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Virgil’s latest saga: Conclusion

We pulled onto Interstate 64 from Corydon about 10 o’clock that night and merged easily into the 75- to 80-mph traffic, heading straight for the world-renouned Kleinert-Kutz hand care center at Jewish Hospital in Louisville.
‘Pull over,’ Virgil said.
‘Pull over, now!’ he said, commanding an immediate response. ‘I’m going to be sick.’
‘Put your head down and take deep breaths,’ I told him as I deftly maneuvered the car to a stop on the shoulder.
Dry heaves. It had been a long time since dinner, and he had gotten a pain shot moments before we left Harrison County Hospital’s ER.
‘Ohhhh … moan … groan … (expletive deleted) …’
Wisely, I kept my mouth shut. Never once did I complain about that table saw or say, ‘I told you so.’ Not once.
At Jewish, someone took Virgil upstairs while I parked the car. By the time I got to his room, he was in a hospital gown and appeared ready for surgery.
Then the questions began. Again. Apparently no one in medical institutions ever shares info, not even the insurance card numbers.
Harrison County Hospital did, however, send along the X-rays with us, so I guess we shouldn’t complain.
Still …
‘How did you do this? What time was it?’ asked a male nurse, removing the wrapping from Virgil’s left hand. Then, ‘Are you on any kind of medication? When did you eat last?’
‘Table saw. 8:30. Plavix. 5:30,’ said Virgil, not exactly his friendly, talkative self.
After the nurse finished filling out a raft of forms, nurse David left the room and my husband complained, ‘Don’t they tell each other anything? Didn’t we just answer all of this? When is somebody going to do something, anything, at least try to stop the bleeding? First they say hold your hand up, then the other says put it down; how about a stitch or two?’
Virgil’s getting sort of grouchy, I observed.
‘Now, honey. They just want to make sure you’re lucid.’
Next, a doctor came in and took a look. He studied the X-rays, peered deeply into the wounds and, of course, asked all those usual questions. Then, the diagnosis: ‘We think you’ve done some nerve damage; you’re going to need some surgery. Oh, no, I don’t know when. I’m not the doctor … ‘
An hour or so later, David returned. ‘Sorry, but I’m going to need some blood,’ he said, wielding a bat-size hypodermic needle.
‘Well, just help yourself,’ the amazed patient said, offering his injured hand, which was by now lying in yet another pool of blood.
David laughed as he deftly probed for a vein and in minutes had withdrawn a vial of blood and started an IV drip.
As he left the room, he stopped as usual at the computer station just outside the door. By now we had noticed that everyone stopped, however briefly, at that computer. It didn’t take long to figure out that the print out would be the itemized bill.
It was now a few minutes before the midnight hour.
‘When do you think they’ll operate?’ Virgil asked when David returned for more blood. ‘Oh, they won’t do it tonight,’ David said. ‘Probably in the morning.’
(If my skinny little husband had a chest, you would have seen it fall about then.)
‘Honey, just calm down,’ I said after David left. ‘They probably need to be sure it’s been 12 hours since you ate. They don’t want you to get sick.’
I can’t exactly describe Virgil’s look except this:, ‘If looks can kill … Instead, Virgil said: ‘Thank you, Madam Know-It-All.’ ‘
About 2 a.m., David skipped back into the room. ‘You’re in luck,’ he said. ‘They are going to do it tonight.’
While I waited in the lounge for them to get Virgil ready for surgery, I realized how lucky we were that Virgil hadn’t severed any of his fingers. That would have been disastrous. Several relatives of a fellow from out of town were anxiously awaiting the results of surgery when a doctor came in to report all was well. He told them they could get a room and some rest at the nearby Ronald McDonald’s House. I was glad we’ve given to that fund-raiser in the past. And I was mighty glad we would probably be back in our own home before long, safe and sound, so to speak.
After an hour or so, I was called back to Virgil’s room. He was out like a light, looking as though he’d just been through surgery. In a few minutes, he stirred, turned toward me, and asked in a pitiful voice: ‘You aren’t going to write me up, are you?’
‘Oh, honey, of course not,’ I said, and waited for him to shake off the anesthetic and become lucid.
Shortly after 3 a.m., David came in and wheeled Virgil, bed and all, out the door to surgery. I was sent downstairs to wait again.
Eventually, we did get back to our little house near Elizabeth. It was early in the morning, about 9:30, and the four fingers on Virgil’s left hand had been sewn up, and he is now mending just fine.
And so ends the story of the last time we stayed up all night. Together as usual.

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