All Thumbs


1 accident-prone girl

1  souvenir folding knife from Sardinia

1 stubborn recyclable cardboard box

1 very nice and very worried taxi driver

1 Friday night ER visit

1 attending physician

1 hand-trauma surgeon


What happened?

1. Following a most excellent Jens Lekman show in Williamsburg, and a frustrating trip home due to cancelled L-train service, I decided to take advantage of my insomnia and clean the apartment.

2. While cutting up boxes for recycling with a souvenir knife from Sardinia, my hand slipped and the blade folded right through my thumbnail, slicing through the nail-bed and the tip of my finger. My last thought before this happened: “I really shouldn’t be using a folding knife to do this . . .” Famous last words!

3. After realizing that this was bad, I wrapped my finger in paper towels and sprinted out of the apartment with my hand held above my heart, and my other hand applying constant pressure.

4. Four and half hours later, I am discharged from the hospital with a special dressing that cannot get wet for a week and a half.

Not the best trip to the ER (not that there ever really is a “good” trip to the ER), but there were certainly things said and observed that make you really wonder when politicians say that we have the best health care system in the world:

Like . . .

• When the only person who notices that you might be tired elevating your dripping digit is the hospital security guard (who kindly brought me something to rest my elbow on).
• When the attending physician tells you that they had to call in a hand trauma surgeon to remove the thumbnail and give me stitches because no one in the ER “had done that before.”
• When they send you to get X-rays, and right when you enter Radiology, you see the radiologist head into the bathroom with a stack of magazines.
• When the trauma surgeon asks you if you want to keep your fingernail (why no, you think sarcastically, I always thought that nail was superfluous!).
• When you respond that, if possible, yes, you would like to keep your nail, they just put a special dressing on it (ie. glue) and send you home.

What I have found difficult to do with my non-dominant hand:

• Brushing my teeth.
• Eating.
• Buttons and zippers.

What I have found extremely difficult to do without my right thumb:

• Flossing.
• Dishes. I did them last night with a silicone oven-mitt over my injured hand.
• Cooking. Well-nigh impossible.
• Laundry. Took a long time, but I did it.
• Putting on skinny jeans. I have almost exhausted my collection of muumuus.

For the next week or two, I think that there will be a lot of posts on kitchen equipment.

And a very special thank you to Laura for doing my dishes, breaking down that evil box, and bringing me a large tray of ziti in a disposable pan! You are a lifesaver!


2 thoughts on “All Thumbs

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