Happy New Year

As we approached the automatic doors, I drew a tense breath. I feared what they would reveal when they opened. I’ve spent many nights in Emergency Rooms, and it’s never a pleasant experience.
I held my arm around Anne’s shoulders, and we walked into an empty room. A television hung from one wall, and Dick Clark counted down the remaining hours of 2002 for several empty chairs and a threadbare couch — the only occupants of the very small waiting room.
Anne pressed a towel to her mouth, hoping to slow the flow of blood. The shock was wearing off, and she was beginning to feel the pain.
I walked to the check-in window and thought, this is a fucked up way to spend New Year’s Eve.
Since the kids were with their dad, this New Year’s had presented Anne and me with several options. We could have attended numerous parties, eaten dinner in several restaurants, stayed home alone, or even walked to Colorado Blvd. and staked out a spot to watch the Rose Parade.
Two of our friends had recently bought a new house, and they were having a quiet gathering there. Most of our friends would be in attendance, so that’s where we went. Quiet and low-key would be the perfect way to end the year.
The evening had been pretty fun. A trip to the ER was the farthest thing from my mind as I played Munchkin with some of my friends, and Anne sat on the floor, trying to convince our friend’s new dog that he and Anne should be friends.
The dog, however, is the anti-Ferris: he’s really aggressive, and not good with people at all. He was recently rescued, and is still getting socialized around strangers. During the evening, he’d snapped at pretty much everyone there, and kept growling and barking at my friend Darin. Anne has the animal empathy of an 18th-level Druid Ranger, though, and she was determined to bring out the love in this animal.
She was doing a great job, too. She sat on the floor with him for close to two hours, calmly talking to him while his master held his leash, and the dog eventually relaxed. Everyone at the party was amazed, except for me. My wife is the very definition of boundless love, especially for animals. As soon as we were warned about the dog, I knew that Anne would have it eating out of her hand by the end of the evening.
While Anne continued to pet the dog, my friends and I prepared to follow up Munchkin with a rousing game of Naval War. We were laughing and fooling around, and then, like a bad made-for-cable movie, everything went horribly wrong.
I was holding the instructions in my hand, looking for the number of cards to be dealt, as my friend Cal shuffled them. KROQ was counting down the top 106.7 songs of 2002, and our friends Pat and Shane had just arrived. I heard the dog begin to growl at Darin, and thought nothing of it — he’d been growling at Darin all night long.
Then the dog barked, and I heard Anne’s voice cry out, shrill above the din of the party, “Wil!”
I turned, and saw something no husband would ever want to see (unless he was OJ Simpson): my wife was holding her mouth, as blood poured over her hand.
Anne went into shock, more from the emotional trauma than the wound, I thought. Before last night, Anne had taken 44 stitches in her face, and eight of them were not from a dog. When that dog bit her lip, Anne was five years old again, helpless and terrified.
We packed ice into a towel, pressed it against her mouth, and drove her to the hospital. Since it was empty, we got through triage and into a bed very quickly. While Anne was being prepared for closure, I walked out to the waiting room, to tell our friend Joe what her status was. He owns the dog, and he and his wife felt terrible about what had happened. We told him that he should go home to be with his wife at midnight, but he insisted that he stay with us until Anne was cared for.
As I walked to the waiting room, I passed an old man who was on a ventilator. A woman, possibly his daughter, sat at his feet, and leaned over the bed, clutching his legs. Sobs rocked her body. My heart went out to them, as I thought, “it’s just a dog bite. It could be so much worse.”I told Joe that we’d be leaving soon, and walked back to be with my wife. The doctor put six stitches into her lip, and we were out of the ER by 11:45 PM. We walked back into Joe’s house with 2 minutes remaining on the year. Anne drank a champagne toast, and we hugged our friends goodbye.
Joe and his wife walked us to the car, apologizing the entire way. We weren’t upset with them, and still aren’t. It wasn’t their fault. It was just a terrible accident. I thought back to that man on the ventilator, and told them that it could have been much, much worse.
We drove carefully back to our house. Each car on the freeway was a potential drunk driver, especially the one who was weaving across three lanes on the 210. I pointed to the car, a white Toyota, and told Anne that things like that made me wish I’d outfitted my car at Uncle Albert’s. She didn’t get it.
We were in bed by 12:30. Anne watched “Sex And The City” and I read “Watchmen.” We were asleep by 1. Yeah, this was not the way I planned on spending New Year’s Eve.
Anne woke me up in the middle of the night, crying. Her Advil had worn off, and she told me that the pain in her face reminded her of when she was a little kid. I wished that I could take her pain away from her, but I did the best that I could: I held her in my arms, and let her tears fall against my cheek and roll onto my pillow.
We fell back asleep, and slept until two Stealth Fighters flew over our house at 8 a.m. to start the Rose Parade.

