Far too many of us are taught, from an early age, that most of the time, it is a good thing to bite your tongue….

By Christopher Green

For me, at least, last Saturday night was not one of those times.

Ah the dog days of summer, or rather my dog days of August.  Everything has seemed to slow down for me. The heat and humidity always wreck havoc on my breathing as duly noted in the last post. But August has always been the month, the month when I anticipated the coming school year, but still had my toe in summer time.

Of course, I would never in a million years have admitted that I was anxious to get back to school, but there it is. I was always an eager learner if not the most agreeable student.

So what happened last Saturday night? And what’s all this about biting one’s tongue?

First of all, I am now on Plavix. It is one of the drugs that was prescribed after they discovered the partial blockage in one of the arteries surrounding my heart. As you may or may not know, Plavix is a blood thinner. As my heart doc told me, it makes the red corpuscles, an archaic term according to our friends at Wikipedia, a little slick so that they can slide over blockage.

I immediately thought of rain slickered red blood cells slip sliding all around my circulatory system. Unfortunately, from my rudimentary understanding, this slickness slows down the clotting process that stops us all from hemorrhaging with every little nick.

So I was at my sister and brother in law’s house last Saturday night. As I mentioned before, they have this great swimming pool and have been overly generous about Laurie and me stopping over on the weekends for a dip. It has been especially wonderful since the heat index for the past few weekends has hovered in the high 90’s.

It has been a very sultry month.

Being together so much this summer reminded us of all about the good times we had early in the decade, back before I took sick when we would spent almost every weekend together, just sitting back enjoying the good weather and the good company.

My BIL’s son, Elliot and his girlfriend Margaret were over. They were getting ready to head off to Spain for two weeks so we gathered for one last visit before they left.

A good time, no it was a great time. It was beautiful night. The Indians were on the radio. The pool was just right and we had just finished eating roasted Corn on the Cob and a perfectly grilled Tenderloin Roast.

It was mouth watering tender.

So they we all were, having a good time and just being silly when all of a sudden I had to spit. It was closing in on dusk so I had to look carefully, but because of the metallic taste, I just knew there was some blood involved.

Of course, when I am involved, there will be blood.

I automatically zoomed to thoughts of the emergency room and a nasty lung infection. Normally I would have just stood there and spit again just to see if I was really bleeding. But being that my little sis is a nurse practitioner and my BIL is a doctor, I thought it best to point out my bleeding to one of the professionals.

Since my BIL was having fun with Elliot and Margaret in the pool, I went back inside.

My sis immediately knew something was wrong.

I told her I just spit up some blood. She rushed me into the bathroom, I spit into the sink, and it was almost all blood. It was horrible.

God love my sis because she immediately went into professional mode and dropped the sibling thing like that and assumed command.

It took a few harrowing minutes, but it we soon discovered that I had bit my tongue. But here is the rub, the damn thing kept on bleeding. A lot of bleeding. So much bleeding that my sis had to break out her supplies and try to induce a clot with this stuff called Celox. Since part of her practice is to handle wounds, she had a few samples at hand.

But even though this stuff that has been used extensively on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to keep severely wounded soldiers in good enough shape to make it back to get worked on, it took almost a full hour before I was able to leave the Bathroom and rejoin the party.

This was scary and then really annoying.  What would I have done if, heaven forbid, I wasn’t at my sister’s house? Was the Plavix really worth it?

For once in my life, I bite my tongue and all hell breaks loose.

It is all a bit ironic, this turn of events. Especially if you have known me for a long time.

For most of my life there were far too many times when I should have bitten my tongue, clamped my mouth shut, but I never seemed to be able.

You see I was, am, I guess, cursed with a passion to speak out to defend myself or to speak out when I think there is something going on that is just plain wrong. Always have and perhaps I always will.

Looking back on my life, things might have been different for me had I been able to stop the verbal flow by just biting the tongue.

Of course, there were times when not biting my tongue had interesting outcomes.

Like the time I told the High School Vice Principal that if he swatted me he could do irreparable damage to me because, you see, I had this overgrown vertebrae in my lower back and if I was jarred hard, like what could happen if I was swatted, I could be permanently damaged.

I don’t know if he believed me or he was just plain weary from all the aggravation I had caused him over the years. I do know this, I did not get swatted.

