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I published this last year just to remind people about how dangerous the holidays can be.  Although we managed to get through the holidays fine every year when I was a kid, lately I've seen a lot of household holiday carnage.

If you're having company, take extra care.  Who knows CPR? Where is the first aid kit?  Did Grandma bring all her medication?  Is the sidewalk deiced?  Has the house been child-proofed? Have you put away your sharpest knives and put out a ginsu for you guests to slice up limes? Where's the fire extinguisher? Do you have cough medicine and anti-diarrhea medication for children?

Just to bring us up to date - Last Christmas, my former mother in law was found not breathing after being left alone for about 2 minutes.  She was always one of these people who pushed themselves and the whole family for at least a month getting ready for Christmas,. so it's probably not surprising that she'd have a heart attack on Christmas Day.  The family immediately started CPR and a 911 call brought them an ambulance that just happened to be driving down their street.  The EMTs defibrilated her and got her to the hospital.  I told my daughter that the odds of recovering from that are actually quite low, and, sure enough, after a month of ups and downs she died.

(from last year.....)

For the second year in a row, there was an ambulance in the cul-de-sac on Christmas Eve.  Nothing serious, just Grandma tripped over the dog at the neighbors. The grandparents had come to see their new grandson.

Last year was worse. We were away, but the neighbors were having a family Christmas Eve when the wife's brother had a heart attack at the age of 52... in front of the Christmas tree and all the kids and cousins. It was the proverbial  "massive heart attack" that hits someone in their 50's like a bolt of lightning. The paramedics pretty much declared him dead on the spot, in front of the victim's kids and the whole extended family.

I spent a couple Christmas Eves in the ER.  The first time was when my wife was pregnant and we drove to spend the holidays with the in-laws.......

She'd had some bleeding.  For those of you who are slow on the uptake, when I say "bleeding" I mean from her vagina which is supposed to only happen when you are not pregnant.  So that wasn't good.

We ended up in the ER. On the way in we passed a guy who had about 60 stitches in his face.  My wife said "Hey I went to high school with him...."

A small utrasound unit was used to look for the 6 week old embryo, but it could not be seen.  They felt that the embryo had probably implanted too low in the uterus and the pregnancy was not viable.  We were told to wait for the radiologist the next day, who would check again for the embryo before giving us permssion to go downstairs for an abortion.  An abortion on Christmas day?  Merry fucking Christmas indeed.

The hospital was half empty. I slept in a chair (my wife got the bed).  I dreamed......I dreamed that the radiologist took us down to the big ultrasound machine, that he could see the embryo, and that he told us everything would be OK.  It was about 7:00 AM on Christmas morning when I woke up.  I told my wife my dream and we both cried.  

About 9:00 AM we were taken to Radiology.  The doctor used the big ultrasound machine for about a minute before saying "Yep, there's the embryo.  It's about the size of a bee, and you can just see the heartbeat.  It implanted a bit low, but it shoud be OK.  The bleeding is just from the proliferation of blood vessels in the placenta.  Try to stay in bed for the next week."

It was just like my dream! We cried tears of joy and relief.  And we had our baby that summer. And the next Christmas Eve  we were all back the ER puking our guts out with intestinal flu.  And then we got divorced. But they still kept up the family traditional of Christmas Eve in the ER without me........

A couple years later I was staying at a friends on Christmas day.  We were all outside in the snow helping him hang a porch awning.  His neighbor was in their garage cutting some crown molding with a cut-off saw.

Suddenly his neighbor came running around the corner of the house clutching his hand.  While doing a mitre cut, he'd cut his finger to the bone.  My friends wife told him to get in her car so she could take him to the hospital.  I grabbed a clean towel from the trunk of my car and tossed it to him.   "Keep it!" I said as they drove off.  Later my friend's wife said "Thanks for the towel! Half way to the hospital he really started squirting blood!"  Later that day, he stopped by with his finger wrapped in gauze.  None of us were were feeling any pain, but he said "Man this morphine is good stuff!"

Anyone else got a Christmas medical emergency story?

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