Knocked Out on Boxing Day
Updated: Mar 19
Every holiday has to have its story, and I am hoping that this gem from 2004 is it for me and Boxing Day. I found this photo lying around while cleaning my office and thought it would make a good T.W.O.W. Tale.
It all started with crawling under the gate…
Boxing Day morning we (Robert, Dakota and I) set out to peg a few pucks on the local outdoor pad (Trinity-Bellwoods Park). The rink is actually closed until the afternoon and you have to crawl in under the gate.
There were already a couple of guys on the ice and after awhile a couple more came on. Just enough to throw in the sticks and start a shinny game.
Feisty, but (not) cautious (enough)
Being the smallest (except for Dakota, who was 11 at the time) and least skilled, I was playing a feisty but cautious game, you know, poke-checking the forward and forcing the play rather than trying to carry the puck or out skate anyone.
Anyway, this big guy (230 lbs. 6′) has the puck and I skate down the middle and plant myself (a mistake, I know) in front of the net to see what was what. Just as he approaches me he bobbles the puck and pivots to regain control. In the action of the pivot he slams his shoulder into my face, breaks my glasses and knocks me out.
The only true memory I have of the event is the greenness of his sweatshirt filling my visual field until there is darkness. I crumple to the ice and slam my head.
Just like the cartoons, but not as funny
The pain of the impact brought me back to consciousness and to a blinding light emanating from inside my skull. Just like in the cartoons everything was doubled and fuzzy and moving around.
Apparently my short term memory was affected because I kept asking the same question over and over. I remember realizing that they were not going to let me get up. Robert told me to be careful because there was a pool of blood under my head, and I said something stupid like, “There’s blood!? Watch my clothes I don’t want a bloodstain on my new sweater!”
The cold from the ice made my blood congeal as it oozed out which apparently was interesting to bystanders because they all came for a look and a comment.
My 11 year-old son, however, was not as thrilled. I guess seeing your mother lying on the ice and bleeding from the head is upsetting.
Off to the hospital
I lay on the ice for 10 minutes while we waited for the ambulance, which got lost in the park. The guys could see it drive around looking for the rink and were waving their sticks but it took a few minutes.
The big guy was very cute. He kept saying sorry and how he had tried to catch me, and how his wife was going to kill him. I told him not to tell her but he hung his head and said he had to.
The paramedics come and look at my head and ask me questions. I do not want to waste my day at the hospital but Robert decides that it is for the best (turns out he was right), so off I go. It was my first trip in an ambulance.
I was a little bit nauseous and I think the paramedic was worried that I would throw up in his rig. Robert took Dakota home and met me at the hospital.
What does the “hockey type” look like, exactly?
It all went smoothly and everyone was pleasant, though they had a hard time getting that I hurt myself at hockey. When they asked what happened Robert would tell them that I had hit my head on the ice. Everyone said “there’s ice outside?”
The doctor said, “you don’t look the type to play hockey”, which was offensive to both Robert and me. I was glad when my blood spurted all over him as he cleaned the wound.
Robert and I laughed each time he put in a staple (I had to have 6 or 7 to close the gash). Blood would splash him and he got annoyed.
So then I had a CAT scan which proved, as I have thought all along, that I really do have a larger than usual brain.
Other than the tape and bruises, I’m fine
I got to go home with one of those stupid gauze wraps around my head, and Robert used fibreglass tape to repair my glasses. Of course we took a picture.
Other than a few bruises, some cuts on my nose and one eye, and the staples in my head I am doing ok. >My shoulders and tailbone are sore.
The next day, I wake up relatively fine and I am looking forward to my next trip to the rink.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t play my usual Sunday night game because my helmet would rub the staples. I actually was going to go but Robert finally convinced me by mentioning the level of bacteria in a helmet. No flesh eating disease for me, thank you very much!
The story is funny, but concussions are no joke
The interesting thing about a concussion is that you can think that you are lucid when you are not. I was sure that I was ok. However, aside from repeating myself, and not being able to retain the answer to questions, I lost several of the details.
Some of the pre-impact stuff is gone and today I have difficulty remembering the sequence of events. I don’t remember asking the poor guy who offered me a cloth for my head 3 times if it was clean. I do remember asking Robert, when I was sitting on the bench, if anyone was around because I wanted to cry a little but not in public.
And Dakota tells me that I made a couple of really bad jokes.
In the hospital I had this moment like a switch going on when some lucidity came back.
Today is a new day
Today I hope to go out and get new glasses. Dakota says I look like one of those nerdy guys in the movies. I don’t know, that could be my new look.
That is my holiday story and I’m sticking to it.