater paradise with lots of pretty tropical fish and healthy plants.  The plants never did as well as I wanted, and I haven't had the time to give it the maintenance it deserves.  I decided summer vacation would give me time to downsize it into one of our two 10-gallon tanks (we only have 4 fish at the moment), and change around some bookshelves in the process.  So I began the labor intensive process of breaking it down, siphoning off 5 gallons of really icky water at a time.  I brought up the first and slightly newer 10-gallon tank from the "coal cellar" storage area in our basement, vacuumed off the cobwebs, then went back for the second one which had all the gravel in it and some of the accessories.  Okay, so to get down from the coal cellar (really it was probably where they stored the sawdust that the old furnace burned) into the basement proper you have to step onto a cinderblock because the coal cellar's about 18" higher than the main basement level.  I had too much in my arms and didn't place my foot just right, so the cinderblock rolled.  All I could think of as I was falling was "don't let the aquarium break!"  And it didn't, but just when I thought I was free and clear my head landed on the concrete.

I have done my share of triage for head wounds (Secundus alone has had so many ER trips for scalp lacerations I've lost count: Quarta has three parallel lines of suture scars), and I knew the important thing was not to lose consciousness without summoning help first.  I'm actually rather pleased I thought of that in the pain and shock, with an (unbroken) aquarium sitting on my lap and my back resting against the spidery bare earth of the oldest part of the basement.  So I yelled as loud as I could "Help me! help me!"  No good.  Primigenitus and Quarta were outside cleaning the garage and riding a scooter, respectively, Tertia was at school, Secundus was still in bed two floors up and couldn't hear.  So the next coherent thought was "Head wounds bleed a lot," which is the main thing I've learned from all my experience with them.  I placed the (unbroken!) aquarium to the side and ran up the stairs and outside, where Primigenitus had his first opportunity to be a first responder.  He got me a bag of ice and clean rags and called Steve, who took it from there.  I was toying with the idea of having Primigenitus drive me to the ER himself, but it would have been his first highway driving and we didn't think either one of us was ready for that.  I probably didn't even need to go to the ER, since there were no stitches needed - but my primary care doctor didn't have time for me so that's where we ended up - $250 dollar deductible and all. At least I got a tetanus shot and a neurological exam for that.  And a dead spider fell from my clothes onto the white sheeted examining table.  There's literary symbolism in that somewhere, but I'm experiencing just enough cognitive dysfunction to

This is how much gravel spilled out of the (unbroken!) tank when I fell.

And this is what I need to clean... tomorrow.  The boys carried it outside themselves -- before they emptied the gravel and the last of the water.  And they didn't realize the top part can come off the stand, so they get points for muscles.  They also caught the fish and transferred them to the older of the two 10-gallon tanks - the one I saved!  If I had been home I would have used the new one, but this one had the gravel already in, most of it anyway.

And this is the condo-sized new home for the 4 fish (and 1 aquatic frog).  Note that it is unbroken.  That's really all I wanted.  Well, that and the time to reorganize the books and bric-a-brac that will now have to wait until tomorrow.

Anybody want a used acrylic 55-gallon fish tank and stand?  I'm thinking $50 or best offer, but I'll need to clean it first.  Tomorrow.  My head hurts today.

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