253 thoughts on “Happy New Year”

  1. Omigosh! I am so sorry that something so terrible happened. You are right that it could have been much worse. I hope the pain goes away soon, I know what it’s like to have a ton of stitches (which I doubt makes Anne feel any better). I hope this new year is a great one for you and your family. May God bless you all. :)

  2. Wow, Wil that sucks! I hope Anne feels better soon and heals quickly. I know that incident must have scared the crap out of both of you. Like you said, it could have been worse, good thing it wasn’t her throat. If the dog is that unfriendly, why was it in the same room with a bunch of strnagers, even animal-wiz Anne? Next time your friends might want o consider putting him in a bedroom for the night until he’s friendlier around people.
    Best wishes to you both, sending some healing mojo yours and Anne’s way!=o)
    Ashley

  3. Happy New Year Wil and family!
    Greetings from the entire Mythos. Well, almost all. Some are blind idiots.
    Dog bites. Nasty business is dog bites.
    Nemesis: Not a good movie, except for a certain non-speaking actor showing up in the wedding scene. Very cool to see.
    2003 already. Bushwacker is gearing up for war. Idiot or genius depending on your point of view.
    The Two Towers: Tolkien rolls in his grave. Much money rolls into New Line Cinema’s coffers.
    Checking the stars outside. Nope, not aligned right yet. Soon. Very soon.
    Racoons are worse than skunks for your lawn. Thank Jesus H. you don’t have them digging holes on ya.

  4. I know that by now, any comment I make is redundant, but I still wanted to wish you and Anne and the boys a happy New Year. Once again, an example of bad things happening to good people. But as you said, you are both very lucky, and I think that luck will continue into the New Year. I just know you will have a happy and prosperous year, and I am sending healing Mojo Anne’s way. Judging from the comments she should have plenty.
    Have to say, one of the little non-tragic details that made me chuckle was the fact that you were playing Munchkin with your friends on New Years Eve…That is EXSACTLY what I was doing!! The setting was different and there were no non-human animals around, but thats what we were doing too. That is a FUN game! (small warning, be careful who you play it with, we played with a guy who made it alot more complicated than it had to be and it sucked some of the fun out of it, but we chalked that up to a lesson learned)
    Blessed Be, Love and Light

  5. Your New Years was definitely more interesting than mine so don’t feel bad (although I don’t think its a good interesting). Anyway. I saw you on a badly recorded infomercial for some computer software? Or something. YOu were standing next to a boobilicious blond ho raving over a computer in a techno looking set. I thought that was pretty low of you Mista Wheaton :) You didn’t even get to keep the blond after shooting!
    Hey what was that game company you are a part of? I’d like to submit a resume to be a game composer. http://www.fluidicmethod.com

  6. Ech, then I wasn’t the only one with a bad New Years experience… I got beat up on my way back from a New Years party… That dog bite sounds really nasty and painful though, I hope Anne gets better soon.
    Best Wishes for a good 2003 from across the pond.

  7. Poor Ann, and I thought my New Year’s was awful. I won’t tell that story. You remind me of my boyfriend, Wil. A couple weeks ago I was out at this sleezy bar that some of my girl friends dragged me to. I had only had a couple drinks but I was feeling positively ill. I ran to the bathroom a couple times to throw up. Then at the end of the night I was sitting in a booth talking to a male friend of mine and I leaned over to say goodbye and my knuckle caught on a nail sticking out. Blood gushed everywhere. I grabbed my drunken friend’s cell phone and called my boyfriend to pick me up. Once he picked me up he figured I was drunk cuz I was heaving. He dropped me off at home and went to get band-aids and polisporin. I was over the toilet throwing up and bleeding….it was the worst. When he got back to my house and I told him I only had a couple drinks he went digging and found the pills I had been taking for an infection…turns out I wasn’t spose to take alcohol with them. He drove me to emergency and the doctor stitched me up and told me that the ingredient in those pills was the same as they give alcoholics to get them to stop drinking. One drink will make you wish you weren’t born. STUPID STUPID ME. But my boyfriend was so understanding. He held my hand while the doctor was stitching me up…haha until he looked over and saw blood and then he had to leave the room. But I was up all night running to the bathroom and it was the most painful night in a long while. My boyfriend was completely understanding and babied me. Ann and I are so lucky to have men in our lives as caring and self-less as you two. Kudos to you!

