One night I nearly lost my life in a bed linen accident. I had replaced a worn bedspread with a bargain-priced one which was stitched together with clear plastic thread that looks like fishing line. The stitches immediately began to pull and break until long, stiff threads stuck up all over like a vagrant’s week-old beard. By the sixth or seventh time that I got on my knees to trim the loose ends with scissors, I considered laying it on the lawn and driving a riding mower over it.
One night I awoke choking and desperately gasping for air. I put my hand to my throat and discovered that a long length of plastic thread from the top hem of the bedspread had wrapped itself tightly around my neck during the night and was cutting off my oxygen. I dug my fingers under it, snapped the thread, and took a deep breath. I could just imagine the next day’s headlines: “Thrifty housewife nearly strangled by cheap bedspread.”
I hated to throw out a brand new bedspread. I considered putting it on the bed in the guest room, but I wasn’t sure what the legal ramifications would be if one of my guests were choked to death by a bedspread that I already knew to have homicidal tendencies.
That was not the first time that I was injured in a bedroom accident.
One morning as I was getting ready for work, I saw that the bedspread (this was a different one) had fallen on the floor. I stood at the foot of the bed, picked up the bedspread by the bottom edge and flipped it into the air so that it would settle itself neatly atop the mattress. Only as I flipped it, it hit the decorative ceramic knob at the end of the chain attached to the ceiling fan. The knob swung away from me on its chain then swung back in a graceful arc and…whack!… it hit me right between the eyes and I went down as if I had been shot. It left a huge egg on my forehead for days. Apparently bedspreads “have it in for me.”
My next weird accident happened when I was sitting at the kitchen table doing some mending on my sewing machine. I dropped the sewing scissors. As I grabbed for it on its way to the floor, it stabbed me on the inside of my left wrist. The pain was excruciating. The sight of the scissors sticking out of my wrist, the blood already starting to flow, was like a scene in a horror movie.
I jerked them out (which I found out later I should NOT have done), grabbed some paper towels and used pressure to stop the bleeding. I did not go to the hospital.
The next day, my thumb did not want to function. Uh-oh. I called my doctor, who told me to go straight to Urgent Care, where I got X-rays, blood work, and an exam. I also got a physician who apologized because she could not stop laughing during my story. She said it was the funniest injury-at-home story she had yet heard.
She did not know the half of it. She did not know the bedspread stories or about the time I slammed my left breast in the freezer door. I got an armload of frozen foods out of the freezer at the top of my refrigerator at home. Because my arms were full, I bumped the door with my shoulder to get it to swing shut. As it swung past me, the vertical freezer handle caught my shirt and the top of my bra and a large piece of flesh and then slammed shut. It left me dangling from the freezer door like a side of beef in a meat locker. I shrieked with pain and dropped all the freezer goods and freed myself. It left me with two dark bruises on my breast which looked suspiciously like the pinch of an amorous lover.
Not all my weird accidents result in injuries. Some just result in humiliation and embarrassment.
I was cleaning my kitchen one morning when the doorbell rang. At the time, I was in my bathrobe, using a sponge and a bleach solution to whiten my old stained laminate countertops. I put the sponge down and opened the door to find my neighbor, who wanted to borrow something.
I remember that she seemed very uncomfortable and as she spoke, her eyes kept dropping to my bathrobe. Gee, I thought, hasn’t she ever seen another woman in a royal blue velour bathrobe? It was very modest.
I gave her the item she wanted to borrow and shut the door. When I glanced down at my robe, I saw that as I had been leaning over the bleached counter with my sponge, the bleach had taken all the color out of my robe. Not all of my robe. Just two large, perfectly round, solid white circles right over “the girls.”
They stood out against the royal blue velour like a pair of headlights coming at you on a dark country road and were about the same size.
I started to call her back and explain, but she was scurrying across the road as if she were in a hurry to share this intriguing piece of gossip with the rest of the neighbors.
Screw it, I thought. As the Bonnie Raitt song goes, “Let’s give ’em something to talk about.”