A Cautionary Tale

"If you can't serve as a good example, perhaps you can serve as a horrible warning."

It was a morning much like any other on my corner of Katy ... which is to say hot and humid, with nothing but the promise of more heat and humidity to come.  With no afternoon rain storm forecast to break summer's sultry spell on the garden, I  sallied forth early to lay waste to the weeds attempting to overtake the corner bed.  

The weeding led, as it inevitably does, to some editing of the bed.  Manky Rudbeckias were yanked; the Tina Turner Bauhinia's unruly mane was tamed by some judicious pruning; and several Agave and Yucca pups were carefully separated from their mothers to be given homes of their own.    

I finally deemed my labors in that area completed, packed up, and headed to the garage, my thoughts focused on a cold bottle of a water and a cool shower.  Taking off my sturdy but lightweight hiking shoes, I padded into the house.  As I glanced out the patio door, I realized I had forgotten to water the containers grouped on that patio.  A few recent purchases, all planted in peat-based potting mix, were in dire need of H2O if they were going to live.  

My duty was clear so I slipped on a pair of gardening clogs and grabbed the hose.  Making my way around the patio and into the garden, I noticed that the pond was low on water and remembered that I hadn't fed the fish in a couple of days.  Laying down my hose, I traipsed to the garden shed, grabbed the pond conditioner and the fish food, and returned to the pond.  I dosed the pond and then placed the hose in its depths to begin the filling process, which would take several minutes.  

Not wanting to waste that time, I returned to the patio to grab a pair of clippers from my tool tote and began cutting back the water purslane. Planted in the gravel bog, the purslane was now trailing out of the bog, into the pond and even snaking its way over to the adjacent beds. One might think from the picture below that I was overenthusiastic in my pruning, but no.Water purslane is a resilient little bugger and I feel quite certain it will need cutting back yet again in a matter of weeks.

Since the pond had not yet filled, I decided to continue the pruning and move on to the purslane planted on the opposite side of the bog.  My morning in the garden would have ended very differently had I chosen to take the overgrown path to my right.  But I chose to round the pond from my left ... and a fateful choice it was.

In the picture above, you can see the water purslane trailing into the pond from the bog.  Just above the purslane, you can see a handsome green and black Colocasia leaf.  And above that, you can just make out something rusty.  No, not that large rusty egret looming over the bog ... the smaller, rounded shape to its left is what you want to focus upon.  

That, my friends, is a metal sculpture purchased on a trip to Colorado in 2008.  I found this feisty fish outside a tiny shop in Glen Haven and thought it would make a charming addition to the pond area here at Wit's End. And so it has.  It lost that charm abruptly on Thursday morning, however.

To return to my story ... I meandered around behind the pond, stepping carefully so as not to lose my footing. But a small stumble as I began to step over the fish was followed immediately by a flash of pain in my lower left leg.  I'm still not certain exactly what happened but as best I can tell, the fish's curved tail hooked my leg and tore downwards as I moved. What I saw when I looked down was both gory and gruesome.(Skip the next part if you're squeamish although I won't be too detailed.)

I will not tell you that I kept calm and carried on.  I started screaming at the top of my lungs for my daughter Hayley and began to hobble to the house, which is difficult to do when you're attempting to keep the edges of a huge gash in your leg together and hoping you won't bleed to death.  A few minutes later, we were on our way to a nearby ER, my leg on the dashboard with a towel wrapped around it and both hands still occupied applying pressure.  Once there, I collapsed into a wheelchair, stuck my leg in the air to reduce the bleeding and stayed like that until they checked me in and got me to a room.  

It was reassuring to see that the ER staff remained calm despite the ghastly appearance of my injury.  The nurse-practitioner who treated me measured the wound and pronounced it 9 cm (about 3-1/2 inches) long.  Further examination revealed that the cut had not reached the bone, just the muscle.  X-rays were taken to locate any metal flakes or bits and lidocaine injections were given to numb the area. May I just say how thankful I am for modern medicine? 

Once the wound was thoroughly cleaned out and another x-ray showed no metal bits left, NP Chris got down to the necessary repairs.  2 stitches in the muscle, 10 internal sutures and 11 staples later, I walked out of the ER, albeit a bit stiffly.  Since then, I've spent a lot of time on sofas and chairs with my leg propped up.  I've been fortunate to have very little pain and am optimistic that the scars will fade in time.  So much for a career as a leg model, though.

As for the offending fish, he's acquired a new name; prompted by one friend's comment that we could blame this on Mercury being in retrograde, I'm calling him Freddie.  He is soon to acquire a new location, still near the pond but definitely somewhere he is unable to reach out and hook me in future.  Earlier in this saga, I called him feisty but I fear four summers in Texas have turned him evil.  Clearly he misses Colorado and seized this opportunity to take revenge upon me for the move.  


