i had just gotten home from riding my bike to the thrift store, where i’d finally found a set of the perfect noodle bowl bowls, and the sewing store, where i’d just bought badass thread for making snoopy his new dog bed. how it pains me now to think of all these activities, which i once took for granted and which are now off limits! To say nothing of washing the dishes, which is what I began doing upon arriving home. Washing me new bowls, what could be nicer? GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS AND PHOTOS FOLLOW
The bowl I was washing slipped out of my hands and broke against the side of the sink. In maybe two seconds i had all these thoughts:
– damn i broke it but i just bought it!
– whoa, is the inside of the ceramic somehow filled with brown paint? Weird!
– oh shit thats BLOOD
– HOW CAN THERE BE SO MUCH BLOOD
Then i looked at where it cut me and YOU GUYS. It was like…i dont even know. Later after showing the photos to a few friends here are their descriptions:
– a zombie wound
– a horror-movie wound
– a shark bite
It was like GAPING OPEN, and i could see not only SPURTING blood but rippley red layers and fatty yellow layers and IS THAT BONE?? I screamed once then realized no one was in my whole house. Frank came running in. I thought i had sliced open my vein, the suicide vein, and I had this surreal sad moment of thinking in wonderment “is this when i die?” and realizing thats probably how most people react when about to die (with amazement), and that theres no reason whatsoever that I “couldn’t possibly” die in this moment; people die constantly, why not me, right now? I predominantly felt dumb, and sad for the dog, and sad for the old man to come in and find me in a pool of blood with the water running in the sink.
So at this point I bet 3 total seconds had passed. I remember it in slow motion obviously, as one does. Then I was like “wait a second lets at least TRY not to die,” then I thought “what do i do?” then I remembered how comforted I’ve always been by the fact that we live across from an emergency room!! OH YEAH!!!!!
In retrospect I probably was in no danger of dying, I mean, obviously. But there really was so much blood it was terrifying. I’ve led a sheltered life, but still, i’d never seen so much blood, of course its going to scare a dude who is not, like, a marine or Laura Ingalls Wilder. So I didn’t think about anything but getting to the ER. I was also dimly aware of not wanting to get blood on the carpet. So I ran out the door with no shoes on or anything and just ran down the street with my arm above my head and blood POURING down. In fact on the way home hours later we followed my blood trail from the door of the ER all the way home, along the whole sidewalk, up our front steps, and across the porch. Gary said “see? All this time we’ve thought the blood on the sidewalks downtown was from frat boys fighting but really it’s just been people having legitimate emergencies!” lol
Pedestrians were literally leaping out of my way, one lady jumped into a bush. I got to the ER and was so relieved it actually was an ER and that our joke about the sign that says “emergency breast imaging” was just a joke. The people in the ER also leaped out of my way–a bad sign. I stood there looking at everyone and then I said the immortal words:
“I just did this.”
After that it was like a beautiful calm dream. Doctors instantly appeared and wrapped my arm in towels that almost immediately got soaked through. They put me on a table and propped my wrapped arm on a pillow, which also got soaked through. How could I be losing this much blood and its still not a dangerous amount? The body is amazing.
One man injected the wound with anasthetic while a younger med-student type dude gave me a sponge bath. THAT IS HOW MUCH BLOOD THERE WAS. He even had to wash my feet and the bottoms of my feet. It was horrific, like I had slaughtered an animal. My pants are ruined, needless to say.
Everyone was so calm and nice, but at this point, having reached safety, I started to think. What if I severed whatever puppet strings hold my fingers together? WHAT IF I NEVER WALK AGAIN EEEEEEEEEEEEE? etc. Three doctors prodded my wound, a disgusting feeling–a strong tugging sensation inexcusably deep inside my arm, ughhh–and conferred, scaring me more. “Aaah, uh-huh, see, she cut through the muscle belly.” “Yeah. Does she have [some phrase referring to thumb use ability]?” “Dunno, haven’t checked yet.” NOOOO!! OMG!!
But then they had me do finger exercises and said “it’s probably fine.” The guy who gave me the sponge bath patted me reassuringly then asked me if I’d “looked at it” (meaning the wound). Me: “Ugh. It looks like a shark bite.” Him (professionally): “Have you been bitten by a shark?” Me: “What?? No”
Also there was this moment where they learned I was a musicologist:
“I bet you’re especially nervous about your hand, then, because of your profession.”
“What instrument do you play?”
“(???)…oh, I thought you meant typing.”
I began to realize I really should contact the old man. I suddenly remembered that he was going to come home to puddles of blood and broken dishes and the front door open and he was going to think I’d been murdered/kidnapped. Plus the dog needed his dinner. I didn’t get reception on my phone but the sponge-bath man brought me a cordless. I informed my surprised husband and then felt better. Then they left me alone for awhile while they conferred with an orthopedic guy about stitching procedure. I had the presence of mind to take some photos with my phone. So lucky my phone was in my pocket when this all happened! It was in my pocket because I was going to call Steve back after the dishes were done. “If only I had called him first, maybe this wouldnt have happened!” This sent me on a “Sliding Doors”esque mental rampage. “If I’d bought that keyboard I wanted I wouldnt have had room in my bag for those damn bowls” “If I’d been sick in bed with typhus I never would have gone to the store where the bowls were”
Or, as gary later pointed out, “If you just did things calmly and with care you wouldnt have broken the dish at all.”
