One of my New Year's Resolutions is for us to go on dates at least twice a month. I tried to schedule a date night swap with our friends for this past Tuesday/Wednesday but it didn't work out because they had other obligations. But I REALLY wanted a date night, so I guess I resorted to drastic measures.
As I was chopping cilantro for the chicken flautas that I was making for dinner, I accidentally sliced into my thumb. It all happened so fast that I didn't register the pain at first. I have knicked myself and even sliced a little bit here and there over the years, but this... well, I pretty much went about 3/4 of the way through my thumb a little less than an inch from the tip. It was gruesome.
Clara was watching "The Little Mermaid" and I didn't scream or cry out or anything. I just quickly doused it under cold water to rinse off the first welling of blood, then realized just the extent of what I had done and grabbed a clean white dish towel from the drawer and laid down on the kitchen floor trying to draw deep breaths and keep it together so I wouldn't pass out. Because I have totally passed out from blood, needles, and pain in the past. I don't swoon or anything - it isn't romantic by any stretch of the imagination. I am more of the eyes-roll-back-in-the-head-and-I-topple variety of fainter. It's kind of one of those embarrassing things about myself that I don't usually share.
Thank goodness for cell phones because I had mine on the kitchen floor there with me and I called Paul while I lay there feeling beads of sweat form and drip from my forehead and down my neck (part of the whole passing out thing for me) and clutching my cloth-covered hand like the little chunk of semi-detached thumb on the top was going to drop off, hoping he was already on his way home from work. When he answered I sort of stammered out what I had done but must not have been very coherent because he asked me to elaborate at which point I lost my temper and sort of bellowed at him to stop asking me questions and just come home. Then I called my friend Christine who lives around and the corner (and with whom we normally do our date night swap), praying she would answer. She did and she rushed over with her two kids in tow and loaded Clara into her car then gathered my wallet, purse, and shoes for me since I pretty much just stayed put on the kitchen floor pretending I was somewhere else and that I hadn't just done what I had just done.
Christine made me feel better by telling me on the drive to the hospital that she had gone to the emergency room just a month before because of a bad splinter. This was my first trip to an ER, ever, and I was pretty anxious, but I told her to just drop me off at the entrance and then take the kids home because nobody had had dinner and Clara had a bad cold and besides, I didn't want anybody there with me anyway. And I knew it wasn't the most convenient timing for her anyway since her husband had things going on that night with work and church responsibilities that had made it so date night was a no-go for the week.
Sure enough, as soon as I walked up to the intake desk and had to remove my dishtowel from my thumb to show them what I had done, I lost it and started wailing. It was SO embarrassing and I am so glad Clara didn't get to see it or she would have been traumatized for sure. I don't know if it really looked terrible (I couldn't bring myself to look at it) or if I was just freaking out the other people in the waiting room because they took me right back and checked me in without having me sign anything. Very impressive service with zero wait time. Way to go Kaiser Permanente Hospital. The guy who helped me (I don't know if he was a nurse or a doctor or what) tried to put the dishtowel back over my thumb for me and I snapped and sobbed at him "DON'T TOUCH IT!!!" like some sort of hideous swamp creature. He actually laughed.
I would like to point out that I am THE WORST patient in the entire world.
Anyway, after that I shut my eyes tight and didn't open them again until an hour later when everything was over. They told me that they were going to have to clean out the wound and I went ballistic when they sprayed a tiny bit of saline solution in it. So then somebody (not sure who was really involved at this point because eyes were closed - there was a girl and a guy and at least the girl was a doctor for sure, maybe the guy too) had the brilliant idea to go ahead and numb my thumb BEFORE cleaning it since they were going to have to numb it later anyway for stitches or whatever. I don't know why numbing or knocking somebody out isn't the first thing on ER protocol because it only makes sense to me.
I knew that numbing my thumb would require a painful shot and I was full-on hyperventilating and full-body shaking when they came in to do it. Fortunately, the shot went into the fleshy mound of my palm at the base of my thumb rather than into the thumb pad itself (which I had been worrying about). I was told it would take 15 minutes for my thumb to lose all sensation, which turned out to be pretty accurate because they went back to work on it around 7 1/2 minutes (they told me how long it had been) and I started sobbing uncontrollably all over again (versus the pathetic keening I had settled into) because I could still feel them lifting open the wound to squirt saline solution into it. They decided it would be better to wait the full 15 minutes before working on it any more.
Paul showed up after I had been there for about half an hour and came in and tried to stroke my hair. I kept my eyes closed but barked at him not to touch me (seriously, I mentioned I am the worst patient ever, right?). He chuckled and stood off to the side while everything was finished up and at one point I thought to mention that he should take some pictures on his camera. Because of course I would need photos. He laughed and said that he was already doing it and I just hadn't noticed because my eyes were screwed shut still.
The doctor(s) decided that the wound could be closed with superglue stitches or whatever that stuff is so that they didn't have to use traditional stitches which I would have to go back for to have removed. So once everything was irrigated they sealed it up and Paul and I had about 20 or 30 minutes to just sit there while the glue dried and chat. Paul texted Christine to let her know the update and she said that Clara was eating dinner and Johannes didn't end up having to go to the meeting that had originally made date night impossible so we should take our time and stop and get ice cream on the way home or something. So when everything was finished we stopped by In-N-Out for burgers and fries (I was craving salt like crazy - is that a symptom of shock or something?).
All in all, we had dinner, conversation, time alone with each other, and sort of an activity/entertainment. We laughed, we cried, we went home. So I guess the first date night of 2014 was a success.