Fingers are Important Appendages - Part 1

This is a shoutout for my new friend Joan....who found me after searching the internet looking for other people who don't pay attention while sewing. =) Also, this started getting really long, so I broke it up into multiple posts.

Everyone thinks that sewing is a pretty safe hobby...something that your grandmother does. But I can't think of very many hobbies, short of sword swallowing, that involve quite so many sharp objects. Think about it: pins, needles, scissors, a machine that jabs needles through whatever is in the way without stopping, and my main topic today...rotary cutters.

Do a search on google for "I cut off the tip of my finger with a rotary cutter" and you will quickly see I am not alone...but maybe I can prevent you from doing something like this too.

A little over two years ago, I was making some major changes in my life. I am a teacher by trade, and at the time was living in Dallas, Texas, teaching at a very large high school. I had been teaching there for 5 years, and had been in Texas for ten years total including college and knew that it was time to leave. I wanted to move back to the Northwest, where I grew up. So I turned in my resignation and started looking for jobs in Oregon and Washington. School ended in Texas the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and I was facing the completely unknown. That Friday night, I was working on a baby blanket for a friend while watching the Cavaliers play, and not paying attention to what I was doing.

That's when I sliced the tip of my left index finger off. There it was...laying there on the table. It didn't hurt at first, so I walked over to get a paper towel, and then I realized that I'd cut off a LOT more than I had originally thought. In fact, I had cut from the bottom right corner of my fingernail to the top center of my fingertip, and in fact had nicked my middle finger as well, although I didn't realize that at the time. I live alone, so I had no choice: I picked up the fingertip, my keys, and my purse, and drove to the PrimaCare place less than a block from my apartment complex.

It was about 8:03 when I pulled up, blood dripping down my arm and off my elbow and I'm sure I was completely white by that point, I was feeling a bit sick. The place was closed, but they had just closed at 8, so one of the people in the waiting room opened the door - I'm sure the 5 or 6 kids sitting there had some serious nightmares that night.

The doctor stitched the tip back on, but told me that I would need to go see a hand surgeon as soon as I could. He also gave me a prescription for painkillers and told me to keep my hand elevated. By the time I left it was about 9:30 pm and I went to try and find an all-night Walgreens that also had an all-night pharmacy. Guess what. Those aren't so easy to find. I ended up about 25 miles away, and to make a long story short, my best friend, who was in the midst of moving across Texas, ended up driving me home as I was getting a bit loopy and very teary-eyed from the shock, the stress and the painkillers.

Tuesday I went to the hand surgeon, and he told me that my finger was dead and that there was no way he could save it as it was....I was scheduled for surgery the next day. I called my mom and hysterically poured out the whole thing and asked if she could come down the next day to take care of me. While she worked on that, I psyched myself up for surgery. Another friend drove me to the hospital and I spent 6 hours waiting for surgery alone with a migraine and no pillow (stolen by the family members of the other person in the room), curled into the fetal position on my bed while nurses checked the patient next to me and never checked on me once. I finally asked for a pillow after 3 hours, which I got, and migraine medication, which I didn't.

Because I was the last surgery of the day, I didn't end up having surgery until around 6:30 or later that night (I don't really remember). I have small veins in my hands(or they are deeply buried, or something) so the nurse stabbed me 3 times before they finally called an ER nurse up to get the IV in. I was in tears by this time because I was so freaked out and still totally by myself. Oh, and remember that migraine? Yeah...still there, and I hadn't eaten since about 10 pm the night before.

Part 2 tomorrow. =)

1 comment:

Colleen said...

I still feel TERRIBLE for not insisting that I stay with you. They said it would not take long before you "went in"...they lied.