Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving day massacre

So it's just before 2pm and it's time to carve the turkey. I decided to sharpen a chef's knife with my handy dandy hand held sharpener. Stroke, stroke.... my mother-in-law is moving around the kitchen looking for some serving bowls... stroke, stroke... "look up there" I say, stroke, stroke OUCH!!!! Without even looking down I knew what I did, I had cut my finger. Quickly I set the knife down along with the sharpener and turn on the faucet to put my finger under it and apply pressure. I figure as long as I didn't see blood squirting out I would be OK.

I tell Archie and Marilyn to get Reagan, I'm going to need to go to the hospital. I remove my hand for a second and see a very deep cut with blood starting to fill the space. I figure I have a little time on adrenaline so I take advantage of it. I tell Marilyn to get me some bandaids and gauze out of the bathroom. When she comes back I realize that bandaids weren't going to cut this (pun intended). I tell Archie to go out into the garage and get my first aid kit for the motorcycle, I knew exactly where it was since I had taken it out of the bike just the day before. He returns and we open it and find some tape. I wrap up the gauze with a good bit of pressure to control the bleeding.

By now Reagan is out of the shower and has come to see what's going on. I grab a water bottle, my phone and my wallet. We make sure I have the right insurance card and Archie takes me to the hospital down the street.

Upon arrival I walk in and tell the front desk of my foolish mistake and take a form. The form was simple to fill out and I turned it back in and began waiting. Five or Ten minutes later I hear my name and I think "wow, this shouldn't take long". Al is the first nurse to talk to me. He's about my age and we share a few things in common like working out on a bow flex. He even suggested a new way to do my ab crunches, which I'll have to try later. After customary bp and temp checks he takes me back to an exam room where I wait. It's about 2:25 when I get into the exam room.

I wait, and wait and wait. A nurse comes in to check on me and asks me about my last tetanus shot. I couldn't remember, I'm bad with dates. She also asked why I wasn't in bed. I told her I was people watching and I'd get in bed as soon as the doctor was ready to see me. I also told her we weren't taking off my bandage until the doctor was ready because I didn't like to see my own blood.

3:30pm... still waiting. A nice lady was brought in by EMS and transferred to a hospital bed. It seems her hip had popped out while she was bending over to pick up some jewelery. From her patient history she gave this wasn't her first rodeo and she told the nurse that if he had magic fingers he might be able to get things put back together without surgery. Hmmmm, so much for patient privacy and HIPPA huh? It's sort of hard to have privacy when you are in the hall just outside my door.

The nurse returns and tells me to hop up in the bed because the doctor will see me in just 3 more patients. So I hop up there. At the same time she resolves the tetanus shot question by giving me one. Now I remember my last tetanus shot was Thanksgiving 2007. I wait some more but now I'm freezing...

A little later... Monica comes in and wants to look at my finger. She was either a nurse practitioner or doctor, she never said which. She starts by trying to unwrap the bandage. Nope!! That doesn't work as that was some industrial tape. She gets the attention of one of the nurses, James I think, he looked like Santa Claus without the suit. He has a pair of scissors and we cut the bandage off. Quickly it starts bleeding DUH!!! She says it doesn't look good and thinks I've cut the tendon. I ask her to just glue it up. She says that's going to take a little more than glue and that I'll have to see a surgeon in the coming days. "Oh joy", I think. She wraps some gauze on it and I take my finger back and apply pressure. This is exactly what I wanted to avoid. She says she has to go get a suture kit and that she'll need to numb it up. Out she goes....

Santa Claus, I mean James, comes back down the hall and picks up the hip lady to take her to a room. There goes my entertainment. Darn, I wish I had gotten a remote control for the TV so I could watch something... Now would be a good time to have that sling box, I could just watch TV on my phone...Another ER Tech comes in and decides the bed is too high so she lowers it. I ask her for a blanket as I'm very cold. She heads off to get a blanket and never returns.

4:00pm Monica returns with her hands full. She raises the bed and starts to numb the finger. "You'll feel a prick and a burn", she says. I never felt the prick but oh the burn!!! A few more injections and things are pretty numb. Then she's looking at the cut and taps the bone asking if I can feel that. "The rattle? YES", I say. "Well you did a good job and cut all the way to the bone, right through the tendon", she says.

She starts making small talk and I mention that I've been in the ER before following my motorcycle accident. Her response, "I'll bet you gave that up". "Nope, in fact it inspired me to become a motorcycle safety instructor", I say. Then we get onto the no helmet issue and she wished there was a helmet law. I told her there was and that enforcement was part of the problem, followed by education and peer pressure. She keeps sewing and we keep talking... I found out her husband worked at the hospital too and didn't like the sight of blood either. That's funny. When she's done she says "OK, your stitched up. I'll have someone come in and bandage and splint the finger then you can go".

4:30pm still waiting for the dressing and splint.

4:45pm still waiting...

Finally Cheryl comes in and takes care of things. She starts wrapping me up and the tetanus shot nurse comes in with my discharge papers. "When was your last tetanus shot", she asks... I pause thinking is this girl loopy??? Then I say "Thanksgiving day 2007". She thought she had me. She gives me my prescriptions and tells me if I'm going out partying to take one of the pain pills before I go and that I'll be feeling really good after a beer. I laugh and tell her "I won't be taking the pain pills but thanks for the tip". She seemed pretty sure I'd need the pills when the throbbing started.

5:00pm I'm walking out of the room and stopping by the business desk. All paper work is done, nothing to pay, I'm good to go. I thank the staff on the way out and joke with them a little. I meet Archie in the waiting room and out the door we go.

CVS pharmacy was closed on Thanksgiving so no drugs for me. Which turned out alright as a Sam Adams Winter Ale and 600mg of Ibuprofen worked fine.

So 3 hours in the ER plus however much time I'm going to waste in the coming days with the hand surgeon. All because of a few seconds of inattention with a knife. Stupid hurts!

No comments: