How I Got Married And Spent My Wedding Night In The Emergency Room

Last week I wrote about the rapid-fire weddings that my family is pounding out – starting this weekend, actually. During that discussion, it was mentioned that I nearly fell down a flight of steps on the day of my wedding. It was suggested by an inquiring reader that I expand a bit on that story. Well, time is tight and I can write about it with no research, so this is as good a time as any.

On May 5th, 1990, I was preparing for the biggest day of my life. That afternoon I was to be at St. John’s Catholic Church in downtown Indianapolis for a wedding. My wedding. But the day could have gone better.

My best man was my good friend Dave, who had been my roommate for all three years of law school. Dave had come over to my place to hang out, when the telephone rang. It was my cousin (also named Dave), with the bad news that the bag that contained his tuxedo did not also contain the tie that was to go with it. Time was running short, but Best Man Dave and I got in my car (the one that is the subject of the link below) and made a run for the formal wear store.

We got there, got a tie, then headed back to my house, where the task was to get dressed, throw my suitcase in the trunk and head to church. Everything occurred without incident and my suitcase was ready for loading. Everything was great, except for the rental shoes.

I hate rental shoes. Other than the normal shoe-sharing issues, this particular pair was reasonably new with soles that were not really scuffed-in. My little house was one of those built in the 1920’s, with a side door that opened to the driveway next to the house. To the right of the door and up two or three wooden steps was the kitchen. Straight in from the door was a full flight of old wooden steps down to the basement.

Slick-soled rental shoes, old wooden steps and a suitcase in hand – you can probably tell where this is heading. The plan was to go down the 3 steps from the kitchen and turn left to go out the door to my parked car. The plan was adheared-to until one of the rental shoes slipped on the first step down. Things started to look a bit ugly as I found myself beginning an involuntary descent into the basement. I stopped myself after about two or three of the basement steps. I don’t know how I got stopped, but my right foot was not at all happy about it.

I got up and said “Ow!” and decided that the best remedy (as I had been taught by the men of my father’s generation) was to just walk it off. Dave and I got the car loaded and started downtown. Things were probably not made better by the fact that I had quit smoking perhaps an hour or two earlier.

Once to the church, the foot was still hurting – but only when I walked on it. I determined that I had best not limp as I walked down the aisle at church, or I would never hear the end of it. And was it ever a long aisle. We got through the ceremony in fine shape (though Marianne more than me). Actually, I must have hidden my injury pretty well because Marianne had no idea that I was miserable and deteriorating.

That state, miserable and deteriorating, continued through the pictures and the reception. I made it through the pictures OK (though there were more than 24 of them), but the first dance with the bride was a bit of a challenge. But again, I had to hide it the best I could because I was certain that missing that dance would be something I would never hear the end of. After the reception we got into the car and headed for the hotel where we planned to stay the night before getting on an early morning plane to start a honeymoon.

It was in the hotel that I broached the subject – that I was in significant pain, and maybe it might be a good idea to get looked at now where we knew where to go than somewhere else where we didn’t. We headed for the nearest emergency room, where we spent the next several highly romantic hours. It was a little embarrassing when the first time I was asked about my marital status was in the hospital emergency room. “Are you married?” “Um, yes. Today, as a matter of fact.” Everyone got quite the chuckle from that one. In fairness, had our roles been reversed, I would have gotten quite the chuckle from it myself.

After what seemed like an eternity, the diagnosis was a pulled ligament. They gave me a pair of crutches and wrote me a prescription for some pain pills and we headed for the 24-hour pharmacy. Marianne refused to go to the one downtown near the hospital – it was not the best neighborhood and she was adamant about not becoming a widow on the first day – so we located another about a 20 minute drive away. We finally got back to the hotel maybe 5 hours before we had to be out the door, but our wedding night was not the experience we had hoped for.

The next morning brought at least one benefit, when we were allowed to take advantage of the handicap boarding. And the weather was nice on arrival at our destination so the small convertible we rented could have the top down and therefore accommodate the crutches along with our luggage.

About three or four days into our week the foot settled down and I was more-or-less back to normal. We brought the crutches home – I figured that our married life was young and surely one of us would need them again. They are still in our possession, but I don’t think they have ever been used since. Are the wooden ones antiques yet?

Thus ends the wedding story of a fall down some stairs, lots of limping, a hospital, crutches and some drugs for good measure. But we kept a good attitude about it, figuring that married life had to get better. I think that after over 32 years, it is safe to say that it did.

COAL Update: We are now up to the car I owned when I got married, and which was a part of the ordeal shared herein. It was a car that added no drama to the story whatsoever – which was a good thing.

22 thoughts on “How I Got Married And Spent My Wedding Night In The Emergency Room

  1. That’s terrible on many levels. Thankfully your honeymoon wasn’t entirely compromised since you rebounded before it was over. Keeping the crutches was likely the best way to prevent any future need for them.

