Back Around the House II: Look before you speak


It was a lovely day. Bill planned to be gone until after 3 p.m., helping Joe put siding on his home. I had lots of work I could do.

So I called my friend, Carole, and we decided we should go out for breakfast and shopping. We really feel this is just doing our duty. Someone has to keep our economy going.

When I returned home about 2 p.m., I was surprised to see Bill’s Jeep in our driveway. I figured he was pretty tired, so I just gathered all the bags up in both arms and struggled into the house.

I didn’t see him in his chair, so I assumed he was working on his computer.

“Wait till you see what I got you at the grocery,” I called as I put the bags down. I continued unpacking groceries and telling him what was new.

The phone rang. “I’ll get it,” I called as I dashed for the receiver. “Hello!”

“Hi, are you busy?” was the reply. It was our youngest daughter, Jean, who calls every now and then when she needs a quick babysitter while she runs some errand or other.

“Well, I’m putting away groceries. Why? What do you need?”

“Oh, okay. I’m out here at the hospital…” That wasn’t the first time I’d heard those words.

“I’ll come right out. Do I need to bring you anything?”

“Well, I’m here in ER with Dad,” she continued.

My immediate thought was she couldn’t be because I was right here at home talking to him. My second thought was he wasn’t answering me. But, be real, sometimes he doesn’t answer me, especially when he’s working on his computer.

That was enough of my thoughts without words to alarm our daughter. “Mom, are you OK?”

“Yeah,” I offered as I moved over to where I could see Bill’s silent computer in an empty room.

He really must be in the hospital. I didn’t even ask why. I just grabbed the book I’d been reading, told her I was on my way, locked the door and ran to my car.

On the way there it occurred to me that I didn’t even know what happened to him. Did he have a heart attack? Was he in an accident? What could it be? Apparently she hadn’t called our son the undertaker. This was good. Or had she?

Luckily they had just opened up the emergency room driveway, so I pulled right in and flew into the hospital. The receptionist asked if she could help me just as Jean stepped into sight. The clerk said, “Jean!”

They were old high school friends. I left them chatting and went to look for Bill.

Fortunately he was in the first room. Otherwise I would probably have poked my head into every room and astonished a lot of hurt and worried people.

His eyes were shut, and he wore a hospital gown as he lay there with his hands on his chest. I stood very still.

He opened his eyes, looked at me, and asked, “Why do I have to take off my clothes and wear this thing when I just hurt my wrist?

He was okay. “I don’t know. What happened?” I asked as I pointed to his swollen hand.

“I fell off the ladder at Joe’s this morning.”

“You’ve been here all day?” I began to feel guilty

“No. Joe wanted to take me to the hospital, but I told him I’d just go home and wait for you. So I came home. I took an aspirin and fell asleep. Then Jean called. She said she needed a babysitter for just a little while. I told her what happened and that I was waiting for you. She said if you and Carole were shopping I’d have a long wait, so she made me come out here with her.”

Well they x-rayed his wrist and pronounced him badly sprained, but unbroken. Then they splinted his wrist, gave us instructions, and sent us home to heal which he did in record time.

I’m not sure what he learned from all this, but I learned to look before I speak.

Author’s Note: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate July 19, 2000.

By Kathleen Floyd

Back Around the House II

Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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