Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Putting Myself on the Blogging Injured Reserve List

[Caution: the following contains scenes of blood-soaked intensity, as well as uncharacteristically crude language.]

Well, obviously, yesterday was a complete wash when it came to productive blogging. Although I at least had the prescience to go ahead and get the Thursday Three knocked out yesterday evening before quitting time so it could be posted first thing this morning. That part about “Knife Throwing Guild” was ironically prescient in some way, too.

Anyway, tons of work to do yesterday, and none of it is even remotely finished today. But let’s not let that get in the way of a good story. Got up at quitting time yesterday and figured I needed to go by the grocery store to pick up something for supper and get some milk for breakfast. Decided to pick up some chicken in the deli, because it was already hot and ready to eat, and we were going to be pushing it, as always, since it was Wednesday and we had Bible study at church.

Got my meat, scooted on up to the top of the hill, came in and was greeted by the troupe of monkeys sitting at the kitchen table, then set in to get the food on said table. We had some leftover peas from the other night, but nothing else ready to go with it. Next best thing instead of vegetables? Why, biscuits, of course!

Went and got some out of the freezer--the individual kind that come in the Ziploc bag--although these had been through a couple of defrost cycles and were therefore more of a Borg collective of biscuit dough that was going to require some effort to separate back into something biscuit-shaped.

Got back in the kitchen and was met by Miss Reba, who reminded me that she had also made a big pot of homemade soup the previous night. Forgot all about that--I’m just that way, you know. Anyway, she wasn’t upset, because it was still cold in the refrigerator, and the chicken was hot. She went on to do something while I set about to get my biscuits started. I at first tried to pry them apart with my bare hands, but being a weakling only managed to get a couple free. Heavier artillery needed here. I got out the metal meat-tenderizing mallet. That’ll show ‘em! I beat and banged for about three seconds before *pop* the metal head separated neatly from its handle and dropped to the floor.

Cheap Chinese crap.

“What’d you do, Daddy!?”

“Oh, I broke the stinkin’ meat hammer trying to get these biscuits apart.”

“Oh.” They went back to watching the television as I began throwing the bag of frozen-together lumps of flour and water onto the floor, with vigor. That managed to get a couple apart. Reba came back and said there was a message from our Wednesday nursery teacher at church who said she wasn’t going to make it and couldn’t get in touch with her sub and could I take care of it when I got there. ::sigh:: Grr. That led into several widely divergent streams of conversation from Miss Reba about her day, and the stuff that needs to be fixed, and then Cat piped up about falling out of the swing, and then there was something about one of Ashley’s other set of grandparents who had called and upset her, and my derned biscuits were STILL stuck together. While the cacophony of side conversations picked up steam, I figured there was going to be a solution to this one way or the other, because the chicken was getting cold and it was getting near time to go, so I went over and got my good Old Hickory 10 inch boning knife to get the biscuits separated once and for all. FINALLY! One popped loose, then another, as Reba and the kids continued their non-stop line of patter and then another and then just as Reba was telling me about one of her Shelby clients who didn’t have her paperwork done righ…”OH SHIT! OH SHIT!”

A bright stream of crimson shot out all over the pan of biscuits before me and across the stove -- a circumstance brought on by the tip of the boning knife skittering off the piece of cold dough in my hand and neatly slicing across the inside second joint of my left least finger. Reba grabbed a wad of paper towels and I clamped them down over my finger and held it aloft as all hell broke loose. Catherine started bawling, “DADDY GOT BLOOD ALL OVER THE BISCUITS!!” and then Boy started up and then Rebecca as Reba got on the phone and called over to her mom and dad’s to tell them to meet us at the emergency room and I started trying to get the kids to calm down and quit their crying and get their shoes on so we could get Daddy to the doctor right away and “COME ON, we need to LEAVE!” and then a quick check to see if we could tell how bad it was. I eased back on the towel and peeked inside, with the intention of putting on a clean paper towel before heading out. The moment I moved it aside, it started pumping again, so I clamped my hand back around it and the clean paper towel on top of that.

Into the van, Catherine still crying about the ruined biscuits, Reba in the driver’s seat for what I knew was going to be an uncomfortable ride. Reba is not the smoothest driver around--lots of jackrabbit starts and uncoordinated brake-and-throttle work in the corners. And now she was in a hurry. And I had no way of holding on to anything other than my finger. Which sorta throbbed, and was not a good thing to use as a grab handle. At least we were moving.

On over to Medical Center East, and Reba let me out at the emergency room door while she went on and parked.

I walked into a room filled with sad-looking folks and noticed that I was somehow going to have to sign in. The security guard noticed me standing there and asked, “Hmm--would you like to keep some pressure on that and let me sign you in?” And how, brother. So he wrote my name for me and as I was standing there, the triage nurse came back from somewhere else and saw me standing there all pitifuller than everyone else in the room. “Are you about to bleed to death, hon?”

