So, most — probably all — of the pictures I’ve posted of Koan on this blog are pretty cute. This one, not so much. The last few days were difficult at work for me. We had an issue with our network at school that was impacting about 25 people. That’s not too bad considering we support about 8,000 devices on our network each day. But, the folks impacted by this disruption were all of our office secretaries and our payroll staff — a really bad group of people to have unhappy. So, I was putting in a lot of hours in the evening and over the weekend to figure out what was happening. Last Saturday, I went into the office to work.
Unlike most people, Koan doesn’t really enjoy weekends. He doesn’t hate them, but frankly, school is much more interesting and fun than being at home. So, when he saw me gearing up to go out, he let his feelings be known that he thought he should go with me. And, of course, he was rather upset when I left without him. I was working away in our data center when I got a text from Jeri with this picture.
Apparently, Koan cried himself into a bloody nose. He had scooted around the sofa to see me out the door, and as everyone expected, cried when I left. Jeri started Alexa playing the Sesame Street version of Wheels on the Bus to calm him. When the song finished he was done crying and she looked up to and saw what’s in the picture. The Barnum men all seem to have some proclivity toward bloody noses and clearly, Koan is no exception.
There’s a long history now of Koan having these events. There was the time three or four years ago when we were driving to Omaha for a brief family trip. Koan was in the middle row of the van. Jeri and I were in the front seats and Sydney and Tiber were in the back. At some point during the trip, Tiber happened to notice that Koan had quietly had a bloody nose. He never cried or let on that he was uncomfortable. By the time we noticed it, the car seat looked like a murder scene complete with bloody handprints all over the van passenger window. Luckily windows were pretty well tinted in that vehicle, but I still shudder to think what people in other cars and trucks may have seen before we cleaned everything up. Later on that same trip, he had another bleeder in the hotel room. Again, I’m sure the cleaning staff had some questions (probably concerns) despite our best efforts to tidy things up. I half expected to get a call from the Omaha PD.
Koan’s most infamous bloody nose happened in January of 2015. Right around bedtime (a little after 8:00 PM) on a Saturday night, his nose started to bleed. Unlike most times, he seemed upset by the event and was crying, hard. This, of course, made his nose bleed even more. He even had blood coming out of his mouth. There was a lot of blood and normally I don’t get too frightened by these things having had them myself, but this one scared me. So, after a few minutes of not being able to calm Koan and slow the bleeding, we decided that we would take him for a drive in our van. That’s a sure fire way to improve his mood. And, we figured if the bleeding did not stop, we would head to the emergency room.
As soon as we got him in the van, his entire demeanor changed. He was happy and very shortly — after just a few blocks the nose bleed stopped. Because we were so worried about him, Jeri sat in the middle row seat with him on her lap. As we approached downtown Cedar Rapids on the interstate, Jeri indicated that we should pull over so she could get him (and herself safely buckled in). I then, now famously said, “Sure, but I don’t plan on getting into an accident.” I got off the interstate on the A Avenue exit and started to work our way home. Again, Jeri asked to stop. I looked at the gas gauge and realized we needed fuel. So, I decided to stop at the Casey’s on the corner of 8th Ave and 2nd Street — right near the NewBo district. Both of them could reposition and we would fuel up at the same time.
After we filled up, Jeri buckled Koan into his car seat. But, she decided to stay in the middle row to keep an eye on him until we were home. I was just happy that our stop at Casey’s had not infuriated him — Koan has an inherent dislike of gas stations — particularly the Kum and Go in our neighborhood. But, he was fine with this stop. I began the trip back home by heading into NewBo. We hit a red light on the corner of 12th Ave and 2nd Street. I normally would turn right on to 12th Ave to go home. It’s slightly faster. But, I decided this time I would go forward on 2nd Street and cross the river on 16th Ave and go through the Czech Villiage. It would take a little longer, but Koan would appreciate the extra drive time, and it’s a little more interesting scenery.
The 16th Ave bridge is the oldest in town. It’s very narrow with only two lanes of traffic — one each was. As I pulled on to the bridge, I noticed a car, a compact station wagon, (the only other car on the road I could see either in front of me or behind me) make a right turn on to the bridge. The driver made a really wide right turn, ending up in my lane. I didn’t worry about it too much. No one else was around and it’s a pretty long bridge. There was plenty of time for that person to get back in their own lane. But, as I got about halfway across the bridge, I was alarmed to see the other driver still on my side of the road and not slowing!
I had enough time to slow the van nearly to a stop and to yell back at Jeri and Koan to hang on. The Subaru Forrester hit us head-on. There was nowhere to go — the middle of a two-lane bridge — concrete and water on both sides. The airbags deployed. Glass, shattered plastic, twisted metal, and the burning smell from the airbag discharge covered me. I yelled back to see if Jeri and Koan were ok. After checking her self over and Koan, Jeri indicated they were both fine. Luckily for Jeri she didn’t get to experience the impact of the airbag in the middle row. That was much nastier than the actual impact.
I turned off the van’s engine and pushed my door open. I was dinged up, but didn’t see any blood so I thought I was ok. I started striding to the other vehicle. It was still rolling backward from the impact. I thought other driver might be trying to leave the scene. Such was the adrenal rush, that I threw my van keys and whipped the baseball cap off my head and started running at the Forrester. This is the only time in my life where I experienced true primal rage. I was ready to kill or be killed. Luckily for me (on many different levels) when I got to the driver door of the Forrester, I could see the person who hit us was an older lady. I’ve never been in a true fist fight as an adult, but I’m sure I would have dusted up if the other driver had been male — regardless of size. That probably would have gone badly all the way around.
Despite the fact it was January, it was a beautiful night — about forty degrees. We had left the house in such a hurry none of us had coats. So, we sat out on the bridge and waited for the police to show up. Koan flirted with all the people out walking around that night (and there were many). I didn’t spend much time with the other driver, but it was really clear that she was significantly impaired — alcohol or drugs. So, I just tried to stay away from her. When the police arrived and saw the scope of the damage — neither vehicle was drivable — they called an ambulance. I had some minor cuts and a few bruises — mostly from the airbag. It looked like Koan and Jeri were completely untouched.
When the paramedics arrived, we had to spend a good bit of time convincing them we were all ok. It took even more time with Koan. Of course, he’s non-verbal so we had to answer for him –and they weren’t sure they could trust us as we were pretty shaken, too. But, worse still — Koan was covered — much like the picture above — in blood from his bloody nose earlier. So, they needed a lot of assurance that he was indeed ok.
Our van was totaled and we had to get a ride home in the back of police car. Koan thought that was pretty great! The rest of us, not so much. Last Saturday I confirmed that Koan was ok. Jeri let me know the carpet might not be the same again. My main thought was, that’s ok — at least we won’t need a new van this time.