Yesterday was a bank holiday (national holiday) here, as well as being Simon’s day off. The weather was absolutely foul, so much so that I decided Simon could walk the dog on his own and I would stay in the dry and read. Not long after Simon had set out I started to feel guilty about my laziness. I was also feeling quite cold. So, I decided to go and do a bit of wood-sawing in the garage to warm up and to do something useful. I reduced all the branches we had in the garage to kindling, and was busy cutting the bits of Christmas tree we had left into usable kindling with a pair of secateurs, when I obviously mistook my left hand for Christmas tree and cut into my index finger. It only stung very slightly, but I could see it was shockingly deep. I bandaged it up as best I could, enclosing it in a nappy sack (we use them to pick up after the dog), tried desperately to think of people who live close to us who have cars, riffling through Simon’s index card box of our church family, but couldn’t find anyone who was in. Decided that if I walked to the hospital I’d get there faster than any other way (it is just over a mile away), grabbed my purse and legged it. Holding my umbrella in my wounded hand meant I could keep it upright for the entire journey without looking quite as stupid as I felt. Half an hour after I’d cut myself I was giving my details to the receptionist at casualty. I got triaged quickly, left a message on the answering machine for Simon (I’d decided not to tell my father-in-law before I went – actually he probably wouldn’t have worried, but he would certainly have slowed me down!), and settled down for a long wait (having to hold my hand up all the time) while kicking myself (metaphorically, of course, I wasn’t going to risk further injury!) for not having brought a book to read. After a while they took me into the treatment area to wait there, which made me a lot more nervous than I had been in the waiting area. When they finally remembered where they’d put me (the nurse holding everything together went home at a key moment) all the staff got to argue about whether I needed a tetanus booster or whether I had life-time immunity (they finally decided I was covered which is what I had thought). Then a newly qualified doctor (our hospital has a large medical school attached) and a nurse practitioner took me off to clean me up and suture me. They decided not to give me a local anaesthetic, then changed their minds after I unwrapped my finger. I am sooo glad they gave me a local as some of the stitching hurt. This was the new doctor’s opportunity to learn about cleaning and suturing cuts, so she and the nurse practioner talked through everything, which was all very entertaining for me. Guided by the nurse, the doctor put in a stitch which then tore through the edge of the wound, so they then took it in turns to “mattress stitch” either side of my V-shaped wound (like I said, really glad for the local anaesthetic). Then they allowed me to wash my hands before bandaging me up and telling me to keep the hand dry for a day (yuck – I have washed the other fingers, keeping the whole hand unwashed was just taking caution too far), and to remove my rings when I got home (I’d refused to remove them then and there for fear of losing them). I have to have the stitches removed in a week’s time, which will be tricky as we will be away on holiday. I came out of the suture room to find my husband waiting for me! How lovely! And I was finished just in time for us to make it on time to our friends who had invited us to dinner.
Well, now I know how casualty works and what it is like to be sutured when conscious.
I guess I’m excused from household duties for a few days, then!