In my defense, I was just sick and tired of being swatted for usually just being me. I was not going to take it anymore. Curiously, things changed for the better after that special after school conversation.

There was another time when I was younger when I wished I had bitten the tongue. I think this time my actions did irreparable damage to our new family.

It was the first time my mom and stepfather took us on a joint vacation. We were in Erie PA, up by Presque Isle. My mother had a brother, we had cousins, and my stepfather could drive back and forth from his Car Repair Shop back in Cleveland.

I think it was the summer between seventh and eighth grade. My stepbrother was with us and we, of course, got into it now and then. We were both about the same age and both pretty strong willed.

It was the second night we were there. My stepbrother was out at the swimming pool and I was coming out to get him, so we could go out to get something to eat. Of course he splashed me and I let go with a very loud Mother F******.  So loud that the manager asked us to leave.

We had five days left in our vacation. I was ready to be punished but my mom wanted to wait until my Stepfather came back from Cleveland.

Now this was an important outing for them. We had kind of settled in as a dysfunctional family and they really wanted to try and make it work.

When he came into the room and demanded me to take off my glasses; I defiantly said no. I refused to take them off since I knew he was going to slug or at least slap me silly. It was at that moment, when I saw the hatred in his eyes that I knew we were never going to be like the Brady Bunch.

I guess he was honor bound to the code that prohibited hitting a guy wearing glasses. I think I knew that. In that way, he was very different from my real dad who smacked my mom on more than one occasion.

If I had let him slap me, allowed him to take over as my father, things probably would have been different. As it was, he packed us all up and ended the vacation right then and there. My brother hated me because he wanted this to work. My sister cried all the way home. My stepbrother sulked and my mom and stepfather did not say a word.

I really think my actions that night damaged our very new family. Not earth shattering damage because the personalities involved in our cobbled together “family” would never have allowed a normal home, whatever that may be.

I just could not accept him as my father and I sure wasn’t going to let him slap me around.

This just turned out to be another in a long line of if only Chris had just bitten his tongue.

Of course, all of our lives are filled with would of, could of, should ofs. I just tend to dwell on mine, especially late at night when the house is quiet and i am sucking on an inhaler.

Irony. I guess it really does happen outside of the contrived plots of novels.

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4 Responses to Far too many of us are taught, from an early age, that most of the time, it is a good thing to bite your tongue….

  1. Connie says:

    Hi, Chris,
    As you can see I’ve signed on for the lung transplant ride. I so much enjoyed visiting with you and Laurie this past summer. I say past as once school starts I consider it to be fall although our weather does not indicate that. I love to read what you have written as it tells me what your life was like growing up and of course I can relate to allot of the stories written. Other then my sibs, you are the only family member that I’m in touch with, and hope to continue so. You don’t realize till after the parents are gone that they were indeed the glue. Looking forward to more of your stories and admire you for the way you seem to handle all that comes your way. Say hi to Laurie, Amy and Stephen. Wish you the best on your umcoming doctors visit.

    • It was wonderful seeing you again. I think about the days when we were all together with an almost Walton Mt. kind of sepia thing. I will send those pic of what the homestead looks like now. Amy and Steve were really sorry they couldn’t make it. But if you come back on a fairly regular basis, we should do some kind of mini reunion. BTW, in that vacation, we were suppose to get together with your family but my obstinance nixed that idea….

  2. Thom says:

    I am very glad you were at your sisters and she was able to stop the bleeding. That sounds terrifying. I hope there are no other scary incidents, and I hope that med does everything it is supposed to do. (((Hug)))

    As for that incident when you were a kid, well, I can’t blame you for not letting your step-father hit you. Who would want to let themselves get hit? Even if you had kept your mouth closed, There would have been some other incident, some other time instead. You can’t blame yourself for the shape and makeup of your family being what it was.

  3. Margaret says:

    Hi from Spain!
    That was scary what happened on Saturday. I heard your sister say something about cauterizing the wound and I imagined, for some reason, when Luke Skywalker loses his hand. Apparently lightsabers are great for cauterizing wounds.

    Also, we are having a great time so far and are currently in Seville. Our hotel is right across from a huge cathedral and we have great views from our rooftop pool and terrace. Unfortunately it is hovering in the upper 90s weather wise. But it is worth it for these sights, food, shopping and more. OLE!

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