One day, I decided to surprise my wife, Katie, by working on one of her projects – repainting some benches for a Sunday School classroom made up of very short people – hero status here I come!
I felt good, with my Parkinson’s disease resting in the background. I went to the hardware store and bought a quart of red paint and a quart of blue. When I got home, I embarked on the repainting procedure by placing a bench on a worktable in our basement. After I did the bottom and legs, I flipped the bench over – but it escaped my grasp and rotated lengthwise with a twisting, twirling motion as it fell to the floor. Meanwhile, I attempted to regain my grip on it. On the way to the tile floor, the bench took the newly opened quart of red paint with it. Somehow, in the melee that followed, the quart of paint hit the floor and spewed red paint everywhere including my face and head.
This was not one of those “slow-motion” incidents. It happened quicker than the blink of my eye. I suddenly realized that my eyes were burning and I couldn’t see anything but blur. I took a step to head for the bathroom to wash my eyes out, but slipped and fell in growing slick of red paint. With my arms and parts of my clothes splattered, I got up. Felt a soft thing on the floor. I presumed it to be a rag and wiped my feet on it, then stumbled to the bathroom. I left red marks on the wall from feeling my way down the hallway. I managed to find the sink, where I rinsed my eyes out. Once I could see through the chemically induced fog, I called my Dad for a ride to the Emergency Room. Meanwhile, I changed clothes to avoid paint transfer to his car seat and called the ER to forewarn them that this creature due to arrive soon is covered in red paint, not blood.
At the ER, they ended up rinsing my eyes with saline solution and sent me home four hours later. During this time, the paint set up. I looked like I had glossy red latex hair and facial makeup – quite a sight!.
Upset with the whole thing, I failed to take advantage of some great opportunities. For example, the office gal came in for info not knowing what to expect. My appearance stopped her entrance cold. I told her it was paint. She sighed a sigh of relief and got her info from me. But, when she first looked at me I wish, in retrospect, that I would have said in a whisper, “You can see me?”
After discharge, I met a lady coming down the ER hallway from the opposite direction. Her eyes got big and she stared intensely at me – another lost opportunity. I could only imagine her reaction if I had said to her, “Can you see me? Would you give a message to my wife?”
Oh, and this whole episode actually could be considered a surprise for Katie. She ended up working patiently and persistently to save my hair from amputation. My mustache also survived! She helped with the cleanup operation in the workroom, too. In the end, she turned out she was the hero. Surprise!