The dedicated reader of this blog will remember the bizarre finger accident that last led me to Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department a few years back.
Yes. But in my defense, let’s consider fingers for a moment: they are busy little appendages out at the extreme ends of human bodies, and are constantly employed to do some of the most perilous and fiddly tasks. Like cutting veggies, which we strict vegetarians do with great frequency…
If you are prone to queasiness, you’ve already stopped reading, right?
The moment the knife went from the tomato into my ring finger I knew it was not good. I grabbed a towel as half a centimeter of myself slipped down the drain, gone forever. Dinner would be late.
My lovely wife Kate trained at UC Davis in large-animal veterinary medicine, and did a job dressing the wound that impressed Matt Slater who is an expert. Dr. Slater saw me the next morning, because although Kate did her best, the bleeding persisted all night long. So that became Job #1 when I arrived at VMC at 8:45am Sunday. Here are some highlights and observations:
- Sunday morning was surprisingly quiet, so my wait time was zero minutes.
- The woman at the desk asked me if I’d recently traveled to West Africa – in case you had forgotten about ebola. At VMC, we have certainly not.
- Backing up: if you want to really feel a knife wound while cutting veggies, a tomato does the trick. A lemon would have been worse, but it did get worse…
- …because direct pressure didn’t work to stop the bleeding, so Dr. Slater used something called Surgicel. It helps clot, and stings like a scorpion.
- While I was sucking air through my teeth in pain, Matt put his hand on my shoulder. He didn’t have to do that, but it helped a great deal and I won’t forget it. The human element of medicine is something VMC gets right, because doctors work here for the right reasons.
- Matt didn’t prescribe antibiotics, because in all likelihood (he explained) I wouldn’t need them, and we need to control the over-prescription of antibiotics as a society. So he’s thinking not just about me, but about better health for all.
- VMC’s electronic health record, MyHealth Online, is wonderful! However, I take umbrage with it calling my incident an “amputation”…makes it sound like I did it on purpose.
Having received top-notch care, the healing process now continues. It may be a long path, but I’ve been pointed firmly in the right direction by the great team at VMC. I won’t take time for self-pity, because I know there is a hospital full of good people with bad problems around me, making mine look pretty insignificant. And I have once again reaffirmed, based on my experience, that those people are in great hands.
Do you have a VMC Emergency Department story that makes mine sound like a trip to the Farmers Market? Do tell!
I took a photo of my injured finger as Dr. Slater was working on it. Because you may be enjoying lunch, I thought instead to post this picture of my puppy, Houla, with her favorite toy, Hornet Coleman.