“Is It Your First Digit or Your Last?”

My daughter Tory slammed her thumb in the car door Monday morning. By Tuesday morning the pain was almost unbearable for my rough and tumble daughter who is so not a drama queen. A trip to the pediatrician was a bust since Dr. C did not have the proper equipment to drill through Tory’s nail and relieve the pressure from the bleeding. So Dr. C called the local hospital Emergency Room and told them we were coming over.

Pain drove Tory to the Emergency Room.

After idling five minutes with our signal on waiting for a woman to unlock her car, arrange her jacket on the rear seat, arrange herself in the driver’s seat, make a phone call, comb her hair, put on her lipstick, and make another phone call we were able to park in the only “available” parking spot in the Emergency Room lot.

Pain pushed Tory through the doors to the ER for the first time in her life.

We filled out pages of paperwork in the reception area. And Tory answered a multitude of questions: What’s your name? DOB? How did it happen? Do you think it’s broken? Then we were told to “take the Fast Track” as the receptionist pointed down the hallway.

Fast track. Slow track. No track. They all seem to take the same amount of time in a hospital.

Bustling away like we knew where we were going, we hit our first snag as we turned the corner and saw two sets of double doors. But wait! The yellow arrow on the floor directed us to the left and we headed out confident once again.

Follow the yellow arrows and you get out quicker.

Tory was checked in by a nurse and ushered into her waiting area, bed #5.

Bed #5 is where Tory hung out waiting.

And we waited. And waited.

I don't much like waiting. . .and Tory feels the same way.

Then I saw a man in a white coat coming down the hall toward us. As he got closer I could see his hands trembling. He was sweating profusely. And he stumbled stepped up to Tory.

“I’ve come to take you for x-rays of your arm,” he said, swallowing audibly.

Looking puzzled, Tory held up her thumb and said, “My thumb?”

“Yes. Yes. The thumb.”

Completely freaked out by his demeanor I got up to accompany them, but he motioned me back to my seat saying, “It’s only around the corner. We’ll be right back after we take a few x-rays.”

With that he turned to Tory and asked, ”W W Would you like me to take you on the gurney?”

Tory, to her credit, replied, “Walk,” and got up to follow him while rolling her eyes back at me.

About 15 minutes later she returned, convulsed with laughter. Apparently, the fellow was a radiology tech in training and was completely undone by the tasks he had to perform. Tory said he asked her, “Is it your first digit or your last?” as he prepped the machine.

Puzzled, she said, “It’s my thumb.”

The hilarity that followed was shared by the other techs stationed behind the glass partition in the x-ray room, according to Tory.

She sat back down on bed #5. And we waited. And waited. After a while the ER doctor cruised up to Tory.

“What happened?” she asked as she prepped the tools she’d need to cauterize the nail to relieve the pressure from the under-nail bleeding.

The ER doctor set out the tools she needed.

Talking with Tory the whole time about fingernails and nail beds and how often she performs this very procedure, she positioned Tory’s thumb on a sterile pad on the bed, super-heated pen poised. Then she plunged the pen’s tip into Tory’s thumbnail and burned through the layers of nail. Tory stiffened and her face contorted with pain. (It really smelled bad too.) Within seconds a geyser of blood shot 4”-5” up from Tory’s nail. The doctor continued to work. She pushed to and fro to get all the accumulated blood out from under the nail as Tory fought to remain still amid the pain. You see, since heat is used for the procedure, novacaine isn’t an effective numbing agent so you do the procedure without any pain blocker.

Nope. No bloody stump. Just a small geyser of blood.

Finally, the doctor bandaged the thumb.

After the procedure, relatively pain free (that's relatively).

Walking to the parking lot Tory, my healthy eating daughter, asked, “Mom, can we get McDonald’s? I need a junk food fix after all that pain.”

Tory's World: pain + stress = junk food

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4 Comments

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4 responses to ““Is It Your First Digit or Your Last?”

  1. Goodness, poor girl! I couldn’t imagine having to get my thumb drilled. I hate the ER, always takes WAY too long.

    I love the pictures you took to accompany the post 🙂

  2. Poor baby….that is NOT fun.
    Just had to stop by your blog after reading your thoughtful comment on my blog. (Thank you!)

    (And yes…just yesterday, I told my hubby that it’s been a few years since I’ve played “Polly Pockets” or Barbies with my nearly 14-year-old. It is bittersweet.)

    You have a fun blog, btw!

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