Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chapter 2

So about ten minutes after I shut everything down the other night I realized that I hadn't said how I put my fingers in the saw, just the sound it made and the effect it had. Basically I wasn't holding the saw properly.

My left hand started out at the end of the saw then moved up towards the bar (the part that has the chain) and I ended up sticking my fingers in the exhaust for the wood chips.

Anyways, back to the story.

We walked into the ER at Stevens for my first trip ever only to find the place totally empty. I started to fill out paperwork but ended up having Brian do it for me. I could still write but I was so cracked out on adrenaline that I couldn't keep my hand still. As we were about to sit down and wait for me to be called I turned around to see my boss was already there waiting on us. She asked how I was doing and sat down with us while we waited for me to get called. This was to be the beginning of the onslaught of finger mangling stories I would soon be hearing. Probably 80 percent of the people I know have done semi devastating damage to their hands or fingers. Turns out my boss had actually had her thumb mostly severed by a malfunctioning bucket. I won't go into her story (she can write her own, this is about me) but needless to say I was much happier with some skin and meat gone from the ends of my fingers than have my thumb dangling by a shred of skin.

My name was called and I followed a nurse back to a little office where she checked my vitals and assessed my situation. As she was entering in my information we were chatting a little and I mentioned how dead the ER was today. "Lucky you" she replied. "Not exactly" I said as I held up my hand. She smiled politely but apparently didn't think my joke was very funny, go figure.

I went back out to wait with Brian and my boss for my name to be called. A few minutes later someone came to get me and took me back to the to a room that had three walls and a curtain. I thought for sure that for an injury as gruesome as mine they would want to shut the curtain to keep the faint of heart from seeing my mangled fingers but they didn't. In fact I thought it was funny how people that work there just came and went like it was just another day at the office (keep in mind this is my very first ER trip, in fact I'd only been in the ER area once before with Sarah when she sprained her wrist).

The doctor came in and took a look at my fingers then started gathering stuff to start the repairs. The first thing he did was give me a local anesthetic around the base of my fingers. I still wasn't in any pain at all but in order to the amount of stitching he had to do, I'd need it. The anesthetic turned out to be the second most painful part of this whole process (stay tuned, the number one will surprise you!). Then he started asking me questions, how did I do it, when was my last tetanus shot (which was forever ago), etc. While we were waiting for the anesthetic to kick in they gave me a tetanus booster and what was to be the first of many Vicodins.

After a little while longer he brought over a large syringe with a cup around the end of it to spray saline water into my cuts to clean them out. As he was doing this I realized that I could still feel him brushing against the wounds on my fingers. This was ultimately a good thing because it meant only a spot of my finger was going to be dead to sensation, not the whole thing. He was actually a little surprised I could still feel given the amount of damage to my middle finger. He gave me a test poke with the stitching needle and when I told him I could still really feel it he hit me hard with anesthetic again. After that we were in business. While I was waiting for him to get the rest of his stuff together I snapped a couple pics. In order to spare the faint of heart (sissies) I won't post my gory finger pics in the blog but I will put together a photo album I can update with pictures ( I take progress pictures every other day).

Right about the time he finished all his cleaning and waiting for the second round of anesthetic to really kick in Sarah and my mother showed up to see the damage. I was relieved that Sarah didn't kick my ass in the ER (she actually still hasn't *crosses fingers*) but I was really surprised both of them came back and took a good look at the mutilation.

He went to work on my pointer finger first because it was the least damaged of the two. There was basically just a gouge across the side. It's actually hard to say how many stitches he put in there but it was quite a few. When he was satisifed with the pointer finger he went to work on my middle finger. Let me tell you, he had his work cut out for him. Sarah and my mom left the hospital to go get my car from work about the time he was getting started on my middle finger and Sarah was back before he was done... it was bad. He started out by doing a few smaller stitches and after a few minutes informed me he was about to do his first 'anchor' stitch, the kind that would eventually close up the chunk of meat that was missing from my finger.

The ER doctors were all actually really cool. We joked around a little and he even made a little fun of a guy someplace else in the hospital that was moaning like a giant baby. I knew I was in good hands when they started taking bets on what was wrong with him and the guy stitching me turned out to be right. (he'd dislocated his shoulder in case you're wondering)

After the doctor was satisfied with his work he started talking about how much time off I'd need. Originally he only thought I'd need a couple days but while he was working on my middle finger he remarked how painful this was probably going to be and maybe I'd need three instead of two... great.

He sent an orderly in to wrap (the hell) out of my hand with more gauze, Ace bandages and two splints. They told the orderly or whoever he was to use some sort of gel thing that wasn't supposed to stick. I even specifically asked him, will this stick to my mess of a finger to which he replied no, absolutely not. More on that later.

The ER doctor disappeared for a little while during my bandaging and when he came back he had some good news. He had called a hand specialist for me, while the guy was in surgery, to see if he could see me the next morning. I kind of got the feeling he was calling in a favor but that could just be my inflated ego talking. At any rate he came back with a number to call at the specialists office and told me to call immediately when we got home. He said to tell them his name and that he had talked to the doctor directly and got the ok.

After that we were all set. By the time I came out of the ER Brian and my boss were already gone along with my mom and apparently my mother in law (she stopped by to see me but didn't want to see my fingers so she waited in the waiting area). I left the hospital all put back together with a prescription for 20 Vicidons and 40 Keflexes (an antibiotic).

We actually weren't at the hospital very long, I got there about 10:30 and we left about 1:00 so that meant it was lunch time. I was starting to get the munchies from the Vicidon so we went to Sarah's mom's house where she was nice enough to order us lunch.

I think I'm going to call it a night here folks. Don't think that because the main part of this tale is over that it's going to be boring now! The excitement is just beginning. Check back often!