  8. Hey Wil,
    Was checking out the store for some WWDN shwag and saw the WFS briefcases…..AWESOME!! I need on for work.
    Thanks man!!
    Hope Anne’s doing better.
    I’d say “tell her to just bite her lip” but……obviously that’s been done already.
    best let sleeping dogs lay……ouch
    sorry
    Fred

  9. Sorry to hear Wil, but glad it was nothing major.
    Best wishes in the new year, and hope your wife feels better soon.
    Beau

  10. We are both sorry to hear about what happened to Anne. We hope that she is feeling better. I (Dev) also had to have stitches on my lip once, but in my case I was the one who bit my own lip (long story). Hope that the rest of your New Year goes better from now on.

  11. We are both sorry to hear about what happened to Anne. We hope that she is feeling better. I (Dev) also had to have stitches on my lip once, but in my case I was the one who bit my own lip (long story). Hope that the rest of your New Year goes better from now on.

  12. We are both sorry to hear about what happened to Anne. We hope that she is feeling better. I (Dev) also had to have stitches on my lip once, but in my case I was the one who bit my own lip (long story). Hope that the rest of your New Year goes better from now on.

  13. Hi Wil
    Lots and lots of comments about your adventures on New Years Eve…
    Thank goodness that Anne is OK and kudos to you for being there for her (how could you not?)…
    We should all remember to count our blessings as we enter this new & exciting year, no?
    -Jocelyn

  14. Wow…and here I thought I was gonna have a rough start of the year. I’m so sorry to hear about the dog bite!
    *sends lotsa healing mojo*
    Hope you have a quick & pain-free recovery Anne, your husband rocks the house! :)

  15. I would highly suggest that your friends put that dog down. I know this sounds like a cruel thing to do, but I have lived with a rescued dog before and it will never fully trust anyone. My parents had a dog for several months and never mistreated it, yet one day it bit my father. It could one day bite a child.

  16. well sorry to hear about your crappy nye guys but thank god anne is going to be ok. when i first read the words emergency room i was so worried that something had happened to one of the boys. as the mother of two young children thats the first thought that popped into my head. and think of it this way what happened was LAST YEAR!!! so here’s to a good year to you and your family!!! and one more thing i read a comment about not having animals as pets are we supposed to have other humans as pets? sorry to my kinda twisted sense of humor that cracked me up!!! Brook

  17. I was very sorry to hear about Anne, and very glad to hear it wasn’t anything too serious.
    I hope that she is feeling much better soon, and that this new year brings better luck.
    I also hope that her experience won’t affect her closeness with animals. I was bitten by a dog once, and although it wasn’t anything serious, it made me see all dogs, even friendly ones, in an entirely new light for a while.
    I also hope that Anne feels a little bit better knowing that there is lots of Mojo going to her from up here in Canada.

  18. Tell Anne it could be much worse….I once got bit in the ass by a friend’s dog. Ripped the whole left side of the rear of my jeans off, and put a few nice sized gashes in my behind.
    Then when I was 16 I got another wound there, got hit by a truck on my bike and skidded down the street on my butt.
    I had to sit on a rubber donut in school :(

  19. Wil,
    Hope Anne is doing better but what about the dog?
    Whatever Anne may or may not have could have affected the dog as well. Poor doggie!

  20. My deepest sympathies go out to Anne, I too know what it is like to be bit in the mouth by a dog. I was 5 the first time and 20 then next. Something you never forget. And just like Anne, I love animals, especially dogs. Happy New Year!!

