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.
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.
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.
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.
Tory was checked in by a nurse and ushered into her waiting area, bed #5.
And we waited. And waited.
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.
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.
Finally, the doctor bandaged the thumb.
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.”