Wednesday, April 18, 2012


THAT WHICH SEPARATES MAN FROM THE LESSER FORMS is his ability to take common items in his environment and creatively utilize them as tools.

This, teacher-wife attempted, Tuesday afternoon, employing a student desk in her classroom as a ladder in order to reach the far, high corner of a bulletin board. Children off to PE, she reasoned, this would be an okay time to break the rule. At least that’s what she reported to the paramedics. Personally, I’da come up with a better story.

Catastrophic results were miraculously avoided. Fire personnel checked her out as I arrived at school. She was refusing to be tied to a backboard and a young man was gently probing her neck and back to assess tactilely for fractures, swelling or other signs of out-of-jointedness. There were none. The gurney came with an adjustable section, one that could be tilted up for the comfort of the passenger. Thus reclined, she enjoyed the fourteen-hundred-dollar, five-minute transit run to Kaiser.

PEOPLE SPEND A LOT OF TIME and energy bitching about health care. Kaiser (and, more than likely, most health care facilities) gets a black eye more often because, quite naturally, patient and family expectations exceed reason rather than for anything Kaiser personnel do or do not do. On this Tuesday afternoon, the ER was pretty quiet – not at all like the moments several years ago – also a Tuesday, as I recall – when I visited with chest pains while the older person in an open-curtained room down the way succumbed to a fatal coronary. “Better get next of kin in here,” someone said, as compressions were ceased and that curtain was drawn. I thought: I don’t know how these people muster the strength to show up every day.

No, yesterday’s emergency was only an emergency because it was necessary to ensure no structural damage occurred as teacher-wife cascaded to the floor of her classroom. X-rays proved such. Yesterday’s care was excellent: more than 90% of the folks in the world might expect under such or any circumstance. “Call if you need anything,” attending Dr. Lee said, extending a warm hand upon her discharge. Then he winked and assured us: “It’ll hurt more tomorrow than it does today.” Thanks, Doc.

PROPHESY FULFILLED: Today she rests at home, lying covered by a blanket on the davenport in the front room, taking prescription strength Motrin and rubbing a concerned and attentive black lab-mix’s ears. Both the drug and the dog (Edward) share equally in pain relief therapy. Bruised and scraped more than her backside – she has a doozey of a strawberry across her back – is her ego. “This can’t be a workers’ comp claim,” she claims – and she’d shake her head if it didn’t hurt so damned much – “it was my own stupid fault.”

I make it a practice never to disagree with my beloved. There is no point is starting now, when she’s so down and out. Besides, tomorrow will be a better day – the following day even more so. The injury was blessedly minor when the consequences rightfully could have been pretty dire.

Lesson learned.

Note:  The drawing herein represents an example used by former area schools assistant superintendent for incoming staff at “boot camp,” and does not depict the actual situation in this story.  But it’s a cute picture and it makes its point.

© 2012
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. That would have been a cool thing to see! Glad Ms. D suffers mostly from only wounded pride, the illustration may be an embellishment of reality but it makes for much better story and adds a nice touch to teacher Ms. D's embarrassment. How much trouble are you in for actually posting this for viewing by the many fans of CotORP?

  2. She is laughing along with; but she WILL get even.

  3. In defense of my sister, may I just point out that you and your ilk tend to ride beasts of many horses which have but two points of contact with the earth and are prone to lose a firm grip on said earth which results in much sliding and road rash.

  4. Tim: The Church will not dispute your point.

  5. Oh - so sorry for teacher-wife Dave! May she recover quickly. Great cartoon to accompany post and just made me laugh (ruefully)