Last week I started a column which quickly degenerated into an essay detailing my recent accident where gravity and I had a little test of wills. Gravity won, of course, and falling off a deck, I put a nasty gash in the top of my noggin. Since she wanted to go to town anyway, my wife drove me to the nearest emergency room.

It’s curious but the emergency room is not a single “room” but a complex of rooms where they sit you down and, apparently, let time pass. My guess is that they are attending to other casualties coming in on ambulances where a dozen doctors, nurses and aids accompany the gurney as it heads toward surgery, yelling out vital statistics and words like “stat,” “anesthetic vaporizer” and “coffee, with cream.”

With the doctors busy at surgery or coffee break, an accomplished nurse practitioner was sent to deal with me after drawing the short straw.

She easily found the gash because of the blood trail and lack of hair on the top of my head. She suggested that staples would be the way to close up the wound. Injured, but not to the point where I could let the word “staples” go by unchallenged, I asked, “How about Scotch tape or superglue?,” thinking of alternative fasteners available at any office supply store. What happened to old-school sutures? She assured me that staples are now the preferred means for closing head wounds. Everybody knows how to use a stapler but not everyone can sew.

They wheeled in a big compressor, the kind that I use to drive two-inch construction staples on my jobsites. Ha, just kidding, it was a very small compressor. No, actually the stapler was hand powered just like the Swingline on your desk and the staples were about the same size, only cleaner.

I asked more questions. No, you don’t hit the stapler with your fist like you do the old Swingline. And no, the staples don’t go into the skull, they just catch the skin and pull it together. Fair enough.

She said it would be just a little prick and put one in. Ouch! Yes, it was a prick, but not too bad. However, as the wound closed up, the sensation got progressively worse until the tenth staple where I was shouting ¡Ay, Caramba! but in English with vulgar overtones.

They sent me home without a lollipop and a pat on the head which was just as well, so I never brought up the lollipop. I stepped outside to call my wife, who had wisely decided not to stay in a crowded waiting room and had gone shopping. You got to love how she sneaks in time to do the things that she really enjoys.

Dutifully reporting to my own physician like I was told, he admired the stapling job for its uniformity and balance. He took a wild guess that it was the work of a woman, which I conceded it was. This made me wonder about the difference between female-applied staples and a male-guided piece of work. You have to assume from what was said that a masculine job must not be a work of art as opposed to a feminine one. I mean, look at Frankenstein: hideous work on the suturing.

The doc suggested I avoid the hospital and come back to have the staples removed in his clinic. At home I studied an online tutorial about using staples instead of sutures. The video detailed two methods for removing staples. The first involved using a special tool that spreads the staple and smoothly pulls it from the skin opposite the direction that it went in. The second method “when the special tool is not available” involved wrestling out the wires with what appeared to be a pair of needle-nose pliers and a screwdriver with an occasional assist from a pocket knife, possibly resulting in “appreciable distress” for the patient.

Arriving at the clinic on staple-removal day I asked if the “special tool” was available. They assured me it was. I asked to see it. They produced a clear, sterile pouch with the tool inside. I took a sigh of relief and was about to say “go ahead” when they said “all finished” and showed me to the door. My wife was just leaving to go shopping but instead took me back to the jobsite while delivering the “be careful” admonishment.

Still waiting on that lollipop.