Monday, February 12, 2007

The Pit and the Pendulum: A Contest

One of these stories is true:


1. How we met...

Fifteen years ago when I was in graduate school in history, I found myself in the emergency room a couple of days before Valentine's Day with abdominal pain. A young man in a short white coat walked into my examining room. I lamented, "Another in the long chain of medical students and residents who have come to learn from my case of simple appendicitis...." Because I was learning to be a teacher and because I have a very high pain threshold, I must have seemed to be a good patient to introduce to students: someone willing to answer their questions again and again. The fact that the teaching docs knew I was getting free medical care because it was my university's hospital must have made their decision even easier.

This young man was different, though. His eyes were mesmerizing and calming at the same time. (They still are.) David was charged with giving me a mental status exam and gave me three random words to remember. He was supposed to ask me to repeat those words after five minutes, but we got so carried away in conversation that he never asked me to say them back. (I still remember the three words to this day: Spruce Street, baseball, Palladium.) Eventually, he ran out of the room, hastily explaining he needed to give his findings to his attending.

David returned a few minutes later and we continued our conversation. Hours seemed to pass. He sat down and seemed to have all the time in the world to comfort me and keep me company. We shared our intellectual interests, our favorite authors, our family backgrounds, the importance of our brothers in our lives. We talked about our dreams, our politics, justice, social activism, God-and-no-God, etc.

It turns out David did not have to be there at all. I was supposed to be his last quick interview. He was finally able to leave the hospital after his long stint on call. But he didn't. He stayed with me, a total stranger alone in a hospital room facing surgery the next day.

He stopped by to see me after my surgery. The next morning when I was well enough to go home, he offered to drive me the half-mile down the road to my apartment. "Do I really know him well enough to get in his car?" I thought to myself. His car was an old beater with a Fisher Price toy phone that he joked was his car phone.

I felt like I was glowing the whole rode home. Of course, the answer to my question was yes--I knew him well enough, I knew him deep down, and better than people I had known all my life.

And I've got the scar to prove it.


2. Meeting the 'Rents...

Fourteen years ago when David and I were preparing for our first "real" dating Valentine's Day, his parents announced the week before that they would be passing through town on the 14th and would like to have lunch. They suggested that David bring me to meet them for the first time. I was excited but nervous. Were we really serious enough for a meet-the-parents session, on Valentine's Day no less?

A couple of days before they arrived, I went to Student Health with what I thought was a sinus infection. They sent me directly to the neurologist, who sent me directly to get an MRI. While I was in the machine, the doc headed out to grab a bite. When I returned from the scan, I found Dr. Pleasure (his real name) holding the film in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. "Thank goodness," he said. "I thought you had MS. It's only a brain tumor."

I was immediately admitted to the hospital and my mother flew up on the 14th to be with me in time for my surgery. Instead of me meeting David's parents that Valentine's Day, he met mine. While I was in the operating room, the two of them and many of my grad school friends danced the evening away in the hospital waiting room. David stayed all night to look after my mother. I loved him even more after that.

And I've got the scar to prove it.


3. Never Knit Your Man a Sweater...

Thirteen years ago on our third Valentine's Day, David and I were pretty sure we were in it for the long haul. While he was on an away rotation (studying medicine at a hospital in a very different kind of community), I decided to knit him a sweater. At the time I did not know the proscription against knitting your sweetie a sweater before you were really committed--but I suspect it would not have fazed me in any way had I known. Just a silly old wives' tale--and while I was ready to commit, I wasn't so sure I wanted wanted to be a real wife, with all the baggage that legal marriage carries.

Although I had knit as a child and as a teenager and as a college student, I had not knit during grad school. Looking back, I am amazed. There is no more perfect time to knit than graduate school.

Due to a disturbance with my hearing/vestibular nerve, I have lousy balance and fall fairly frequently. This is related to my hearing issues, too. At the time, my balance issues were significant enough that I often used a cane to help me stabilize. Nevertheless, I headed out into the February snow to the precursor of Rosie's Yarn Cellar, climbed down the stairs from the street, picked out some light Lopi in a couple of neutral colors, and sketched out a basic sweater pattern with the owners. I picked up a couple of pairs of straights and threw them in the bag. After paying, I climbed back to the street.

Except I slipped on the icy stairs.

I tried to catch myself but missed the rail and fell hard onto the side of my bag. One of the knitting needles plunged into my soft belly and pierced the skin rather deeply. I caught a cab home and was fine after cleaning myself up, bandaging the wound, taking some serious pain relievers, and having a long sleep.

The idea of knitting a sweater had lost all its charm. Don't knit your boyfriend a sweater, indeed.

I put the yarn in the top of my closet--creating my first real stash. The sweater didn't get knit until the next Valentine's day, but from then on, I was hooked. David and I have been knitted together ever since.

And I've got the scar to prove it.

* * *

So which is it? Send in your guesses. I will draw a name at random and send the winner a pair of used authentic scrubs (as well as a little something special that is more appealing).

The correct answer and the winner of the drawing will be announced on the morning of Feb. 16.

* * *

Happy Valentine's Day, David! I love you now even more than I did then.

43 comments:

FemiKnitMafia said...

Good lord, one of these is true? As of right now, I love him too. What a wonderful man. :-)
I'm going with How You Met, because it's a more detailed story.
In any case, this was wicked fun.

SaraSkates said...

I think it's #2 ;) Hard to say though - depends if the other two un-true ones are pure fiction, or if only some of the details have been modified...

They're all great stories!

