Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's just a bruise, it's no big deal - isn't it?

Being married to nurse has its good points and its bad.
The good is you are living with a highly trained medical personnel you can run to for advice and healing.
More than once our living room looked more like an emergency room as my son and his skateboarding friends all lined up to have their injuries tended to.
One day, there was four of them patiently waiting to have their wounds tended to.
Skinned knees, elbows, scrapes, bruises and a variety of other injuries were treated by my wife who has been a registered nurse for 26 years.
She has worked in the real emergency room of a hospital in a small town we lived in for a while, she has cared for seniors, palliative patients and for a few years she specialized in wound care.
This is where she would look after people who just had an operation or injury and got to perform such lovely tasks as draining a wound, which is actually more disgusting than it sounds.
I learned many years ago not to ask her what she did that day because the answers are not conducive to keeping your dinner down.
Tales of seeping blood, puss-filled sores (my personal favourite) and a whole raft of maladies are discussed by her and her nursing comrades with the aplomb of someone chatting about the weather.
To them, it is just another day at the office. Meanwhile I am huddled in the corner of the room with my hands over my ears trying to think of puppy dogs and sunny days to get the horrid nursing tales out of my mind.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
But when you are injured, it is great to have an expert on wound care living under the same roof – most of the time anyway.
The other day I bruised my leg doing martial arts. As the most senior member of the club (in age, not belt ranking) it can be a challenge to keep up with the young pups as they bounce around the training area with the kind of energy and agility only youth allows.
On this particular day I took a knee to the thigh, creating a rather large, purple bruise.
In the club I train at, a bruise or a black eye is referred to as a souvenier and I have had many souveniers over the years.
Anyway, the young pup I was training with accidentally landed on my leg causing a bruise I casually mentioned to my wife.
ÒYou should keep an eye on that. It could cause a blood clot.”
ÒIt is a hematoma, and if your leg starts to turn red and swell up, you better get to a doctor. There was this one patient I had with a bruise on his leg, got a blood clot and died.”
It took less than a minute to go from me telling her I had a bruise on my leg to her telling me I could get a deadly blood clot.
Up until that point I just thought it was a little boo-boo. No big deal.
Now I have to worry about a blood clot making its way to my heart or brain and sending on a one way trip toward the bright light.
I am really quite confident the bruise is just an minor 'owie' and nothing to be concerned about. It is not the first boo-boo I have had in my lifetime.
But when you are married to a medical professional, they tend to look at the worst-case scenario so they are prepared for any scenario.
The downside to being married to a nurse is sometimes she really freaks me out with all the possible medical disasters that could happen. The upside is, she knows about all the  possible medical disasters that could happen.

copyright 2014, Darren Handschuh 

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