Wednesday, June 19, 2019

I was in stitches, but it wasn't funny

That Friday started out so well. I did some volunteer work in the morning, stopped for groceries on the way home and was now preparing a salad for some guests that night. It was our first little pool party of the summer, a summer that came late for pool parties. The house was reasonably clean, the yard was reasonably in order and our young guests were reasonably excited about being the first to take a swim at our place in 2019.

Our guests were bringing the bulk of the meal, they are just that way and I've stopped fighting it. But I wanted to add a simple salad - canned garbanzo beans, halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, chopped parsley and some seasonings. Oh yes, we can't forget the diced red onion. The onion gives it that little bit of punch, that pop of flavor that says you cared enough to dice up something extra. A bit of red onion is perfect for that.

"Almost done here, just have to dice up this onion and the salad is done, hmm, this knife probably needs sharpening again, I just had it sharpened, we sure go through a lot of produce, oh well I'm just about finished..."

And just about then the knife slipped off the onion and right into the tip of my left index finger. The finger that according to instructional videos on how to safely and quickly dice an onion should have been bent in such a way that makes slicing it with the knife next to impossible. The same finger that still bore the slight scar a bit further down from another slip of the same knife from a few weeks before.

In my defense I would like to add that I process lots and lots of fresh produce with that combination of knife and fingers. Barrels of produce both bulky and thick, and heaps of herbs - fine and delicate. I still have all my fingers. For now.

After slicing into my finger I gasped and grabbed a semi-clean, semi-dirty dish towel. It's not like it was covered in chicken juice or anything, but later I did make a mental note to reach for a completely clean dish towel in the future event I cut myself again and there is blood.

After the shivers raced up my spine and into the far reaches of my head, I ran some water under my finger to see what was up. The skin opened up in such a way as to cue up the theme for Jaws, so I knew I had to get my husband involved at this point. I called him in, but was a bit afraid to take the clean/dirty towel off my finger. I decided to try rinsing it again. Jaws 2.

A decision had to be made. Head to the ER for stitches, a visit that would cost $500 in a copay? Or pay out of pocket to visit an Urgent Care not connected to our health plan, which by now seemed like not much of plan. I called the advice nurse and found out Sacramento has an Urgent Care again, located in the south area. My dirty-from-yard-work husband cleaned up my finger and wrapped it enough for me to drive to Urgent Care. He was way too dirty to think of coming, so I drove myself, finger sticking straight up the whole way. Index finger, which is better for driving in traffic.

I arrived and took a number like I was about to order ice cream or make a return at IKEA. I sat down. My knees went weak for a second. But then I began to convince myself maybe it wasn't that bad, "I bet they can just glue this old shark flap shut."

No-go on the super glue, it needed stiches and the most painful shot I've ever had ever ever ever - straight down the center of my finger from the tip. I usually like to look when I get a shot, but the MA said not to look, so I trusted him. I'd like to say I made no noises whatsoever while receiving this shot, but I tell the truth always, so I'll say maybe I groaned a few times. To distract me, the assistant asked what I was making when I cut my finger. Garbanzo salad with tomatoes and herbs. And some red onion. He asked if I was vegan. Why yes, I am plant-based. So was he, and that might have been the first Plant-based High Five (with my other hand) while receiving a shot on the other hand in the history of that particular Urgent Care. We talked recipes while the man with the shot sewed me up with three stitches. He said it was pretty deep. Um, yes, deep is a good word.

I got home with my finger wrapped up, still blissfully numb. We decided not to disappoint our little guests and went on with our little swim party and marshmallow toasting bonfire. I sat there with my finger sticking out like a sore thumb, a position it would stay in for many weeks to come.

First, I must comment on how amazing the human body is. It took longer than I thought, but now at almost eight weeks later I just feel the slightest numbness and loss of sensation on one bit of my finger. I'm sure it will continue to go away and I'll be fine, because it's already 99.998% better.

Second, the body is very adaptable. At first I couldn't do anything right with only nine fingers, I kept bumping it on everything within bumping distance, and all tasks were clumsy and slow. Then I got used to it and when I healed up I had to remind myself that I had 10 fingers. Slowly I got back to typing and crocheting and picking stuff up without wincing. And yes, very carefully, with added skill and technique, I chop onions like a Food Network Star, with less speed. No more slipped knives, no more stiches, just lots of shark-like precision.

Here is the progression of amazingness, our bodies really are amazing.

Ick. Ouch. Stupid onion.

Still ouch.

No yard work for me!

Can't wait to get the stitches out!

Stiches out, Steri strips on.
Ah, the relief.

Go finger go!

Almost there!

I love you non-dominate-hand index finger.