Recently, on Facebook one of those “get-to-know-you” lists was circulating. It had about 50 life events that you were just suppose to answer “yes” or “no” to, (been scuba diving, watched a baby being born, visited all 50 states, etc). One of the things on the list that I was able to answer “yes” to was “rode in an ambulance.” Usually, this would be a serious or sad event but my ambulance trip was more of a strange and embarrassing ride and, as it turned out, a really lousy way to meet men. Who knew, right? I hadn’t thought about that night for many years but it’s a pretty funny story so I thought I would share.
To begin this story we must first time travel back to the year 1983. My friend Patti I, two twenty-something singles females, were heading out for a night on the town. I was feeling pretty fancy in my favorite little red dress with matching red heels, my brown hair permed to within an inch of its life. Patti was sporting a silk blouse with shoulder pads and high waisted pants with pleats (1983, remember).
The club we went to had a DJ and a dance floor and catered to hip young singles like us. By ten o’clock it was pretty packed. We staked ourselves a spot at the bar and I had struck up a conversation with a really nice looking blond guy that I’ll call “Doug” (because I can’t really remember his name but I think he looked like a “Doug.”) I was drinking a lite beer and Doug had a scotch on the rocks in one of those really heavy bar glasses, the kind with the thick bottoms. Somehow, during our conversation, as he leaned over to shout something in my ear, (the music was very loud), the glass slid out of his hand, hit the tile floor bottom first, and shattered into a million pieces.
The infamous red dress on another occasion
Everyone in the immediate area jumped back, stunned looking down at the mess on the floor. The tiny chunks of glass looked a bowl of diamonds spilled across the floor. It was really quite beautiful. Then we noticed that there was blood mixed with the diamonds. At first we checked Doug’s hands and arms but when I looked back down I realized that I was the wounded one. Apparently there was a cut on the inside of my right ankle just above the shoe line because every few seconds a little stream of blood would shoot out all over the floor and down the inside of my opposite calf. This was both worrisome and macabre. I wasn’t in any pain but I obviously couldn’t stand there bleeding all over the dance floor.
The music was still blaring and most of the crowd was totally unaware that anything was awry. The area around me,however, was pandemonium. Patti came rushing over, a nurse in the crowd took charge and the bartender hopped from behind the bar and kind of pushed/carried me through the nearest door into the kitchen prep area. All the while, “Doug” was beside himself appologizing, hands waving around trying to figure out what he could do to help.
He followed our little group into the kitchen where the nurse quickly propped my foot up on the stainless steel counter putting pressure on the wound with a bar towel. I lean heavily against Patti, balancing on one heel, trying to keep anyone from seeing up my skirt. The club manager appeared from somewhere, took stock of the situation and, against my protest, called for an ambulance. I suppose they were worried about a lawsuit.
The next thing I knew, two very efficient EMTs were strapping me onto a gurney, my ankle covered in gauze. Before they wheeled me out, Doug pushed a napkin and pen in my direction, asking me to please write down my phone number. “Okay,” I thought, “This would be a really interesting story to tell our kids someday” so I quickly jotted my number, pulled the sheet over my head and tried to make myself as invisible as possible while they took me out of the kitchen, across the dance floor, out the front door and up into the waiting ambulance. The EMTs and Patti hopped up beside me.
It was close to midnight by the time we got to the closest hospital. I was feeling pretty foolish as I sat waiting in the emergency room cot. Even though my left leg was covered with splatter blood, the cut on my right ankle which was no more than an eight of an inch had stopped bleeding before we left the club. The doctor that looked at it said that the glass had probably nicked an artery explaining the spurting effect and the amount of blood. (Ewww!) He poked around making sure there was no glass in the wound, cleaned it with some antibiotic cream then covered it with a tiny square of gauze.
The drama could have ended there except that as the doctor was signing the release papers, we realized that we couldn’t leave the hospital because Patti’s car was still at the club. Neither one of us was going to call our parents at that hour so the most sensible option was my sister Linda. She wasn’t crazy about coming out in the middle of the night to rescue us either and she was even more ticked when she saw the size of my band aid!
Epilogue….By the next morning my ankle was slightly bruised and tender to the touch but otherwise fine. My stockings and shoes were history but the red dress survived to party another night. And what about Doug, you might ask? He did call the next day but only to make sure I was okay and to apologize yet again. I guess he didn’t feel that our shared experience was enough of a basis for a relationship.
I don’t know if this story has a moral but I do know that my sister loves to bring it up at family gatherings every so often just to remind me that I owe her. 😊