I am out of commission for a week or so due to a bout of stubbornness (or was it stupidity?) over Labor Day weekend.
Here’s the story: My son had finally worked it out for three of his college buddies to spend the weekend with us at our home. My husband, Mike, and I had crammed our pantry full of food and had made plans to take them on a day hike in the Tahoe wilderness.
That Saturday, amidst the happy chatter of our son and his friends, I stood in the kitchen and quickly piled sandwiches into a backpack for the hike. Preparing to leave had taken longer than expected and everyone was anxious to get on the road. We checked the ice chests, day packs, protein snacks, and the water bottles before heading out the door.
Mike stopped as we got to the car at the bottom of the driveway, “Wait, do we have the first aid kit?”
I looked up at the house. “Oh . . . we don’t need one. I mean, we never have . . . Let’s just go, it’ll be fine,” I said. He gave me a long look–which I ignored–and we climbed into the van.
We buzzed up the hill in two vehicles. The four guys followed us in their F-150 dual cab, music blaring. In the van, Mike and I enjoyed some quiet while our daughter sat in the back seat, tunes streaming through her headphones.
It was a perfect California day, clear skies, low-80’s as we exited the highway and followed the signs to the mountain lake to which we would hike. The dusty, pitted road snaked deep into Tahoe National Forest and we bumped along for some time before finding the remote trail head.
Finally, we climbed out of our vehicles and transferred essentials to our back packs for the long hike to the lake where we would eat lunch. Everyone was prepped and ready. I knelt to tighten one of the laces on my hiking boot and just as I stood, someone gave our van’s stiff, hydraulic back hatch a heave-ho to close it and–
The blow knocked me back several steps. “Ow!” I pressed my hands over my left brow bone. “Ok, that hurt.” The pain started to build as I straightened up. “That really hurt.”
Mike and my son stood before me. “Move your hands,” Mike said, leaning in for a better look. My son blanched as I took my hands away. Mike stepped back, muttering under his breath. “No first aid kit. I knew it!” He looked at me, “We need to go back; you’re going to need stitches,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Crestock.com
“No way. It’s ok, right?” I asked. My son moved closer, his face inches from mine.
He examined the gash on my forehead, looked at me, then back at the cut. “Uh . . . “He hesitated and looked at me again. “Well . . . “
“It’s fine, right?” My voice was firm. Insistent. We had planned for over a month for this weekend and a stupid accident was not going to sabotage it. We were going on the hike. I was going on the hike.
His eyes met mine, “It’s white, really white. I think it’s the bone.”
I hesitated, the truth clear before me, I needed stitches and may have a decent concussion. “Put a bandaid on it. I’ll be fine.”
And you guessed it; despite a period of intense dizziness and nausea, I hiked to the lake and back out again.
Yes, that’s me: Determined. Stubborn. Prone to stupidity. A make-it-happen personality who has been paying for that poor choice ever since. Because I did indeed need stitches and I sustained a very “decent concussion” from which I’m still trying to recover.
So, if you want to avoid the path of stupidity, listen to the wisdom of others–
–and never, ever leave your First Aid kit behind!