Blood Trail


Here’s the culprit…Still believing he’s a prime specimen of 18 (he’s still very cute!) But that doesn’t mean he IS 18…

Whap!!  I heard it clear into the kitchen…the sound of metal slamming against something, and I knew—instinctively, the other ‘something; was my husband. I called out (as I do on any of these occasions):  “Paul, are you all right?”  Answer—nothing. I call again, this time with a bit more concern, and a shift where I put the name:  “Are you OK, Paul?”  Again—nothing.

Now, I surmise he’s either lying unconscious or admirably doing what I seldom can do:  Internalize his rage, so as not to pepper the air with invective (a.k.a. swear words.)

I rush in and discover what I pretty much suspected:  My husband had caught a body part in another mechanical device…This time it’s the hide-a-bed he pulls out for company. He’s holding his wounded hand and the place looks like a murder scene.

He’s basically always doing this in his later years, and on any given day, I can follow him around by the blood spatter on the floors or any errant object he happens to land on.

Why?  We blame two things:  (1.) His unalterable belief he’s still 18 and can do anything physical he used to be able to do at that young age and (2.) those darned blood thinners.

Two years ago he suffered a broken neck and neurological damage when he was struck by a truck on a mountain road in Asheville, NC. It’s taken him a whopping two years to come back from that fateful day with visits to specialists, physical therapy, etc. and I’m happy to report that now, he’s doing far better than he was. But he’ll never recover completely.

Residual effects remain, such as the coldness he suffers and the tingling in his hands.  Loss of feeling there creates some problems when he handles and fumbles tools, etc.

But it’s the recognition that he can’t do all things anymore that he refuses.

Last summer a neighbor came over, mentioning a giant concrete slab he needed to lift.  My husband was all set to jump in and help him until I said “No, that isn’t going to happen. You can’t do that to your neck (which is still fragile and in recovery.)”  He’d already forgotten the almost-year he was in a neck collar, limited from doing anything that put strain on the region.

But I hadn’t forgotten, for I was the one who squired him to all the therapy sessions…the doctor visits…

The other day we went to the beach with friends, an event we haven’t done in almost three years. As he attempted to get up from the sand chair, he lost his balance, went sideways, and was pitched onto the sand.

You see, the sand chair, being low, demands a person rise, with arms pushing up, equally, on both sides. If that formula isn’t followed, failure ensues.

In other words, this particular beach chair is a device for younger people, in that it demands upper body strength, agility, and a steady attention to both. It never brooks amateur dismounts.

The beach umbrella was another horror.  It was windy; he tried to fix it when it got stuck; and it came back and ‘bit’ him, again drawing blood. The culprit he blames for his current wounded appearance? “Those damn blood thinners.”

Because of complications from that neck surgery two years ago, he “died” and was brought back to life by staff. But during that time, his heart shut down…if briefly.

So, now, my husband-athlete who still ran 5k’s in his 60’s, must take meds to insure his blood flows freely.

What’s he now telling me he intends to do? Re-shingle the roof (after all, he did this, too, in his later teens when he worked for a roofing company.) He’s forgotten another drug he takes makes him periodically dizzy.

Lucky for him I never forget. 

We’ll be hiring someone else to re-shingle the roof.  I just won’t tell him.  Got a husband like mine?  Do tell…

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog,, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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