"On the scale of one to ten, how bad is your pain?" the Physician's Assistant asked me this afternoon in the ER as she began to examine the deep cut at the inner base of my right baby finger.
"It's really not bad at all," I responded," just about a one."
"How did it happen? " she continued.
I flashed back to this morning when I gouged the webbing between my right 4th and 5th fingers and into the "root" of my baby finger. I vividly recalled the visceral pain that surely exceeded that upper parameter of ten... it may have even been a 20, I reasoned.
"I was merely wiping out the inside of a ceramic cup with a towel," I explained. "But the problem was that the cup has a sharp broken area along its rim. And the webbing between my 4th and 5th fingers slid over it as I rotated the towel along its inside. And it cut into my flesh."
At that moment, I felt I could read her mind: Why in heck did this little old lady not only hang onto a broken cup, but also keep using it ?
The answer to myself was: I don't want to throw the cup out because it's the perfect size to hold my toothbrush and paste and it fits so nicely in the drawer.
As she examined my injury, the P.A. pointed out my tendon within the crater and said I was lucky; it had not been severed. Then she explained that due to the location of the cut, surgical glue would not work. It would have to be sutured.
I asked if she could "put me out" for the procedure-- you know, with that wonderful stuff they give you for day surgery these days; it's not long-lasting and it acts like an amnesiac in the sense that should you actually feel something during the procedure, you won't remember it when you "wake up."
She returned my question with a dull stare. No answer was forthcoming, nor even needed. It was obvious she had no intention of sedating me. So, she'd be injecting a local. Into that tender web .... and into the ragged skin at the base of my baby finger.
She said I should expect to feel a prick.
OK, I decided, then let's just get on with the show. It is what it is. I'm sure I'll be fine.
To calm myself, I transported my mind to my favorite sanctuary : the Island of Assateague, off the eastern shore of Maryland. Where white sand shimmers in the sun and ponies roam wild..... Ahhh ..... I was in bliss .....
Yikes! The needle with medicine meant to numb me for the stitching was more than the described '"prick" ! It was definitely a 30 on the scale of 1-10.....
My thoughts raced: I will exercise my patient rights! And demand to be put under! And order that she call in the anesthetist.
And then suddenly, all was numb, the needlework began, and I breathed easier.
Five stitches later, I was told to dress the area daily with antibiotic ointment and a bandaid. Was informed that showers were ok, but to not do dishes unless I wear gloves. Was reminded to watch for / report any sign of infection. And I was instructed to make an appointment with my general practitioner to remove the stitches in about 10 days.
It was all over... I had made it through, and I was so relieved.
It's now 3 1/2 hours since the ordeal. The numbing medication has been wearing off. So, on the scale of one to ten, how bad is my pain?
Truthfully, it's edging toward a 5. So, I will take some Tylenol, throw away the broken cup, and head off for bed.
See you all in the morning!
08.04.2020 Update : P.S. In response to the post of Nancy Youngatheart.7.4.12, I actually did not even think of smoking until I sat in the ER, awaiting care. Then, urges to smoke flooded my thoughts. I analyzed that and came up with these conclusions: I am impatient and not a good "waiting person" and was nervous about how much my bill would be for the visit. Impatience and being nervous have been two triggers leading to having a cigarette (or two or three or six, etc.) over the many, many years I smoked. And equally a trigger was the many hours I spent in the ER awaiting care and medical response to my deceased husband's frequent flier visits to the ER in response to the many episodes of staff septicemia during his ongoing fight with Stage 4 lung cancer. These unsettling times called for quick runs to the off-campus parking lot about every 30 minutes or so.
Yesterday, once I had worked this all through in my mind, the thought of smoking fled.