8.01.2009

Fingers are Important Appendages - Part 2

Want part 1? click here.

I haven't mentioned much about the surgeon. Dr. Hands was apparently the best in the business, but had little to NO bedside manner. Remember the migraine? And the 3 needles they stabbed in my hand trying to get the IV in? And the nearly 24 hours I'd gone without eating? I'm in tears as the nurse (who felt like she had the experience of a janitor as she stabbed my hand over and over) tried to get the needle in my hand and my mom wasn't there and I was totally alone, and Dr. Hands walked in and said "What's the problem? Why are you crying?"

I refused to talk to him. And by the way....signing papers that say that there is a possibility you might die in surgery is completely frightening.

I obviously don't remember the surgery, and I'm pretty sure that's a good thing, but when I came out I had a giant cast on my arm up to my elbow. Basically my left hand was in a fist, with my finger sewn into the soft part of my hand at the base of my thumb. You read that right, it was SEWN INTO MY HAND. They cut a slit open and tucked my finger inside to get the blood vessels to regrow in the fingertip.

A friend came to pick me up and after picking up a prescription for Vicodin, I made it home, where my mom was waiting for me and my giant cast. I spent the next three weeks sleeping on the couch, with my arm propped up on two pillows. The first few days I was completely out of it, barely getting up for the bathroom, and watching a LOT of reruns. My arm started to itch pretty soon...especially my palm, and there was some swelling all up and down my arm. It was almost impossible to take a shower, and sewing was out of the question.

Meanwhile, remember, I was out of a job and was using valuable summer job-hunting time on the couch, but I had fortunately gotten most of the general stuff out of the way. I had a lot of recommendation letters photocopied, and spent a lot of time filling out job applications, stuffing envelopes and sending application packets off. After 2.5 weeks on the couch, I went back in for a second surgery where the surgeon disconnected my hand and my finger and put me in a finger cast. My fingers were so stiff after 3 weeks without moving that I couldn't open my hand all the way and all the creases of my hand were dark red and cracked almost through all the layers of skin. I put lotion on about 48 times a day for the next two weeks.

My stitches were removed about a week after the second surgery but the scabs stayed on for several more weeks. I had to go to physical therapy, although I only went three times and then decided I could rub lotion in and move my fingers by myself without help.

It took about 6 months to get all the movement back in my fingers and over a year for most of the scars to be pain free. My finger looks totally normal to most people, although I can definitely tell the difference. My left index fingernail is quite a bit smaller than the right hand one and the tip is still kind of slanted. I have feeling in most of the finger, except for just a small area at the side of my fingertip.

What is the moral of this story? Be careful, even when doing something that's not dangerous. Sewers and crafters use sharp implements and it only takes a second to totally change your life. I was lucky. I cut as much of my finger off as I could without hitting bone. If I had hit bone, I would have been in serious trouble. So...be careful, pay attention to what you are doing, and always, ALWAYS check where your fingers are.

I'm at the coast with my family, so I will be going into computer withdrawal until Thursday....I'll see you then!

7 comments:

Kori said...

They sewed your finger into your hand? OUCH!

Have fun with the Fam. I want to hjear all about it when you get back.

Sara said...

omgosh hun i just want to hug u!

i have experienced great nurses and doctors and also horrible ones. i was once left in the bathroom while on morphine - i pulled that emergency cord and waited...and waited... and waited... i eventually made my way back to bed, just dragging my lines. :/

Antoinette said...

Oh dear. I had a rotary cutter accident last year and thank goodness my nail was there to absorb much of the pressure. It took me months to use a rotary cutter again, and I wrote a "safety" post that I never published because I kept thinking I was the only one who would move so fast/ use the wrong tools (the ruler was not meant for use with a rotary cutter and was not high enough).

Sounds like my experience was lucky compared to yours. What a nightmare, even the recovery!

carla said...

I can't believe you had any sympathy for me when I cut my finger! It is amazing how a split second can make a huge impact on your life. I always have hospital stories after surgery...and I've always had someone with me. You are one tough woman! I'm glad you are still sewing and that in spite of everything you found a job that summer.

Christina said...

I just started reading part 2 before part 1 and I though this *just* happened! Ouch! Glad you are recovered but how traumatic that was!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I'm glad you were able to recover from this accident & still do what you love. I always think twice when using a rotary cutter because I have read so many stories similar to yours.

Joan said...

Thanks Christy!! My new-found friend.
So far I'm doing okay and may be able to avoid surgery. To all of you reading this, I haven't been able to pick up a rotary cutter yet, but I plan to soon. It did only happen a week ago. You can't stop doing what you love; it's just not possible. I did hear about a guard you can put on the side of your ruler. Does anyone know about this? If there isn't one, I'm inventing one.