Thursday, November 13, 2014

One Night, after a Training Meeting

"I'm going to drive home."

"Nooo, I think that's a bad idea; you come with me," someone said.

I'm a volunteer at the Basilica parish, and I am currently taking a six-session Leadership training program there.

I know Janice, the Director of Christian Life Ministries, and she delivered the presentation for the fourth session. She made some points about radical hospitality; that reminded me of a book I had read, and I wanted to mention the book to her.

Finishing a written evaluation of the evening, I was among the last to get up from the tables. Another participant was speaking to Janice, I waited, and then spoke to Janice about the book.

On my way to the double doors leading to the landing at the top of the five flights of steps, I said good night to Paula, and stopped to get some pizza leftover from dinner. I remember I closed only the lid of the box. The next thing I remember is being in the parking lot, realizing that my head is bleeding and deciding to drive home.

"Nooo, I think that's a bad idea; you come with me," someone said, as 2 or 3 people helped get me back inside the school. ( I believe the people included a Basilica security guard, other staff people and some fellow students. ) They sat me on a chair just inside the door; there was much excitement. Someone gave me a towel to stem the blood flow. I heard them talking about calling 911 and I did not wish to argue. I had trouble coming up with the phone number for Paula to call my wife. We blocked the doorway; we moved to an alcove, perhaps fifteen feet to the right of where we began. With help, I walked over. I was grateful to sit again.

By the time the ambulance arrived, my head was clear.  I clearly had no idea how I had navigated the steps from the third floor. They put me in the ambulance ( I recall having a pretty good time with them; we joked around and I found they have a pretty good sense of humor. ), took all my vitals, did an EKG, and found everything normal.

Once at the ER, I was able to tell three additional people that I had no idea how I had acquired the gash in the back of my head. Lots of blood work, more tests, including a repeat of the EKG and a heart monitor for a while, showed me to be completely normal, medically speaking.

I did, however, have that two-inch gash in the top left quadrant of the back of my head. The ER doctor ( who, interestingly enough, was married at the Basilica a number of years before ) sealed that wound with five staples, which he said to remove in a week. He also suggested … well, no, insisted, with a good-natured threat … that I see my primary care doctor in the next couple of days. When I agreed he agreed to discharge me.

After hearing this story, a friend of mine said, "Well, that's sobering." Indeed.

Innumerable people have said it: "Take nothing for granted; life is all gift, nothing is guaranteed." Not a one of their saying it impacted me as this experience did. Having no memory of traversing the five flights of steps to the parking lot and receiving a two inch head wound while so doing is sobering, scary, and reason to be grateful for every moment.

If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to

No comments:

Post a Comment