Helen and I have been in L.A. with Helen’s family; Helen’s mom and sister and sister’s boyfriend from England, her brother and his family from Australia, the first time they have all been together for over five years.
We all went out for a surf lesson on a beautiful southern Californian day. Everyone was having a great day until …. I was paddling out from the shore and I saw my brother-in-law David catch a wave in front of me but far off.
He fell in front of me but still quite far away. I don’t remember but I guess the surfboard shot out from underneath the wave and the nose of the board hit me square in the lip. I came up from underwater knowing I had been hit and did a quick inventory; teeth all intact, nose not broken but there was a lot of blood in the water and something was obviously not right.
I looked up to see David; he took one look at me and his eyes grew to the size of frisbees and he started flapping his arms like a chicken, yelling “Chris is hurt, Chris is hurt!”.
I looked over to see Helen, mouth wide open and pale as a ghost as if she was about to faint. At this point Ian the surf instructor got to me. “Jump on the board mate, I’ll get you ashore.” I got on the surfboard stomach first, he jumped on the back of my legs and we rode a wave to shore. Ian sat me down on the beach, asking me my name and if I knew where I was. He took a long look at my wound, reassuring me it would be fine with a few stitches. I felt dazed, but fully conscious and it actually didn’t hurt that bad. I was trying to keep calm to stop the onset of any shock. It was a good thing I was unable to see the injury, as staying calm then would have been a lot more difficult.
We got to the car quickly and the emergency clinic was only a few hundred yards away. Ian knew the doctor by name, I don’t think this was his first rodeo with an injured student. Doctor Ferguson is the kind of doctor you would expect in Southern California. A woman in her early fifties, full make-up, long eyelashes, gold-rim glasses, tight white cords, a sparkly top and her small terrier running around the office. She was great. I liked her from the beginning and had full confidence in her. At this point I saw myself in the mirror for the first time, kind of shocking to say the least. I couldn’t figure out which piece of flesh was my lip or if it was even there at all. The nurse said “Wow, that’s one of the top ten lacerations I’ve ever seen.” Not the top ten list you want to be on. Three hours later and forty stitches total on the inside and outside of my lip and I was done.
Back at the house the Tapping clan took very good care of me; doting on me and making sure I had everything I needed. I’ve started my new diet of soup, yoghurt, vicodin and beer through a straw, no solid food for a while. Surprisingly it doesn’t hurt all that much. My face is sore, swollen and slightly discolored from the bruising, but it has been 48 hours and is healing very quickly. The biggest problem I have now is that I can’t keep my mouth shut so I’m constantly drooling. I’m in good spirits, Its going to turn out fine. Can’t do much about it now, damage done. What’s one more scar anyway.