From my bedroom, I suddenly heard a resounding thump. It sounded as if it had come from the apartment upstairs. “What could they be doing up there,” I wondered. After a moment, I heard CC’s voice weakly calling, “Chuck, help!” I moved quickly toward the bathroom. As I entered, I saw that CC was down on her knees in the tub. Her hands were on her face. Bright red blood was on her face and arms. It was dripping from her head into the water. She had slipped, fallen, and hit her head on the tub ledge.
I need to depart from the narrative for a moment to point out a few things. First of all, we both knew that we needed to put new non-skid strips on the tub floor, but typically, neither of us had gotten around to doing it. Second, I have never done well with the sight of blood. It generally makes me sick, weak-kneed, and pretty useless. But at that moment, I couldn’t afford the indulgence of dwelling on such thoughts or feelings.
“What do you need?” I asked. “Make sure I don’t faint,” was her reply. I looked at her forehead. A wide and deep gash a couple inches long was just above her right eyebrow. We proceeded carefully from that point on. I gave her a cloth to hold over the gash and apply pressure. She got up slowly and I stayed close by for whatever she needed. After a few minutes, the bleeding had slowed considerably, and we decided that unless something changed, she seemed to feel well enough to take a cab to the hospital, rather than calling for an ambulance. In fact, we walked the block from our apartment to Clark Street, where we could quickly catch a cab.
The hospital we headed for was in the same direction as Tony n’ Tina; in fact, it was about 2/3 of the way to the show. I accompanied CC to the emergency room and once she was securely ensconced, I went on ahead to the show. CC’s optimistic plan was to get stitched up and then proceed to the show, but it didn’t work out that way. Things went slowly for her at the hospital, partly because there was a screaming child there just ahead of CC who would not calm down enough to get stitched up, and partly because they wanted to take their time stitching up CC, since it was a facial wound and taking a little extra time now would help to minimize scarring later. She ended up with 17 stitches on the wound I have described. For the record, she did end up doing the 8:00 p.m. show that night, but the 5:00 p.m. show was performed by an actress with severe laryngitis who had to modify or eliminate most of her lines in order to get through the show. CC did the show again today, and though substantial bruising has now set in, she covered it up with makeup and went on with the show. You can call her crazy. You can call her a trooper. Maybe she’s a little of both. But she’s on the mend, black eye, stitches, bruised knee and all.
I hesitate to discuss my own reactions to all of this since, after all, I’m not the one who got injured. But this is my journal, so we’ll talk about it here. The one thing I’ve had to deal with above and beyond the real-time events and aftermath of the accident has been flashbacks to the moment I entered the bathroom and saw CC there. Part of it is the visual memory and the other part is the realization of how much worse it could have been. A little lower, and her nose would have been broken. Fall a little differently, and an arm or a leg could easily have been fractured. She could even have been knocked out cold and lain there in the running shower until I found her – it is fair to note that most of the time when CC is showering, I’m either not home or not awake. I have no wish to wallow in such thoughts, but they come unbidden. I have no doubt that they will abate as the days go by, and I want to take all of this as an instructive incident that leads to more sensible behavior on my part – like, say, addressing potentially unsafe, controllable, predictable problems. For the record, we stopped at Walgreens today and bought a new tub mat, and we’re trying to regard this whole incident as a relatively low-cost lesson for both of us.
Post script: CC used a cover story during the show to explain the bandage on her forehead. She explained (as Mrs. Vitale, Tina's mother) that she and Tina's brother Joey (who is played as being extremely gay) had been dancing in the living room and they had slipped "like those Italian ice dancers," and she had struck her head on the entertainment center.