Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

Living Life in the Country As A Writer, Photographer

Dearest Readers:

Now that I can find a bit of humor and laugh again, I have an important message to share.

Sunday, October 22, 2017 started with my husband sleeping in again — like he does on the weekends. I checked on him, just to make certain he was A-OK, just like I do every weekend since his heart surgery, February 4, 1998.

Caring for the dogs, I decided since I had less than four hours sleep again, I would go back to rest while watching TV. Setting the sleep mode, I closed my eyes, hopeful I could sleep. I did not.

About an hour later, something told me to get out of bed. Occasionally, I have these little voices telling me to do something, so I threw back the covers and got up. I turned my curling iron on, ready to style my hair for the day. Opening the door, I saw my husband in the bathroom. His face was covered in something – just what, I could not tell. At first glance I thought he was coloring his hair and the color had slipped down his face, or maybe he was working on a Halloween mask? No. That can’t be.

“What are you doing? You’ve got hair color all over your face.” I said. “You look like something from a horror movie.”

“It’s blood,” he mumbled. “I’m not coloring my hair. I fell and cut my head.”

Grabbing a pile of old towels, I tossed them to him. Thick globs of blood were on the bathroom floor and tile. The bathroom rugs were covered.  The shower curtain had a hand print of blood. The walls, covered with blood. The sink. Blood. Blood everywhere! I had no idea how he cut his head, nor did I know how much blood he lost.

He attempted to stand. “I’m gonna shower, to get this blood off of me.”

He fell back down, fainting.

I rushed to get the cordless phone, calling 9-1-1.

The dispatcher spoke slowly and calmly to me, asking several questions:

  1. Was he awake?
  2. Where is he located?
  3. Is the front door unlocked?
  4. Can you get a cloth and place it on his head?
  5. Is he responding? Are his eyes opened?

I answered all of the questions. When Phil came to, he argued with me for calling 9-1-1.

“I ain’t going with E-M-S to the hospital. All I gotta do is stop this bleeding.” He said, his face and the back of his head covered in blood that had coagulated.

Little did I know after he cut his head, he went back to bed. Yes. Back to bed, with his head on several pillows and BLOOD everywhere. Why didn’t he let me know he cut his head and needed some help? Good question! Sometimes I think men must have their brains attached somewhere else. You can decide where I’m referring to. My husband is a gifted guy. He is self-taught in technology and he can repair computers, but — when it comes to common sense???

The dispatcher remained on the line with me, letting me know the first responders were on their way. Telling my husband to STAY where he was, I went to the front door. The fire truck and EMS drove by. I rushed outside. Phone in my hand and waved to them, letting them know they were passing our home.

Moments later, the paramedics gathered equipment, a gurney and other bags and rushed inside. I shared what I knew about what happened, including that my husband failed to let me know he had injured himself. I stepped aside.

Next, a police officer arrived. By now, neighbors are coming out to see what is going on. I answered questions, remaining outside while the EMT’s worked on Phil. Because the injury was a head trauma, Phil would be transported to MUSC Trauma Team. I gave an EMT a list of his medications. A long list of medications, I might add.

By now, it was after 11:00am. Those of you who know me understand how I ALWAYS wear makeup and have my hair styled EVERY DAY. This day was different. Because I was so tired, I hadn’t styled my hair. My face was completely nude of any makeup. My neighbor, a thoughtful, kind woman, suggested she could do my hair.

“I don’t have time,” I said. “I’m going to MUSC to be with him. People will just have to understand. This isn’t a normal day.”

When they brought Phil out, his head was wrapped with gauze. A neck brace was on his neck. His color was so pale. I was thankful I called 9-1-1. The monster inside my husband could’ve bled to death. A head injury is not something to ignore. After the vehicle carrying my husband to the hospital left, I rushed inside to put my hair up and gather my things. I totally forgot to gather anything for Phil, including his dentures and glasses. Definitely NOT  a normal day! On the way to the hospital, I prayed and prayed that the cut on his head was not as bad as it looked. I was afraid he’d cut from the crown of his head to the back of his head. After all, blood was everywhere, including coagulated blood in his hair, face and clothing. He looked like he had dressed up to be something really gory from a Halloween, or murder movie. ONLY – it wasn’t Halloween! No wonder the police came. They were probably making certain this call was not related to domestic violence. NOT IN THIS HOUSE!

Arriving at E-R, I was told to sit down and someone would come for me. The head trauma team was working on Phil. I sat down, opened a book to read, discovering my eyes were filling with tears. I choked them back. A few minutes later, I was allowed to see Phil. I touched him. Some of the blood had been cleaned up, although his head was still covered with blood. A doctor introduced himself telling me Phil had about a two-inch cut on his head requiring three staples. They were waiting on a room for him to be admitted. I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful the cut on his head was not as horrific as it looked.

“I ain’t staying in no hospital tonight. I’m going home,” he said.

I touched him. “You’re staying here. You need to be monitored.”

After a brief discussion, I reminded Phil his bed was covered with blood and he could not rest at home until the bed was changed and disinfected. Reluctantly, he agreed.

After a long day at the hospital, I arrived at home about 7:30pm, knowing I had a lot of cleaning, disinfecting and unexpected laundry to do. Removing the sheets, the top sheet and fitted sheet were stuck together. My neighbor suggested I needed to use hydrogen peroxide to get the blood out. Much to my surprise, it worked! I washed four pillows covered in blood. All of the blood came out. Later, I washed the mattress protector and mattress pad, discovering these items do protect mattresses. Not one spot of blood was on the mattress! At 12:47am, I crawled into bed, exhausted.

Phil was discharged Monday, staying home from work Monday and Tuesday. Today, he says he feels fine. I’ve suggested the word fine did not have his name next to it! Fine, he isn’t.

Hopefully, this weekend will be a better, quieter weekend. I could certainly use the rest and less drama in my life. As for Phil, since he is on blood thinners, he bleeds a bit too easily. I’ve never seen so much blood in my lifetime and pray I never do again. He asked me if I took photos of it. I did not. Just who would want pictures of so much blood?

Last night, we shared Phil’s story at a Halloween party. “But you didn’t dress up,” someone said to me.

I smiled while thinking, well you should’ve seen both of us on Sunday. Phil was a Halloween monster with blood pouring from his head, and I suppose I was the nude-face Barbie!

I will be happy when Halloween is over! I’ve seen enough coagulated blood to last a lifetime!


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