“Yes, ma’am, I feel myself slipping away even as we speak.” She chuckled and told me to come on back to her desk for a second. “What do we have here?” “Well, I had some frozen biscuit dough…” and I told her the whole sordid tale. She eased back on the paper towel wad and took it off. It looked like it had stopped bleeding, until it involuntarily twitched and the pumping started all over. She grabbed some gauze and tape and bound it back up, then set in to take my vitals and start the paperwork. Name, address, phone, SSN, medications, occupation, insurance, 135 over 95--whoa!

“That seems sorta high, don’t it? I blame the ‘white-coat effect’.”

“Sugar, I think it might have more to do with slicing your finger open than sitting here with me!” “Well, if you say so…” Reba came in just then and said she had found a perfect parking place. The nurse finished me up and had me go back out to the waiting room, and the kids were beside themselves to know what was going on. “ARE YOU BETTER?! IS IT FIXED!?” Shhhhh. We’re in a hospital, you know.

I got Reba to go call the church building to let them know that we weren’t going to be there and to be sure and find a sub for the nursery class. She had to leave a message, which means no one probably got it. Oh well.

I stood some more and then Grandma and Grandpa showed up and the kids quickly forgot my plight in their excitement. They sat back down and began telling all about the bloody biscuits and the scratch they each had gotten on the playground during the day, and about the scraped knee one got last week. I got called back after about 15 minutes, and was ushered to a small curtained area with a bed and a couple of chairs.

Reba came back to keep me company, and we went through the giant list of things to be done this weekend and tried to figure a way to get her folks to take the kids on back to their house so they wouldn’t have to hang around the emergency room. We also had plenty of time to examine the surroundings. MCE’s ER must get a lot of use--the walls and floor are definitely in need of some sprucing up. And then Reba looked up and noticed an uncapped syringe full of something on top of a piece of equipment.

NOT a good thing to see.

She flagged down a passing doctor, “Excuse me, but there is a full syringe of something over here.” The doctor looked, in a genuinely puzzled sort of way, and said, “Well, you know, you’re right!” He took it and deposited it in the sharps container and went on his way. “They’re supposed to write that up, aren’t they?” Reba nodded her head (she worked as a unit clerk at Baptist-Princeton for 10 years) and allowed that more than likely it wouldn’t get done. Paperwork, you know.

Speaking of which, the emergency room unit clerk came to get the same information that I had given to the triage nurse--name, age, phone, SSN, medications, insurance, occupation, do you smoke, do you drink--then disappeared with Reba’s insurance card for 20 minutes.


Reba said when she had gone back to check on the kids in the waiting room while the triage nurse was writing down my information, Rebecca asked her quietly, with much concern, “Mommy, why did Daddy cuss when he cut his hand?” She said she told her that I had made a mistake and it just kind of slipped out. I do remember in the middle of it thinking, “You know, I bet one of them is going to tell me I shouldn’t have said a dirty word.” Sure enough…


Read the graffiti scrawled in tiny vertical area where a piece of wallpaper had lifted up at the seam.


Yikes. Must have been upset about something.

The clerk brought back our paperwork and we waited some more.

Wait. Thought about the events of the day, and how I was going to be able to get all of this down in a blog post with a hurt finger.

Finally, a young man walked in by the name of Dr. Alan Kitchens, who had gotten the lucky assignment of sewing me back together. “Okay, who’s been playing with sharp things?” I sheepishly raised my bloody stump.

He untaped the gauze and brought out a fresh throbbing batch of hemoglobin. “Okay, Mr. Oglesby, if you will sit on the bed here, we’ll get you fixed up. You know, this is the second time I have had a case like this today!”

“World’s full of idjits, Doc,” and I then went on to tell him the whole story with the frozen biscuit dough.

He grinned and went to assemble the necessary junk to work on me and I sat up on the bed in my dress shoes and tie and white shirt, cradling my finger as it started building up an impressive puddle inside the gauze I was holding under it. He came back with a nurse and a sewing kit. And then, another nurse came in with a cute little student nurse in tow. I felt so…special!

He emptied some saline into a tray and had me place my hand down on the mattress, which was sort of a strain given my seating position. He gently laid back the gauze and took some wet gauze and touched the sides of the cut, sending yet another fresh spritz of blood across the bed and up the wrapping paper of the suture kit. The student nurse looked over at Reba and asked her if she was okay. “You know, you REALLY need to be asking ME that! I am the one with the blood flying out of me!” She knew I was just joking.

“Okay, Mr. Oglesby, we’re going to inject some nerve block in here before we get started and it’s going to sting a bit.” The pool of blood under my hand was getting wider, and then “AAAAAAAAAAAGGGHH--CRAP Doc! That does more thAN STING ow!” I looked down and he was just a’pokin’ and a’shoving that needle down into my joint. “Doctor, that is rather uncOMFortable, Doc!--Ermf! That’s hurting!” This was all said with as calm and manly voice as I am able to muster, seeing as how I didn’t want everyone to think I was a baby. But it sure did hurt. He FINALLY got finished, and I looked down again to see my finger joint had swollen up with juice to the size of a ripe scuppernong. Ow.