Can we pause to admire how fucking RAZOR SHARP Ikea pottery apparently is?? Jesus Christ. Word to the wise.
While laying on my bed I saw a gurney go by with a very old woman on it, then a minute later a gurney went by in opposite direction with a tiny little girl on it. Amazing.
So anyway after another hour gary showed up and i thought i would cry. i wanted to see him so bad but didnt want to be dramatic on the phone. My goal was to be so calm that the doctors would be impressed with my fortitude. I dont think I succeeded (my cries of “UGH!! OH GOD THATS SO SICK” prob didnt help)
gary said he’d cleaned up all the blood and fed the dog.
“was there blood on the kitchen floor?”
“what about the sink?”
“all over the sink”
“what about the carpet?”
“what about the front door?”
“…..well. glad thats all covered.”
Then he said he had to leave because he can’t deal with gaping flesh wounds. Sponge-bath doc was clearly astounded that anyone would ever choose NOT to look at gaping flesh wounds (“it looks so cool!” he protested as gary left). After this he obviously had the idea that gary was unstable and very sensitive. When it was all over he tenderly washed more blood off my hands, saying “there we go….dont want your husband getting upset.” He wasnt being mean! He was being sweet! Worried about my husband! Hilarious. Poor Gary.
Thank god for Gary though. He came, dealt with the insurance, went and got all my pills (antibiotics, which I hate!!! But gangrene is worse), ordered me a pizza, undressed me, helped me tie a plastic bag over my cast so i could shower at least some of the remaining blood off me (today i am seeing some spots i missed, including underneath the fingernails of my wounded hand, which means i cant clean them until wednesday at earliest GROSSSSS). He has been a whale of a buddy. All night whenever I stirred he’d wake up and go “HONEY? HONEY ARE YOU OK, WHAT DO YOU NEED”
So anyway they stitched it up. TWENTY STITCHES! Doesnt that seem like a lot?? I guess I have nothing to compare it to. I also abruptly realized I am going to have an EPIC scar. “Oh yeah,” said sponge bath guy, “its gonna be NICE.”
The stitching was gross because he had to stitch the muscle back together, then the fatty tissue that covers the muscle, then the skin. And all the while someone down the hall was vomiting with incredible violence. I kept thinking “boy I’m glad I’m not THAT guy.”
Then they put me in a kind of cast that holds my hand and fingers in a position that holds the muscle together where stitched. Disgusting. The cast is very uncomfortable and i dont get it off for days. I find out wednesday if there is muscle/nerve damage and if i can take off cast. jesus. It goes without saying that i am intensely hoping there is no permanent fingers/muscle damage.
Finally it was time to go. I signed my name with a pathetic left-hand scrawl, received a painful tetanus shot (jesus! hurts worse than the arm, now (is that bad sign??)), then walked home still barefoot with dried blood all over me.
Watched Life of Brian, took vicodin, went to bed, slept surprisingly well considering uncomfortable cast, 20 stitches, etc.
evryone at the ER was so lovely, especially sponge bath guy. It felt very funny to walk out of there, barefoot and filthy, past all the computers and beeping machines, and to wave goodbye to all my new pals. “Hang loose dude!” Sponge bath guy goes “You’re gonna be okay!” What a cute dude.
I did eventually call steve, who was properly amazed by my excuse as to why I hadnt called when I said I would. He also pointed out that if I HAD, I wouldnt have hurt myself. I KNOW THIS. Then he got PULLED OVER while talking to me! What a crazy day! He called back in a minute. The cop pulled him over for being on his phone.
“Well did you tell him you were talking to your friend who had an arm emergency?”
“Yes! ‘To the bone,’ I told him. ’20 stitches.’ I told him everything!”
“Was he impressed?”
“OH yeah. Didn’t give me a ticket either. He asked if you needed him to get an ambulance and I had to tell him it wasnt that kind of emergency and you were in a different state. Still didnt give me a ticket.”
HA HA HA!
Fiona has just texted to tell me I’m going to be okay.
I typed this one-handed, I’ve been working on it for over an hour. It gave me something to do though so “it’s all good”
now what can i do? The idea of reading this freud i’m supposed to read is strangely appealing. I just wrote the most emo scrawly list imaginable on a post it with my left hand for the old man. “Bread. Avocado. Book. Movie?”
THE GLAD GAME
– chance for me and my left hand to get to know each other
– i live across the street from the emergency room
– didnt cut nerves or tendons (presumably)
– didnt cut suicide vein
– just finished book proposal and syllabus, dont need to type for awhile
– wasnt wearing nice clothes
– have badass health insurance for only 3 more weeks!! great timing thank god
– still have two of those great bowls left
*********PICTURES OF WOUND FOLLOW! THEY ARE PRETTY GROSS, IF YOU ARE A WIENER DONT LOOK********
on an unrelated note, does anyone know how to make a dog fart less?? I feel like snoopy farts more than is normal. What does he need?? yogurt? something else?? its insane this guy’s farts