May 18, 2009 by 8junebugs
Actually, the bleeding started on Saturday, when I neglected to follow the very clear safety instructions on my mandolin. But I don’t think U2 has a song about bleeding on Saturdays, and it was still bleeding just as much on Sunday, so there you are.
I wrapped my poor pinky as well as I could (this is one of the worst things about living on your own — one-handed bandaid manipulation) and thought, oh, it’s just a cut. I’ve had cuts before. Once it clots, I’ll be fine.
(Somehow, there was no evidence of my injury on the slicer. Extremely effective tool, the mandolin. If you don’t know what a mandolin looks like, think of a mini guillotine, but with converging razor blades where a plain old blade would be. It comes with an equally effective guard. Which I wasn’t using. Because I am a jackass.)
A couple of hours later, though, as it continued gushing and I continued wincing in pain, I reconsidered my “it’s just a cut” position. Fortunately, I have great friends, and those friends have parents who (a) are in the medical profession and (b) visit frequently. My friend’s mom, a nurse who probably thought she’d retired and was just visiting to help clean up after a kitchen renovation, took a look at it, re-bandaged it for me, and suggested that I might need a stitch or two. There were grisly instructions about how to decide whether to go to the ER: “Shower with the bandage on tomorrow to help take off the bandage (it’ll stick). If it’s just seeping a little bit, dry it off and re-wrap it. If it’s gushing like it is right now, go to the ER.”
Sunday morning, post-shower, you’d think I’d just cut it. Off to the ER I went, with two books in my good hand (I was at the end of Omnivore’s Dilemma and was confident that I would finish it before they even took my blood pressure, and then I’d be bored for hours). Apparently, though, I beat the rush. They got me checked in immediately and I only waited about half an hour before the doctor came in and declared I would not need stitches.
“Cuts like this are bad bleeders,” she said, “because you slice through capillary beds. And they hurt a lot because of all the nerve endings in your fingertips. But it will heal itself. We’ll clean it out and wrap it up, and then you’ll need to keep it dry for 24 hours. Then you can keep it covered with a regular old bandaid for a while to keep it clean, but it’ll be fine.”
Had I left my nurse-approved bandage on longer, I might not have gone to the ER at all. And I think it’s entirely possible that changes in bandaging resources and techniques are the reason they didn’t sew it up — they had a nifty metal tube thingy that turned my finger into the compressed cotton burrito you see above. (I was totally fascinated.)
“Oh!” the doctor added. “When was your last tetanus shot?”
Um. No idea. But I was slicing sweet potatoes, not lunch meat…
“Well! We’ll just update that today.”
I’ll be honest, though — I didn’t even feel the tetanus shot after the guy scrubbed out my little cut with iodine. He said he would scrub it out and I thought he was just being informal and making a little joke, but he meant “scrub.”
I hate him.
Today, I’m healing as predicted and trying to figure out how to wash my pots and pans without getting my right hand wet. I don’t have any rubber gloves at the moment. I am aware that a condom seems like the perfect solution, but I don’t have any of those, either, and a condom wouldn’t prevent moisture from wicking up from the cotton harnessing the bandage to my hand.
Yeah, don’t think I didn’t think of it.