Francesca said...

That was a fun read and David sounds like a keeper. :)
I am picking #1.

bibliotecaria said...

#1 -- I really hope that's the true one. I liked it the best.

roggey said...

I'm going to say no. 2 gets my vote. It may be farfetched, but then again, that's pretty much how my luck would be...

Kate A. said...

I'm going with #1 because it's such a sweet story, though #2, by being even more far-fetched, somehow has the ring of truth to it....

Sarah said...

Whichever one is true, it's a sweet story! I'm guessing #3, if only because I could totally see myself impaling myself on a knitting needle.

TheAmpuT said...

These were great. Playing "pretend" at your house must be a blast. My logical mind tell me it's #3...but love aint logical. I actually think it's #2.

Helen said...

So...
you spend the rest of your time writing incredibly entrancing novels?
no?
why the hell not! I'd read forever and be in line for the next one!
ahem.
okay.
I'm going with #1.
I can't beleive they'd let that many people in your room to dance at night, which nixes #2...
and as for 3... that deep a wound? with a doctor in the family? you'd have to have confirmed that your tetanus shot was up to date... and you, with your eye for detail, skipped that.
Of course, that's my twisted logic, which likely has nothing to do with reality.

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

I won't answer 'cause that would be cheating, but I will say they're all fantastic stories!

said...

I agree with femiknitmafia that it was number 1 because it had the most details. Whichever is the right answer, you have a wonderful man. :) This is one of the best little contests I've ever participated in and I can't wait to find out the answer!

Lee Ann said...

I think it's 2, but I also think I may be cheating....

What a guy. :-) And you're one hell of a writer if two of those are false!

Marlyce said...

They are all wonderful stories. I'll go with #2 being true.
But they all sound plausible.
You must have a great time together. Happy Valentines Day. It's an anniversary of scars.

Sheepish Annie said...

I want the first story to be true. But I'm guessing the second.

gradschoolknitter said...

I was originally going to go with #3 but after a re-read it seems a little too far-fetched. So I'm going to guess #1.

Martha said...

Like Amy, I can't play either, but I love the story...all of them...

Specs said...

I'm going to guess #3, although I hope it isn't true because, well, ouch.

Jenn said...

What great stories! I cannot wait to find out which one is true - but I'm going to guess #2. But #1 is real sweet!

CygKnit said...

Oooooo, how tough!! I like 1 the best and vote for it. #3 seems more like me, but perhaps not more like you? Helen may have a good point, there.

tiennie said...

I have no idea - you must be a good liar, um I mean writer. Randomly guessing #1.

laurie in maine said...

They're not ALL true? I thought it was a trick question and there would be 20 "all of the above!" comments. I'll pick #2 because of the bit about mom :)

Kathleen C. said...

Personally, I like #1 the best... and #3 sounds perfectly reasonable... but the detail about the slice of pizza in the doctor's hand is so good, I'm going with #2.
Whichever... he is truly a keeper! May you have many, many, MANY more wonderful valentines' days together.

Sarah said...

I am going to choose #1!

I do like #3 and I sincerely hope #2 is not the right answer!

hillary said...

They were all great stories but I'm going with number 1. I don't know why, just beacause.

yuvee said...

geez...I thought all of them was true! I'd picked #1, they're all real fun to read ;)

Javajem said...

Those were so great! I'm going to pick #2.

LizKnits said...

I agree with others that the all of the above option seems most likely (surely if one is true, they could all be true?!).
Picking one though, I'm going to go with story 1.
Thanks for sharing.

Guin said...

Ha! Love all of them. I'm going to guess number 1, though.

Cara said...

I'm gonna say that 2 is true. Happy Valentine's Day!

Ruth said...

I think #2 is true. Although #1 is chock full of detail ... no, I'm sticking with #2.

Great stories, all of them.

GJR said...

My guess is number 1 as I love the story. Actually all are great - just 1 fits my mood better right now

Debbie said...

You had me going there. I missed, the first time around "one of these is true". I was thinking "geesh, you must have a lot of scars"LOL.

I think number 3 is true. If it isn't, it should be. Good storytelling!

threedogknits said...

They're all great stories. David sounds wonderful, no matter which one is true. It is a toss-up between stories 1 and 2. I pick story #2.

coming un-plied said...

I am going to have to say #2 as well.

S.B. Naas said...

I am going to vote for the 2nd story, because that sounds like the right one :) I just hope that my love and I can be as happy as you guys sound :)

Margie said...

I am picking number 1 because it is just so romantic.

Cecilia said...

Those are all great stories! I'm going with #3.

Miranda said...

I think it's story 1... but the knitting needle story is the best!

Margene said...

I vote two to be true. Happy Valentines Day to you both!!

Jeannie said...

Great stories. #3 I think.

Angeluna said...

I also missed the first part about only one of these stories being true. Totally believed them all. A fertile imagination you have there. #1 sounds truest, #3 is hilariously possible, but the quote in #2, "afraid it was MS, but it's only a brain tumor" from a doctor with a slice of pizza in his hand is just too good.

Erssie said...

#1. Mmmm wouldn't happen over here, patient/doc relationships not tolerated. Could it happen there?

#2 Quite dramatic, lovely but still didn't ring true

#3 Far more likely

I go for #3! However, if I do win, you can keep the scrubs. I get to see them far too often having a chronic condition that requires numerous hospital visits.

Dave said...

FtLauderdale Dave goes with # 3 ... Having voted, I must say all 3 are fascinating tales .....

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails