A Lesson in Spatial Awareness

In case you’ve been looking for me, I apologize for not keeping things up to date. I’ve been in a coma.

It happened a couple of days ago when I was working in the basement on a cabinet that Diane requested I build to put above the refrigerator. There was one there before, the there was a tiny refrigerator under it so it fit nice. The refrigerator Diane wanted was much taller so the cabinet had to go. It’s been gone for 9 years and she wants it replaced. With something. With anything, actually.

So, we bought a door at the Restore Store that had glass in it and was just 3 inches shy of being wide enough and was spot on for the height. My task was to build a box on which to mount the door so it could be nailed to the wall.

While working up to this project things were getting shoved around in the shop and the new door fell over, breaking the glass. Thankfully, the Restore Store actually had two of the doors so I rushed right over and forked over another $2.75 for the second one.

Having both doors created an interesting situation because of the shape – one side was curved but the other one was square. Not curved on the outside, but curved on the inside in front of the glass. Diane asked if I could make both ends the same so I investigated the joinery and decided I actually could.

First thing I did was cut the straight section out of one door and the curved section out of the other one. I knew I could do it because the wood was not joined like normal cabinet doors, but with dowels. The goal was to make both ends square. It turned out to be a very simple process. I rejoined the severed pieces using a biscuit because they are move forgiving than dowels so I was able to line the pieces up just exactly right. If I remember, I’ll take a photo and show you.

After the door was glued up and started looking for 1/4″ plywood for the box I was going to make and discovered that it’s one items I didn’t have much of. While in the process of searching all the locations where I store wood, I found something that seemed like it would do the trick As luck would have it I had to bend over to extract it from the wood pieces that were trapping it against the wall where it was leaning. When I finally got it out I turned to my left and didn’t wake up until this morning.

I don’t recall what time of day it happened, but Diane said she got worried about me when I didn’t respond to her announcement that dinner was ready. Food gets my attention and I normally respond right away. She said she decided I was too busy to be bothered with food and went ahead and ate her portion while it was warm. I don’t blame her and probably would have done the same thing.

After eating, she said she went downstairs to see what I was up to and found me laying on the floor, blocking her path to her Girl Room. She noticed the dent in my head right away and dialed 911 for help. While waiting for the EMTs to arrive she said she moved me around a bit and discovered a small pool of blood under my head but, since head wounds typically bleed profusely, the small amount she found mad her think the injury probably wasn’t as bad as she first thought.

The EMTs confirmed her suspicion and she said they just shook me until I woke up. They said that was the best thing to do in a situation like this because giving any kind of stimulant could mask other injuries. A stimulant might also create a situation where the bleeding wound may increase in volume which was a bad thing.

I opened my eyes eventually, so it apparently works. Finally, she saw my eyes were open and quit shaking, loaded me up, and transported me to Portland for further review. I don’t remember any of this, of course. The doctors told me about it the next morning after taking some pictures of my head, looking into my eyes with those incredibly bright tactical flashlights, and conferring clandestinely in corners. Since they couldn’t find anything wrong mechanically, and I was responding to all their questions in a seemingly rational manner, they were on the verge of turning me loose. Then the hospital administrator rushed in and told the attending doctor that he was behind on his admission quota and admitting me for one more night would put him just over the line, salvaging the bonus he was counting on his new Mercedes.

So, they put me in a medically induced coma and told Diane that she should go home and come back the next day.

This morning they pulled out the IV, gave me back my blood-stained clothes and said I was free to go. Not knowing what else to do, I went to the waiting room, and there was my Bride. She gathered me into her arms and pampered me briefly as she asked me what it was I’d done. Not knowing, I couldn’t answer so she thought I couldn’t talk and started yelling for the doctor to explain why I was in the waiting room. Finding my voice, I explained that they said I was fine and could go home. So, home we went.

When we got home the first thing I did was eat the dinner that was still sitting in the microwave, keeping warm. After not eating for about 35 hours, I was hungry. Putting you in a coma does not stop you from getting hungry. It’s a myth.

Then I went downstairs to see if I could figure out what happened. Turns out the cabinet I removed from above that little refrigerator is the one I hung on my shop wall and is currently used to stow my routers. When I turned after the wood discovery, the side of my head ran smack into the sharpest corner on that cabinet, puncturing my head about 1/4″ deep, and causing considerable bleeding from the new hole about two inches above my left ear.

It’s 10:30 pm now and, except for a brief nap this afternoon, I’ve been awake for a long time. I’m tired, and I’m going to bed. First, I’ll admit that I embellished the events surrounding my injury just a bit but what you just read has to be far more entertaining than hearing that, because I wasn’t spatially aware of my surroundings, I whacked my head on a cabinet and it bled a little bit. Right?

Diane gave me ice and a sandwich and everything was good. There were no EMTs.

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