    This is much worse than the toilets backing up at our wedding reception and my grandfather, having discovered the plumbing thing, stumbling upon the best man and maid of honor really getting to know each other behind a tree he was planning to hydrate.

    Best wishes to the upcoming brides, grooms, and parents thereof.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! In the choice between an evening in the ER and clogged toilets at the reception, I think I might have picked the injury scenario had I been given the option. But then our reception was in a downtown location so there were not many choices for outdoor alternatives.


  2. I’ve heard various tales about the meaning of rain on one’s wedding day, but none to explain what it means to have a hailstorm… twice! Yes, that’s what happened for my bride and me on that Saturday in June of 1995. It spoiled our plans for an outdoor ceremony in Columbus Ohio’s park of roses, but we regrouped and were married on the stage at the reception hall which was nearby. Fortunately, everything else went swimmingly (pun intended) and the weather cleared well enough that we returned to the park after the reception for some very nice pictures.

    Evidently, a double hailstorm is a good omen. My bride & are still together and still in relatively good health. I consider her my prize in life’s lottery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had never actually heard the bit about a little rain being a good omen, but as I think about it, we had a bit of morning sprinkles ourselves (as did our daughter this weekend). Double Hailstorms is one we cannot claim, though. And yes, the right lady in a guy’s life is a great thing.


  3. Wow, I certainly can’t beat that for a wedding story. I think the worst thing that happened at ours was we forgot to eat the cake. “So, how was the wedding cake, I didn’t eat any”…..”I didn’t either”

    But I always say a good marriage is far better than a good wedding day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice photo! What a lovely couple you make! And what a story for your grandkids someday. I admire you for quitting smoking, but on your wedding day? That must have been tough. I hope the withdrawal side effects didn’t contribute to that tumble down the stairs. I did not know there were rental shoes for guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thanks!. I give full credit to Marianne for putting up with me for those first few weeks.

      And as for the rental shoes, those have come with the tux rentals. I think it is a matter of practicality, because you will never get a group of young men to go out and buy matching dress shoes for a friend’s or relative’s wedding.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. JP, this is a great wedding picture and you don’t appear to be wincing thankfully. On such an important day, a trip and fall event was certainly not needed. Nowadays I see pictures of the wedding party in sneakers, even the bride. A few years ago I was at Elizabeth Park, standing on the picturesque bridge, when a bus stopped and a wedding party, dressed to the hilt, got out and started climbing up the stairs. The bride had an ermine stole and a half-dozen attendants and there were about as many groomsmen, all wearing sneakers.

    Liked by 1 person

      • About 20 years ago my boss attended the wedding of a client’s daughter at their Hilton Head beach house. The dress was formal (a “swanky” wedding if that term is still used), but invitation said to wear flip flops as the wedding was on the beach. I saw pictures of the bridal party, all dressed up and all in bare feet. I thought that was pretty radical at the time – a casual wear wedding and flip flops or bare feet is one thing … this was another.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My first car was a ’73 VW Super Beetle – no A/C and the seats were a vinyl/leatherette and I stuck to them, a problem when miniskirts were all the rage and the car would be sitting outside in the hot sun while I was at school or work. It also did not have a radio, so I took a small transistor with me in the car for company on my commute to school. Yes, I identify with the car not being used enough and the brakes rusting – with the Regal I was told, even if you start the car every day, you need to just move it, back and forth a little, to keep the rust from forming. Taking the bus five days a week and catching it at the end of the street and often snow or ice in the driveway, plus a small garage, did not lend itself to backing the car out and rolling up and down the driveway. After multiple sets of brakes being replaced, I was eventually part of the class action suit/brake litigation, as was my boss at that time as his Grand Prix was a similar body to my Regal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All cars have their problems, and the ones most common come from things getting worn out. But it is an entirely different set of problems that comes from driving so seldom. From what I have gathered, you don’t drive a lot, but your car gets used fairly regularly, if only for a short drive. Age and miles each bring their issues. I guess it’s the same for we humans. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we wear out … like our cars. I’m making a concerted effort while the weather is favorable … I am up to 9,970 miles as of this morning. I think the 9,999 is a shoe-in. Thankfully the oil leak after the new oil pan fix for $587.00 has stopped leaking. Whew!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You were a trooper, J P. I’m not sure I would’ve handled this so well. At least you didn’t have to explain yourself over some embarrassing story leading to the fall (and begging for forgiveness). I can only imagine how long the aisle looked in the church, but I never thought about the dancing until you mentioned it. Glad to hear it was a relatively short recovery and the honeymoon proceeded as planned. Also, the fact you’re still married suggests this wasn’t some warning about going forward with the wedding 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • True – a short burst of pain up front was definitely worth the 32 years (and counting) of the good stuff that resulted. And I had never thought of what it might have been like if that injury had occurred in some place where I wasn’t supposed to be. That would have been awkward.

      Liked by 1 person

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