He poked around at the fleshy bits dangling there, sending fresh rivers of blood onto the pond on the bed. He lifted my hand and slid a nifty little blue drape under it with an oval hole just the right size for a sliced finger. 5-0 nylon on a short needle, and off we go. He carefully tied and stitched.

“Have you ever done this before?”

“Well, no, but I did see a video on it once.”

“Oh, okay. As long as you’ve seen the movie.”

He continued looping and knitting. He would sponge up some of the blood, and despite all the attention, there still seemed to be an awful lot of blood geysering out of me.

“You know, Doc, if you need me to help, I’ll be glad to. I do know how to sew.”

“He’s really good with buttons,” said Miss Reba.

The doctor allowed that he, too, was a whiz in the tailoring department.

“Terry, next time you pop a button off, maybe you could get him to come sew it back on for you.”

“Reba, I imagine he would be rather too expensive.”

Which tickled the doctor and caused him to snort though his nose. “Hey, don’t get to giggling too much, there, Doc. You’ve still got some work to do--I still seem to be putting out a lot of blood.”

Doc just smiled, “It’ll be just fine, Mr. Oglesby--you only severed your digital artery. Just remember, all bleeding stops. Eventually.” That one made the student nurse blanch. “Well, it’s just that all that juice squirting everywhere is sorta disconcerting. At least for me. If you feel faint, Doctor, just let me know.”

“I’m okay. Although this room is not really the brightest one to use--they say when you can’t see the 5-0 nylon, it’s time to get glasses.”

“Do you think we could move to the hallway? It IS brighter out there.”

“Nah, we’re good here. I guess.”

More looping, more dabbing, more needlepoint, and finally after nine stitches and a dinner plate full of lost blood, I was once again ready to go. I asked some actual serious questions about use and pain and activity and thanked Dr. Kitchens profusely for his good work and good humor.

Then it was time to wait for my wound dressing.


After about five minutes or so, a mountain of a young man came in, with arms the size of tree trunks. He looked like a defensive tackle. “Good grief, what a mess! You must have had Dr. Kitchens!” He went back to get the dressing material, and when he came back, he too had to find out what had happened to me to lead to such a mess. By this time, I felt my story had become hackneyed and dull, so I just sighed and said, “Oh you know how it is…I got myself into a knife fight with my girlfriend’s daddy-in-law…”

He just shook his head, “I shouldn’t have asked.” I then gave him the real story as he cleaned all the crusty mess of dried biscuit dough and blood off my hands, and then applied a fresh sterile pad and some gauze winding around my finger. He seemed impressed that in spite of all the blood, I seemed to be taking it all with remarkable calm, and my dress clothes had managed to escape unspattered. “It’s my special double-naught spy training.” “Well, I’ll have to get ME some of that!” He finished up, I thanked him, and was on his way to the next person.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! I still hadn’t had my tetanus shot, you know. And who better to give it than a student nurse. Who had never done it before.

Now, in the past, I have had tetanus shots, and they hurt like the hammers of hell to take. But the last one I had was when I was a youngster, and I have to say that they are much better now.

But before I found that out, I acted like a big whiney baby about taking it. The charge nurse brought the student around to my right side. The child was REALLY green--just a gentle buff with alcohol (in the wrong spot), and then a series of questions to her mentor about whether the bevel should go up or down, and then where exactly on my arm it should go, and then prick.Alllll the way in!” SHOVE. And it was no worse than any other shot. Not at all bad. I thanked the young lady, who seemed beside herself with joy. Good for her.

Left, paid our $25 co-pay, and exactly 2 1/2 hours after first opening up the tap, I was free to leave.

Stopped, got the kids (who had been fed by the grandparents, thank goodness), then on home to get them through their homework and baths and beddy-times. Catherine gave me a big hug. “I sorry, Daddy.”

“About what, Sugar!?”

“’Bout your finger.”

“Oh, you don’t have to be sorry about that, I’m fine!”

“And Daddy?


“It’s okay about my biscuits. You can make some more.”

Thanks, kid.

ANYway, although I am at work today, my typing capacity without a finger to type Q, A, Z and hit the Shift key is greatly diminished, and will be for the next week or so. And I still have to get my paying work done, which requires lots of typing, and given my greatly reduced speed, means that at least for the coming days I will have to devote myself entirely to that, rather than to Possumblog.

SO, if any of you are wondering why it has taken so long to get anything posted, or why it seems to be taking me longer to answer e-mail and comments, that’s why. For the next few days, at least, I am going to be letting the old blog rest for a bit while I recover. BUT, I will still be available--just slower to respond. In the mean time, be sure to see what all is going on with the other good folks up there in the blogroll, or if you dare, wade back through the archives and see what you can find.

And be sure to have a good time with the Thursday Three!

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