Who do you trust?
The following story is based on actual events, although some of the details might be inaccurate due to memory failure, the emotions are true.
“Hey, are you awake?”
“I am now.”
“Did I wake you?”
“Yeah. What’s up?”
“I’m sorry man, I was hoping you’d still be up. You have tomorrow off, don’t you?”
“No. I work tomorrow, but don’t worry about it. What’s up?”
“I’m really sorry to bother you so late, but I don’t know what else to do. Are you home?”
“I’m heading to your place. My head is bleeding pretty bad and I don’t have insurance so I don’t want to go to the emergency room.”
“Holy shit! What? Where are you now? Are you okay?”
“I think I’m alright, but I want to make sure. I’m driving to your place right now. I’ll be there in about 5.”
“Are you driving okay?”
“I’m almost there.”
“Call me when you get here.”
What the hell am I doing? How did I end up on like this?
My long neglected Jeep shakes down the road at two AM on a Friday, but for me, it’s still Thursday night. My right hand holds my wadded-up tee shirt against the back of my head. I can feel the wet blood on my fingertips. My left hand wrestles with the steering wheel as I try to keep this paint mixer on the road.
Why haven’t I gotten this jalopy fixed by now? Procrastination is just one item on a long list of bad habits that I’m in the process of addressing. Several of the items on that list have combined to bring me here – needing help from my younger brother in the middle of the night on a weekday. I’m such a great role model for him.
I pull into my brother’s apartment complex. As I park, I call him to let him know I’m there. With concern on his face, he meets me at his open front door. He guides me in and escorts me to a chair that he carefully placed in the center of the kitchen in order to get the most light. The chair is surrounded by towels that are laid out on the kitchen floor, just in case.
I take my seat, bow my head forward, and remove the bloody shirt from the wound on my head.
“You can tell it’s been bleeding a lot, but it’s really not that bad,” my brother says.
With some warm water and a washcloth, my brother cleans the back of my head. He dries it with a towel as well as he can without rubbing it. He puts some disinfectant on the cut and does his best to attach a bandage.
My injury turned out to be minor, but I didn’t know that when I decided to call my brother. For all I knew, it could have been life threatening.
My brother is not a doctor. He’s not a nurse, an EMT, or firefighter. Why would I would I go to him? Because he’s my brother. He doesn’t have any kind of special medical training, but he has my trust. I know that anytime, day or night, I can count on him –even if he has to work the next day. I know that if it’s serious enough he’ll take me to the hospital anyway.
As I’ve grown older, that kind of dependability seems to be becoming harder and harder to find. Fortunately for me, no matter how rare dependability becomes, I’ll never forget what it feels like. I have a one-inch long curved scar on the back of my head that will always remind me. It reminds me of family. It reminds me of how good it feels to have someone on whom you can rely. It reminds me of how much I love my brother. It reminds me that I can trust him with my life, and for all I knew at the time, that night, I did.
A little while after cleaning and bandaging my head that night, my brother looked at it and said, “Okay, it’s stopped bleeding for now. What happened?”
I proceeded to tell him the story.
Check back next week to find out how I got my head cut in the first place.