When I had gone to bed early with the dogs, determined for victory against recent bouts of insomnia, Posey, suddenly jumped off the bed and bounded down the stairs giving Paul, who was nearly dozing in the wing chair while listening to music, the “I have to go, NOW,” look.
“You need to do business?” I heard him ask amid the strains of Ravel’s requiem. “Alright, let me get the leash.”
I settled back against my pillow, grateful not to have been the one going out in the damp night air and was just pulling up the covers when a cacophony of crashing and smashing erupted from downstairs, as if Paul was suddenly engaged in a saloon brawl.
“What the—“ I said, leaping out of bed and running to the landing where I saw him hovering on his hands and knees beneath an antique side table whose top had been split in half. “What happened?!“
“I got tripped up over the leash,” he gasped. “I’ve hit my head.”
The explanation wasn’t necessary as big droplets of blood splattered the floor. I grabbed a roll of paper towels to staunch the flow coming from a nasty gash between his eyes, instructed him to lie down and deposited an ice pack on his forehead.
“Did you hit the corner of that table?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he muttered.
“That’s solid oak,” I reminded him. “You split it in half! There’s no way you don’t have at least a concussion, not to mention I think you’re going to need stitches. How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Who’s the president?”
“I can’t answer that.”
“Because you don’t know?”
“Because I do know.”
“Look,” I said, exasperated. “Get up, keep the ice pack on your face. We’re going to the hospital.”
“Oh, great,” Paul sighed. “That means then we’re gonna have to go to Walmart and everyone’s going to stare suspiciously at you because they’ll think you hit me in the head with a claw hammer.”
In the end, he didn’t need stitches, just tape and adhesive gel (not, I should point out, the Gorilla Glue he had suggested before we left the house) and thankfully, his scans all came back clear. He was discharged with a stack of ‘After Visit’ summaries and a pounding headache. It was well past midnight and I couldn’t wait to crawl back into bed. That dream was quickly snatched away as I was informed by his nurse that, as he was concussed, I was to wake him every two hours to make sure he was coherent and his eyes tracked evenly.
“I couldn’t even wake him during the Northridge earthquake!” I exclaimed. “He’s the heaviest sleeper on the planet. I might end up giving him another concussion, just trying to wake him up.”
“Welp, you’re just going to have to find a way. It’s important.” she shrugged.
“I suppose this is going to be your next column?” Paul remarked, still lying on the gurney, his face still covered with the ice pack.
“Of course not, honey.”