Carol Michel said…
I'm glad it wasn't worse but am sorry it is at all. Send that fish packing back to Colorado!
Layanee said…
Oh my! That looks nasty although very neatly sutured. Who knew a piranha lived near your fish pond. I think you will need TLC for quite a long time.
David said…
Ouch! Or rather OUCH! I'm so glad you had someone home when this happened and had an ER just down the street. I've stumbled on rocks in my garden and even been stabbed by an agave on the way down. But I've never been attacked by my garden art. I guess we have something new to worry about! Freddie is the perfect name and it needs to be put in 'timeout' somewhere in the very corner of your garden. I shall be very careful on my next visit to Wits End. In fact, my opening question will be, "Uh...where exactly is Freddie right now?"
Hang in there.
Even knowing what was coming I was grossed out. I am so sorry and hope the pain and scar both fade and fade from memory soon.
Fairegarden said…
Oh dear, Cindy, I am glad you have such a good attitude about this, and have begun healing already thanks to modern medicine. May your pain be minor and the same for the scar. Freddie is quite cute, but in a devilish way. He needs to be penned up!
Rose said…
Oh my goodness, Cindy; that is quite a wound! If it had been me, I probably would have passed out immediately at the sight of blood and landed in the pond. Freddie looks rather malevolent to me--I hope you move him far, far away where he can't do any further damage.

Hope you're feeling better and back on your feet very soon!
Alison said…
Holy Moly! Look at all those staples in your Frankenstein's Monster leg! Couldn't resist gasping and groaning and shifting in my chair in sympathy as I read. I would have passed out straight away, I cannot take the sight of my own blood. It is such a good thing you had your daughter there to help you out.

I hope it heals quick and doesn't leave too big a scar. Although a scar will remind you that when your body calls for a sit-down and a bottle of water, listen to it. I sometimes give in to that urge to do "one more thing" and have been known to regret it.
Lori said…
OW, OW, OW! I was afraid to scroll down and see how bad it was! I hope you heal up fast and don't scar too badly.
Gail said…
So very sorry Cindy, but so glad you're on the mend. Freddie looks fierce and angry~Maybe a different spot in the garden would make him happier! gail
Carol said…
OMGosh Cindy! I thought my bent back past the quick thumb nail on Saturday was bad! I usually hurt my self in some way every weekend, but never needed stiches! I hope you are back on your feet soon! Sorry but that fish has an evil grin! He needs a whipping! Hugs Carol
Linda/patchwork said…
Oh, dear. That looks painful!
Glad there was someone there to help.
I agree...Freddie does have a bit of an evil grin...lol
Take care of yourself.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ouch! Glad to see you're healing up. Definitely move the fish. :)
Nancy said…
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!...need help weeding? Or watering?
Oh, so sorry that happened to you. Such bizarre things happen sometimes. Prop your leg up and get everyone to wait on you a few days.
owww... you poor poor thing!!! you've proved once again that gardening is indeed a contact sport...! glad to hear you're healing though. what a story! if i were you, that fish would've taken a concrete-assisted dive into the bayou for having such a guilty grin on its face.
take good care of you... xox
Cindy, MCOK said…
Thanks, y'all, for the sympathy & commiseration. Freddie will be relocated, probably to the bog. The rest of the staked rusty stuff will be secured more firmly in the ground, thanks to this incident. My husband planned to use my accident as a teaching tool during the safety moment at work ... gee, thanks, hon!
Anonymous said…
OUCH OUCH. Well, you managed to top my escapade of a month ago. I managed to stick my index finger into a running blender blade. (Long story, don't ask how). I managed to keep my finger tip, though, after a similar story to yours! 7 stitches, and it still hurts a month later. Said it will take months to heal all the nerve damage. I'm suspecting yours will be the same. A round of margaritas for all!
LindaCTG said…
Oh, I'm so sorry, dear one! You're trying to do the right thing and then, the bad thing happens. I know this will slow you down and I hope the pain eases soon. A billion kisses, Linda
stardust said…
What an accident! Like David, I’m relieved to know that there was someone to help you around to the hospital. The wound will heal with time, so sit back and relax in the comfort of the cool living room.

Thanks for your visit. I’m glad you were attracted by Japanese Alps. Mountain resort is popular and is well-organized both for protection and tourism. Even if you don’t climb, you can go to the highlands surrounded by 3000m-class mountains quite easily. Foreign tourists rarely visit such places including countryside. Japan is not all about Tokyo with skyscrapers or ancient cities like Kyoto and Nara where I live noe. Give my regards to your daughter.

VirginiaC said…
Oh Cindy, I have been lurking on your blog for a while now, and this time I feel compelled to post a comment.
I'm so sorry about your accident with that mean fish....he does have an evil-looking grin in my opinion.
I hope the pond wasn't overfilled, after the accident occurred.
We gardeners can't help but be doing a whole lot, especially when we see so many things that need to be taken care of.
Hope you're on your feet again soon, but please take it easy so that your foot heals completely.
With lots of "feel better" wishes,
Cindy, MCOK said…
Robin, next trip to Austin, let's meet for those ritas & commiserate over our misadventures!

Linda, I've been surprised by how little this has hurt from the beginning, certainly not as much as I expected. I do look forward to getting the staples out, though!

Yoko, good to see you again! I'm sure Hayley would want me to say Konnichi-wa back!

Virginia, I called my wonderful neighbor once I got to the hospital and she came over & turned off the hose for me. I was worried about my fish!
Helen said…
Owowowowowowow! But such impressively tidy stitchery!