  21. I was attacked by a dog when I was three–I’m very sorry to hear about Anne. I’m quite moved by the post in general, though.
    Your reaction means you married the right person :)
    Take care, Wil.

  22. i’m sorry Wil, i hope Anne is feeling better, man, what a horrible way to spend new years eve.
    get well Anne!

  23. i’m sorry Wil, i hope Anne is feeling better, man, what a horrible way to spend new years eve.
    get well Anne!

  24. Wil, so sorry to hear about Anne. Hope she heals soon. Have her keep antibiotic ointment on the stitches and they won’t feel so tight. I feel so bad for her. Colleen – a nurse.

  25. Here’s greetings from Alaska!
    Hope your wife is doing alright. One of our friends in highschool had been mauled by a neibhorhood dog so badly that they had to reattach his ear and lip and now some 8 years later you can’t even tell he was ever touched by a scapel.
    Best wishes to you and yours,
    Sarah from alaska

  26. I hope Anne recovers quickly!!
    I’m always a little nervous around dogs because I’m afraid that will happen – that’s why I own cats. :o)
    I hope all the best for the New Year. Just think- the whole thing, bite/stitches, we’re over in 2002! Might not be the best way to end an year, but you guys were back to your friends by the beginning of 2003!

  27. Oh my lord!
    I feel so stupid to have not read this sooner. So sorry for your wife and you Wil. I was bitten in the lip by my own dog as a youth and it was a feeling of shock more than pain.
    That situation was all my fault and could’ve been avoided. Nonetheless, I have no less love for dogs and have two now. Like your wife, I have that sort of ‘patron saint of animals’ thing when it comes to dogs and other pets too but I’m none to trusting of overly aggressive dogs.
    I don’t think this was your wife’s fault at all and I hope she doesn’t either. People that love animals just do and can’t be kept from trying to be friendly with even the most ferocious. Someone else here drew an analogy of not playing with alligators without kevlar… er, wha? She was bitten by a dog I believe.
    Going on that person’s post we could just merrily throw a few thousand analogies of what not to do around (don’t cross the street without lookin’ first, don’t throw stones in a glass house etc, ad nauseum) but THAT shows a lack of compassion.
    Shit unfortunately happens whether people “play it safe” or not and merely taking the safe route all the time is no guarantee of safety. Nor is kevlar… got that other poster??
    I really, really hope your wife gets all better soon. Having had it happen to me once, I know how suckass a thing it can be. Hopefully this second experience for her won’t have been too terribly traumatic. Hang in there!

  28. I hope they put that dog down. Rescuing dogs is very kindhearted, but often not such a good idea.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Lips are a cruddy (and painful) place for an injury.

  29. Getting face to face with a anti-social frightened dog is not very clever regardless the good-natured “healing vibe” motive. Ignoring the dog’s warnings was worse. The dog should be put down before it bites a child. You may blah, blah all you want but you know that is the only proper thing to do. I hope your wife heals cleanly and learns a lesson.

  30. I’m glad to hear that Anne was okay. I had to help bury my uncle this last New Year’s Eve after his own trip to the ER. Totally out of the blue and only 55, he died leaving 7 children (two still in high school) and two grandchildren. My grandparents had to bury their own child, which no parent should ever have to do. My uncle lived a full life though, and besides dying too early, probably had no other regrets. Live life and tell those around you how much you love them.

  31. I hope Anne’s feeling much better now. That must have been very painful indeed.
    Oh, I haven’t been around lately, so A BELATED HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

  32. Gh0d almighty. Wil, I’m glad I wasn’t there because they’d be hunting for the dog’s heart.
    My very best wishes to your lady wife.
    I think you may well be a better man than I.

