I was going to start off the new year with a renewed commitment to writing – more frequent writing, more quality writing. I was going to write about that renewed commitment to writing and about how I’m going to meet that renewed commitment, but then my bathroom tried to kill me. That was something of a distraction, but it was a dramatic distraction, so I thought, why not write about that?
Here is what happens when your bathroom tries to murder you by exploding* your glass bath/shower enclosure:
1) You won’t realize what’s happening at first. This is probably true of any serious accident or mishap: the first few seconds are interminable, and it feels like you’re outside yourself, watching it all happen, watching it right up close but really just not getting it. It is certainly true when you’re naked and vulnerable and sitting in your bath. One minute you’re relaxing and contemplating the soul-settling effects of lavender; the next you’re sitting under a hailstorm of glass – great sharp, flesh-piercing shards – dropping guillotine-like upon you and all you’ll think at first is goddammit this is going to ruin my bath. Then you’ll see all the blood, realized it’s yours, and start screaming.
2) You will start screaming, even though one of your cardinal parenting rules is ‘try to avoid screaming.’ It’s kind of hard to not scream when you’re sitting naked in a pool of blood with big pieces of glass sticking out of you. I promise you, you will scream.
3) If you’re very, very lucky, you will have a spouse or another able-bodied adult to rescue you. (I was very, very lucky.)
4) And make no mistake, you will need rescuing. It is very difficult to remove oneself from a vast pile of broken glass, especially when you’re naked. One reason is, you’re injured: you don’t get through a wall of glass shattering over you without getting badly cut. Another reason is, you’re sitting in a pile of broken glass, some which is still sticking out of you. Every move cuts more. (Are you wincing? You should be wincing.) Another reason still is, there’s still a partial wall of broken glass separating you from the outside, glass-free world. You’re naked and you’re trapped and it’s a Bad Scene. You need someone to remove you, very, very carefully.
5) That someone will also need to calm your screaming children. (Children will usually scream if you start screaming. Also if you are covered in blood.)
6) That someone will also need a lot of towels. To create a safe exit zone, and to stop the bleeding.
7) There will be a lot of bleeding. Even if you’re very lucky, like I was, and no vital areas get hit. There is a lot of blood in the human body, and the skin isn’t exactly a thick cover for that blood. You will never doubt horror effects again.
8) You will FREAK THE FUCK OUT about whether you were hit in vital areas because HOLY SHIT THE BLOOD.
9) See also: ALL THE SCREAMING.
10) Basically, you won’t be able to wait until you’re out of the wreckage to check that you weren’t hit in vital areas, and to deal with some of the worst cuts, because (if you’re like me) you won’t be able to handle bleeding like a stuck goat and also what if you CAN bleed out from non-vital areas? The Walking Dead is not definitive on this point, so how can you be sure? You’ll need to use some of those towels.
11) IF your able-bodied adult gets you out of the glass wreckage (and my case – spoiler alert – he does), that able-bodied adult will need to immediately check you out to confirm that a) no vital areas were hit, and b) any larger pieces of glass are removed. You will still be naked. You will have stopped screaming and will probably only be sobbing intermittently. You will begin thinking about the fact that you have not shaved your legs or any other relevant parts of your naked and now bleeding body.
12) Every towel in your house is at this point soaked in blood. You will have to be covered in sheets. You will insist on this, even though this will cause sheets to be ruined, because now that you’re pretty sure you’re not dying you can worry about your nakedness (and your unshaven legs.)
13) Getting clothes onto your slashed-up body presents its own set of problems. Great swaths of you are swaddled in towel or sheet or other fabric, and it’s painful to move. But you’re pretty determined to NOT go to the ER naked except for sheets and towels, so you make your spouse figure it out. (It involves giant sweatpants and giant t-shirts, and you WILL be grateful that you haven’t yet KonMarie’d that shit out of your house.)
14) Yes, you will have to go to the ER. Your bathroom went serial killer on you and it shows. Never mind that you’re still bleeding – you hurt. It hurts, a lot. You’d probably expect that – we all wince instinctively at the idea at being cut, and these are a lot of bad, bad cuts – but it hurts more than you expect and also what if the bleeding doesn’t stop?
15) Your spouse will have to carry you to the car, because it turns out that glass can hurt you in more ways than cutting: it’s heavy and parts of you are hurt beyond the cuts and oh hell you can’t walk. Pro tip: Have him carry you like Luke carried Yoda, piggyback-style, because then you can think about Star Wars.
16) You’ll have to use a wheelchair at the hospital, and because your hospital is in Hollywood, the admitting nurse will also be an amateur comic and will make a joke about ‘taking a seat – oh, wait, you already have one BA DUM TISH.’
17) You will have to get a tetanus shot. You will have to get stitches. You will have your wounds cleaned and it will hurt like a motherfucker. (You will say that out loud, because fuck it, it HURTS.) Getting stitches will hurt. Getting those stupid glue bandages on the lesser cuts will hurt more, because they don’t numb you for that and they still have to ‘pull the skin together’ (EW EW EW) and it HURTS. Your spouse will remind you that you went through worse with the birth of your second child and you will not appreciate it.
18) You will be very, very aware of your unshaven legs.
19) You will come out of the whole thing swaddled in bandages and hobbling on crutches and numb with painkillers and worrying about the fact that your entire stock of towels is now soaked in blood and needs to be replaced (do you know what bath towels cost these days?) But you will also be grateful. Because it could have been so, so, so much worse. Because the shattered glass didn’t hit anywhere that couldn’t be fixed. Because the shattered glass didn’t hit your neck or your wrist or your abdomen or your head. Because your husband was home and could rescue you. Because it wasn’t one of your children in there when it happened (It was ONE HOUR before their bathtime. What if you hadn’t decided to have a bath just then? What if it had been one of them? You will obsess over this. You will be madly grateful for what didn’t happen. You will be reminded that there are always ‘didn’t happens’ for which you should be grateful. You will have a new perspective on this kind of gratitude.)
Because you’re okay, really, for the most part, and ‘okay for the most part’ is way, way better than the alternatives. Because holy hell, accidents can happen, and coming out of an accident more or less okay is always, always, a gift.
20) You will never, ever get inside a glass enclosure again.
*’Exploding bath/shower enclosures’ is a thing that happens, apparently. When we got to the ER the doctor – another comic – said, ‘maybe it was a poltergeist. [BEAT.] Nah, we get this sometimes.’ If you Google ‘glass bath enclosure shatter’ you’ll get all kinds of unnerving stories and maybe never want to step inside an glass-enclosed anything ever again. But if you ask me, that’s for the best.