i’m not giving you the finger on purpose, i swear! or, that time i got stitches in my middle finger

I have about 7 blog posts running through my head, and 7 other things on my to-do list, except I forgot to take my noon Concerta today and I’m tired, so instead, here’s the brief story of Finally I Had a Normal People Reason to Go to the Emergency Room. (You know, as opposed to all of the bullshit from 2013.)

Last weekend, I travelled to the Montreal Goalball Tournament with our guys from Team Toba. So, two weeks ago, in preparation, I decided I was going to make a Manitoba Goalball t-shirt. Coach swag and all that. So, I bought those stick-on vinyl letters and a can of fabric spray paint (the aim was to reverse-stencil the letters, if that makes sense. I’ll show the shirt later. Gotta be sequential here.)

Then I tried to cut the bottom out of a shoebox so I could use it to spray paint within. Except I didn’t even get the scissors into the cardboard, and instead they somehow sliced my middle finger. At first I thought it wasn’t that bad. I grabbed some Kleenex and started the whole apply-pressure-and-elevate thing. Then I went and found my mom and got her to dig the gauze from my backpack. And then I realized I was bleeding pretty good. So I kept the gauze on for 10 minutes and checked it—still bleeding. Then I repeated that 8 more times, because I’m brilliant. After sitting there for 90 minutes with my finger wrapped in gauze, pressure applied, elevated, and still bleeding (look, I checked the ER wait times at about 70 minutes…) and a few false-exciting-moments that it was going to stop bleeding, I got my mom to drive me to the close ER (which I had never previously been to for myself, but figured I could trust them for a normal people issue such as this).

Registration. Triage. Finger still bleeding quite significantly when the nurse took my taped on gauze off. Got asked if I had a clotting disorder at this point (still not sure if this is standard, and asked them to check on my hematology labs from 2013. The doc later said he couldn’t interpret them and my family doc said a couple days later there was nothing of note), and the nurse dumped saline all over my finger and then wrapped it up in a gauze pad, saying “This is bleeding a lot for such a fine cut”. By the time she was done with me I held up my finger, which had already bled through the dressing, and was like “Uhh, is this okay?”. I then got a giant thing wrapped around my finger including like an entire self-adhesive tensor, and was told I’d be seen in the minor treatment area for stitches or glue.

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A half hour or so later I got called to the back (aka not the minor treatment area). This was probably about 11 PM (I cut my finger at 7:20 PM if I recall correctly), and while a nurse and another nurse came in to do vitals and bring me two cups of apple juice (no snacks, just double juice—my mom purchased snacks), they finally informed the guy next to me with unexplained arm issues that the doctors wouldn’t be in to see us until after midnight shift change. I stuck my earphones in, texted with one hand, got a tetanus shot since mine was a bit out of date, and waited for 12:20 AM when I presumed the doctor would be in.

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(The post-tetanus shot/seriously my vaccines are out of date face.
Also, I just happened to be wearing this shirt. Fitting, no?) 

Eventually he saw guy with unexplained inability to move arm and sent him for some test, and then came in to investigate my finger. Somebody brought him the suture cart and he took off the dressing (still bleeding, by the way). Before he injected the freezing I asked if it was worse than an IV insertion and he said yes, but it wasn’t too bad (I mean, I could totally feel him giving me the stitches but when he asked if I wanted more freezing, I told him to just keep going because the freezing would hurt more than feeling the stitches going in). Eventually, he left me with a numb middle finger, three stitches and a significant blood stain on the sheet where my finger had been levitating for stitches. Classy all the way here. (Gotta keep up my trend.)

Oh, also he made me stick my injured middle finger through a hole in a sheet for the stitches, to which I said “I’ve always wanted to give a doctor the finger”. He and my mom weren’t as amused as I, and my people in the internet, were. That is why the internet people are my people.

So then I got to leave. I went home and promptly took a Naproxen (because I got a T3 after my fibroid surgery and then had no pain afterward, so why not try?) and went to sleep before the freezing totally wore off. 

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Pros of injuring your middle finger and needing to keep it bandaged for over a week: You can give anybody the finger and claim it is an accident. [Also, pros of any hand injury: no dishes.]

Cons of injuring your middle finger: Pretty much everything is MUCH more difficult. I kind of have a new appreciation for my middle finger for purposes other than giving the finger. Boots? Harder to put on. Signing every coin-toss and score sheet at the goalball tournament? Illegible. Writing anything by hand? Also illegible. Holding stuff? Yep, middle finger is important for that. Typing? Typing was part of the reason I got PowerFlex wrap to cover my bandage with—it looked prettier and made it a bit more bulky so I’d quit trying to type with it. Which was painful. Avoiding water? Yep, that’s fun, especially when the finger you can’t get wet is in the middle… Anyways, I’ll stop whining, but the middle finger is important for more than giving the finger.

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I got the stitches out after I got back from the Montreal/Ottawa adventure. (Manitoba Health wouldn’t pay the full cost of getting them out in Ottawa, since I was there on days 7-10 of “get your stitches out on days 7-10, and my Blue Cross travel insurance didn’t consider stitches removal an emergency. Hm.) My primary doc says it’s healing well, but to keep it covered. Still.

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My Little Pony/Cupcake/Minions/Curious George Band-Aids it is!

So, there’s my How Normal People Visit the ER story. It was very straight forward, as opposed to all the other visits. As for the box, my mom finished cutting it, and I resumed Project T-Shirt the next day… far away from the scissors.

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Shirt on the plane.

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Shirt at the Google Building in Montreal.

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Shirt wearing and pink wrapped bandaged finger in front of a Habs sign at the Bell Centre in Montreal. ‘Cause that’s how we do.

Closing thoughts: Be careful with scissors, friends. Even if you, like me, are 24, adult supervision/assistance may be required from a more adultier adult.