Maria: Gretl, what happened to your finger?
Gretl: It got caught.
Maria: Caught in what?
Gretl: Friedrich's teeth.
-- "The Sound of Music"
Crystal wishes her finger were that lucky!
I was at school yesterday about 3 p.m., working on my law journal article, when I got a call from Crystal asking me if I thought she should go to the ER because she cut her finger while chopping celery.
Crystal, as you may or may not know, is always reluctant to go to the doctor because she knows her body will heal and it will just be an expensive hassle usually to seek further medical attention than whatever she can do herself. Because of this, I knew it must be pretty bad or else she wouldn't have called me.
That, and she said the tip was flapping off the end. That was another good hint.
She had sliced it diagonally across about 40 percent of her nail on the left index finger. And she almost made it clean through.
Anyway, I rushed out of school, calling David and Megan, who went to help out. Megan picked up Crystal and Clara and I headed for the ER at the Ohio State hospital to meet them. When I was just pulling into the hospital, I got a call from Crystal saying they decided to go to an Urgent Care instead.
So, I drove to the other side of town and met them there. Megan took Clara and Crystal and I started our grand adventure.
After paying a $25 copay and waiting about 30 minutes, they brought us back and did some vital sign checks. Then the doctor came in. He looked at the finger for about 30 seconds and walked out of the room. We were wondering what was going on when a nurse came in and said, "The doctor said you need to go to the Emergency Room because we can't help you here."
We drove back to the ER, where I had been to begin with, and began another round of waiting. We sat in that waiting room for about 2.5 hours (watching Law & Order episode after Law & Order episode) before getting called back. Once we got in our room, we waited another 45 minutes or so before a doctor came in. It turns out the ER was really swamped last night. It would have been nice to know we would wait that long, though because I could have run out and found some dinner.
Anyway, when the doctor came in, he said originally that he was going to take the nail off, sew up the finger and then sew the nail back on in order to protect the finger. The nail would be dead, but it would help the rest of it heal.
Once he numbed Crystal up, though, he found out there was nothing to sew. She almost completely sliced off an entire chunk, so much so that that piece of the finger was toast. He cut it off and then she started bleeding a lot, so he made a mini-tourniquet out of the finger of a surgical glove and stopped it that way. Then, he used some cotton swabs loaded with silver nitrate to chemically cauterized (read: burn the flesh) and seal off the bleeding. It was pretty cool, and Crystal even watched a lot of it (she would!)
Finally, they bandaged it up and we were off. We picked up Clara about 10:30 p.m. and David handed us some pasta he'd made (because we still hadn't eaten) and we got home. Crystal was in a lot of pain, so she took some Tylenol and was able to sleep decently.
She can't get her finger wet (so no washing dishes for her!) and walks around with her finger in the air like she is making a point, but seems like she'll survive. She even finished making the meal she was planning for yesterday.
I was going to put the pictures of the finger in the middle of the post, but I know some people have a hard time looking at blood-and-guts pictures, so I posted them last. Enjoy.
The first one is the cut. I apologize for it being out-of-focus. Blame Blackberry.
Here is the chunk after they removed it (and a close-up, in which you can kind of see the piece of nail as well as a bit of her [former] fingerprint.) I told her since her fingerprint is different that now she can get away with stuff!
Finally, here is the finger with the cauterized spot. You can see how much was chopped off. Also, notice how puffy her finger is as it is full of all sorts of anesthetic.
Final note: I have to mention that we laughed A LOT at the ER thinking about the fact that she chopped of a chunk of her finger. It is really funny, especially when it isn't hurting her. She'll be OK, but will always remember that celery. I think it means she'll have that much more room for cutting without worrying about another injury.
PS - As we were getting ready to leave the ER, I couldn't help myself. I thanked the doctor and told him he could keep the tip.