Personal

Did I shave my legs for this?

Apologies to Deana Carter for the title, but I couldn’t resist.

Warning: This post shows a (real) photo of blood and talks about an accident.

As you know, my life is a never-ending parade of glamour and high-society happenings. In keeping with this lifestyle, Friday night I decided to shave my legs.

While I was in the shower, I proceeded to… shave my legs. I got done with one and started on the next. I took the first swipe up my shin and went for the next swipe and started bleeding. Anyone who has shaved their legs (or other body parts) knows that the occasional nick is inevitable. This, unfortunately, we not a nick. I’m honestly not sure what it was, but a fountain of blood was squirting from my leg like something out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Within seconds, the shower was covered in blood from about knee-height down. It was A LOT of blood and I couldn’t get it to stop. One thing to note: I take blood thinners for an ongoing condition. Blood thinners will make you bleed more than “normal” and you are warned to be on the lookout for cuts and even bruises because they can become more serious while on this medication.

I stood there, naked, wet, and bleeding with no idea what to do. Naked, wet, and bleeding is not my prime decision-making time. I was pretty sure it was “only” vein blood (not an artery) but I couldn’t figure out why it was coming out so violently. After a few moments I figured that the bleeding was not going to stop while I was wet and naked, so I grabbed a wad of toilet paper, applied pressure, got into my nightgown (still wet) and ran for the front room and my phone, leaving a crime-scene worthy trail behind me. I tried to call the Kaiser (my insurance provider) medical care line, but the wait time was 25 minutes. In the meantime, I had switched to paper towels to stanch the bleeding and I had replaced four of them. I had elevated my leg, but the bleeding wasn’t stopping. I hunt up from Kaiser and dialed 911.

I was hoping that the operator would tell me what to do or, barring that, would send the ambulance to stick the correct kind of bandage on. The 911 operator was lovely, and did send the ambulance. But other than telling me to apply pressure, didn’t tell me much and asked A LOT of questions. No, I’m not pregnant. No, I haven’t had head trauma. My problem was that I had cut my leg while shaving, I explained at least three times. When the ambulance guys got there, they immediately brought out the gurney. I began to have an inkling that my hopes of a bandage were not going to happen. Ii begged them to just bandage it up, but I guess they don’t do that anymore. I asked them to grab my coat and wallet and got onto the gurney. Having never ridden in an ambulance, I was surprised how bumpy the ride was. By this time I was so stressed that my heart rate and blood pressure were elevated and once they got the monitors on me they were more alarmed than ever. Once in the emergency room where they could see me clearly in the bright lights, it became apparent I wasn’t going to keel over from a heart attack. They asked me to undress from the waist up. I quipped that it was my leg that was bleeding, but they weren’t terribly understanding of that point.

More questions (this time mostly about who I was, where I lived, and if I had insurance) ensued, but in a remarkable quick time the doctor came in. She removed the bandage the ambulance had applied, examined my leg, and said, “Where’s the wound?”

In the 30 minutes (or so) it had taken to get to the hospital and with the bandage on, the wound had closed. While the doctor could see the blood (see photo above) the nick was not visible. The nurse cleaned me up and then I had to call a cab to get back home.

The actual “what happened?” in this story is that I nicked a varicose vein. Everything that I have looked up since indicates that if I had just sat quietly for ten minutes and applied localized pressure, the bleeding would have stopped and I could have covered the area with a band-aid.

I thought the cab was expensive, but when I get the bill for the ambulance, it’s going to hurt.