Wear your carving glove

Saturday evening, Debra and I were over at a friend’s place. There were eight or ten of us, total, sitting or standing around, just conversing. I was also whittling on a piece of Ash, making another little dog. I don’t know if my attention lapsed (possible) or if the knife just slipped (more likely), but suddenly I was cutting into my left hand.

Surprisingly enough, it didn’t really hurt. I stared at it for a second, surprised, then stood up and grabbed a paper towel to stop the bleeding. Then to the kitchen sink to rinse it, thinking I’d just clean it a bit, bandage it up, and go back to my carving. I’ve had plenty of minor cuts, so I wasn’t terribly worried.

I only needed a brief look at the laceration while I was running it under the faucet to know that this one would need stitches. My friend handed me a wash cloth, we secured it with duct tape, and Debra drove me to the emergency room.

The second surprise (the first was that I cut myself so badly) was that the emergency room was not full at 9:00 on a Saturday night. But then, Round Rock is kind of a sleepy place. I walked up to the check-in desk. The triage nurse was safely ensconced behind a window.

Nurse: “How can I help you?”

Me (holding up left hand): “I cut myself rather badly.”

Nurse: “The duct tape didn’t fix it?”

Me (laughing): “No, but it’s holding things together for now.”

Less than a minute later, I was sitting in an exam room with a RN removing an impromptu bandage while a nursing student looked on. When she got it uncovered she said, “That’s not so bad, but recovery is gonna suck.” I had what is (apparently commonly) called a suturable laceration. It was still bleeding a bit, so she had me apply a little pressure while we waited for the nurse practitioner to come along and stitch me up.

And waited. … And waited.

I’m not sure what he used to deaden the area (probably lidocaine, or similar), but it sure hurt like heck going in. I couldn’t feel the needle going in, but it was like fire when he pushed the contents into my hand. Within a minute my thumb felt like it’d been shot up by the dentist, and I couldn’t feel a thing when he started stitching.

The cut, by the way, is about 7 centimeters (2-3/4 inches) long, running from the base of my thumb to the center of my wrist, and almost a centimeter deep.

Then we got to wait a even longer. Debra and I got some amusement out of all the forms they brought in, and I laughed out loud when I had to sign a document saying that I received a copy of the hospital’s no smoking policy. Oh, and they gave me a 10 mg Norco tablet and told me not to drive, and a prescription for antibiotics and more Norco. I filled the antibiotic prescription but decided against the Norco. It didn’t hurt that bad.

All in all it took about 45 minutes from the time we walked in the door until my hand was stitched up. It took another 45 minutes or an hour before they finally brought the bill, took my payment, and then came and put on the bandage before I could walk out the door. Gotta love bureaucracy.

And all because I wasn’t wearing my carving glove. The glove is Kevlar, and probably wouldn’t have completely prevented the cut, but it most likely would have made the difference between a surface scratch and a trip to the emergency room.

I’d been lax, not wearing the glove because I thought I was good enough not to need it. Only takes one slip of the blade, though, to ruin your day. I’ll be wearing the glove from now on.