  33. I am so sorry to hear about Anne’s experience. I hope she heals quickly, inside and out. I am guessing from what you’ve said that she had someone raise their hand against her in her childhood; if so, I can relate, as my mother’s hand was heavy and not always empty when she was angry, which was often.
    I don’t know what kind of healing methods you prefer to use, and I certainly am not one to push my own preferences, so please take this as a suggestion only that of course you are totally free to ignore. I am only mentioning these at all on the chance that you like herbal remedies or are open to them (in addition to regular medical approaches).
    First, I always have on hand a rather interesting-smelling ointment called Black (because of its color), which was developed by Dr. Christopher, a famous herbal healer. You can get it for a good price at VitaCost.com (where you can also buy vitamins at great prices), though some health food stores carry it as well. I find that it greatly speeds healing of external cuts. I’ve put it on cuts on my hands (one of my cats is a feral rescuee who, though quite loving, plays a little too roughly sometimes) and have had the cuts healed as much in one night as they might otherwise have healed in three days.
    (Another thing I keep on hand at all times is lavender essential oil, which has antiseptic and analgesic properties, and which also promotes cell regrowth. I use a Q-Tip to rub the lavender oil on cat scratches and it instantly–and I mean instantly–makes the pain go away, prevents swelling and itching, and helps the scratch heal much better. I mention this because I think you have said you have cats.)
    I also just recently discovered another Dr. Christopher ointment called B, F, & C, which rather gruesomely stands for Bones, Flesh, and Cartilage. That doesn’t mean it is made from those things, but instead means that it is supposed to be good for healing those things. I only just got it, so can’t say yet how it works compared to the Black ointment, but it certainly smells and looks better.
    For more information on these preparations, you can visit HerbsFirst.com. And of course if herbs are not your cup of tea, forget I said anything.
    Again, my heart goes out to Anne–and you!–and my best wishes as well.
    Marina

  34. I just read through the other comments (which I should have taken the time to do BEFORE making a post) and see that what you were emphasizing is that all but eight of Anne’s childhood stitches (so, 36 stitches) were from dog bites (“ow” desn’t even begin to cover it), and that the remaining eight were not from abuse. My apologies. Forget what I said about that part of it.
    Marina

  35. My daughter was bit in the face by a weiner dog when she was 5. It was only a few stitches, but got infected so she ended up staying in the hospital for a week on IV antibiotics, and has since been allergic to penicillan (I think she was sensitized). It was an especially difficult time for me because I wanted to stay with her, but I had final exams to write, so I went from hospital to exams and back to hospital, with no time to study. It was tough for Danica because she was an active child now restrained by an IV. I can’t believe the number of people that told me I should sue the owner or get the dog destroyed! I know it wasn’t the dog’s fault. There is too much blaming and sueing these days. I’m glad you bear these owners and dog no hard feelings.
    Anyway, Danica recovered (and at 8 you can hardly see the scars), there are alternatives to penicillan, and I did well on the tests, and so all’s well that ends well, as they say. As you realized, things could have been worse.
    Hope all is well soon with Anne! Best wishes for 2003.

  36. I once had a cocker spaniel chomp into my face/mouth and believe it or not, it was hanging from my face for what seemed like a friggin eternity until I finally pulled it off in shock.
    It is such a traumatizing feeling and even though you know it wasn’t really the dogs fault, you still feel attacked and victimized.
    Anne, here’s to hopin you are feeling better.
    Namaste!

  37. I hope Anne heals quickly, I wish you both a successful and fulfilling new year!
    Buon Anno!
    Cervignano del Friuli, Italy

  38. I have two rescued dogs…one of them is pretty agressive, but shes only a golden retreiver/border collie so it’s not that bad, and she’s only aggressive around other dogs…even smaller dogs…its kinda funny
    my other dog is a deaf sheltie, he’s nice.
    hope your wife fully recovers quickly!

  39. First off, glad to hear Anne is doing well since the dog bite incident. I had a Geerman Sheppard nearly rip my forearm off as a kid (52 stitches), so I can relate to the fear thing.
    Secondly, this year I did something I’ve never done. I went to the Rose Parade. Mind you, I don’t much care for crowds of people, but this year my fiance insisted. I must say it was pretty neat. And as I sat on Colorado Blvd. at 5:30 AM I said to myself, “I wonder if Will and Anne are here somewhere.”
    As for the stealth fighters (F-117 Nighthawk’s), they were ok. But seeing a B-2 bomber so close. Well, it was magical.
    To quote a band that was once great, “Hopefully this year will be better than the last.”

  40. Hi Wil and Anne,
    I’m an animal lover myself, and I can totally understand how an accident like that could have happened. I’m so sorry to hear that Anne got hurt; at the same time, I’m proud of her for putting herself in that situation in the first place. She must have worked hard to get over her fears after being bitten as a child.
    You are one special and very caring lady, Anne.

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