As I was getting in the car to pick Hubs up Thursday, my cell phone rang. It was him telling me "Um, we're going to the emergency room." He'd sliced off part of his left index finger using the paper cutter at work, it was bleeding heavily, and his supervisor (thank Heavens she was still there! Usually he's alone at work when I get there!) was driving him. I met them in the hospital, and the triage nurse was taking the wadded paper towels off his hand and wrapping it with gauze. They sent him back to the waiting room, then took him back for x-rays. This was about 5:30.
At 6:30 he'd bled through the heavy padding, and they took him back and put more gauze on it and put more ice in the bag he was holding on it. At 8:30 I went and asked for towels for the bloody water dripping everywhere, and they gave me the strangest look but eventually brought three thin washcloths for me. We hadn't eaten dinner (of course), and though he wasn't in much pain (hand numbed from the ice and probably from shock), both of us had low blood sugar and I had a migraine building. The cafeteria was closed, of course, but they had snack machines, so I got $10 from the ATM there and put it in the change machine. Oops – change machine was broken. The soda and munchie machines wouldn’t take anything bigger than a dollar, and I had just enough change to get a pack of nabs, so I did. Other than that, we had some sugar-free cinnamon mints, and water from the fountain. At 9:00 he took to standing in front of the desk, holding his dripping hand, as I called other emergency rooms, especially the one where I work (though this was a worker's comp claim, and he had to be treated at this hospital for the claim to be covered, I was ready to pay to get him in to see a doctor). None of the patients were being taken back after triage until after 9:30 or so, including a guy with a head injury who was waiting when we got there.
Finally, after 1:00, we were taken back to a room. I hate to admit it, but I had broken down and cried a couple of times -- I know I wasn't the patient and I was being a baby, but the blood sugar and the migraine were hitting me hard, I was dehydrated, and it was three hours past my bedtime (wah wah I'm such a baby) and I couldn't take anything that would touch the migraine because I'd be driving Hubs home. The doctor, however, was great. The injury is more serious than we thought, possibly requiring skin grafts. Hubs is to see an orthopaedist next week. Part of the nail bed was cut, and the nail usually doesn't grow back normally after that. In addition, the fingertip will probably not grow back normally, but will probably be dented permanently. There was nothing to stitch shut, so they put on a special dressing to cause the blood to clot (yes, after 9 hours it was still bleeding merrily away) and bandaged it up, gave him a tetnus shot and tilox for the pain, and scripts for more pain meds and an antibiotic.
Of course it's his left index finger and he's a lefty, and he's a computer analyst and accountant at work. Now if he tries to use a keyboard, he'll hit about five keys with that finger because of the size of the bandage. How fun! And oh yes, the pain has kicked in, so even if he didn’t have a huge bandage on that finger, he couldn’t use a keyboard.
He's forgiven me for my babyish behavior that night (I'd had the bad blood sugar and/or topamax incident earlier in the week, so it wasn't too much of a surprise). We both stayed home from work on Friday (I couldn't face work on three hours of sleep), and of course, he’s on heavy-duty pain meds – my first responsibility of the day was filling his scripts for the tilox and the antibiotic. I’ve also got him on probiotics. C.diff: been there, done that – can’t imagine letting someone I love go through it if I can help it!
For our romantic Valentine’s Day, we went back to the Emergency Room to have the bandage changed and to have the doctor look at it again (doctor’s orders from Friday morning). This time, of course, we got right in. The nurse took Hubs straight back into triage, and then directly into a room. Then another nurse came in to remove the bandage, and thank heavens, the wound had finally stopped bleeding (though much of the bandage had blood on it so it had done more bleeding than we though after it was bandaged Friday morning). Hubs got really queasy and was lying down when the doctor came in (I had to all but force him down, but he was pale and dripping with sweat, and I couldn’t have held him up if he’d fallen). She took off the last of the bandaging, and was pleased at the way the wound was healing. The bleeding had completely stopped, and it looked quite good (in my professional opinion as a wife and medical librarian). She didn’t think that he needs to see an orthopaedist, so she made an appointment for him to see his regular doctor on Thursday morning. The nurse came back in and re-bandaged the finger, giving me gauze and Vaseline gauze to use for the wrapping. The doctor told Hubs that heavy-duty ibuprofen is better than tilox for his wound, so gave him a script for it.
So, we’re both confused – which doctor do we obey? Does he call the orthopaedist next week? Or does he go to see his regular doctor for a third opinion before he and go with the majority? *sigh*
In general, Hubs has had a horrible 2009. It’s GOT to get better!