Mother’s Day evening totally changed with Roy’s panicked announcement that he needed stitches. With the entire family visiting, it was an attention-getter. Hilary and I sprang into action; Carrie cringed and said she couldn’t look.
Roy, as a farmer and a truck driver, is no stranger to mishaps. In this case he had tangled with a hand-held angle grinder and lost. Because that particular grinding wheel was worn, it was sharper and more jagged than a brand new one would have been. It cut open the top of his left index finger. As I scrambled to get some first aid supplies to stop the bleeding, I caught a glimpse of the mess. The wound was long and deep and bleeding like a bugger.
I wrapped several 4 x 4 gauze squares around it, watched as they got blood-soaked, and added more. Then I used additional gauze strips to hold them in place and provide extra pressure. A few wraps of medical tape held the whole kit and caboodle together.
Luckily none of us fall to pieces in an emergency, so we could shield Grady from all the fuss. When he saw the bandage he asked if it was a cast. Granted, my technique could have been better, but a cast? Really.
And yet the blood managed to seep through all this. No doubt the low-dose aspirin Roy takes hindered the clotting.
By nine o?clock we were at the hospital about an hour from home. By 9:20 we were through triage and admitting. Then it became hurry up and wait.
By eleven, Roy was in a treatment room, answering questions from a student EMT. Then a very cocky, very rough male nurse thought it would be good to open up the dressing and have a look. Roy stiffened up, held his breath, and flinched as they ripped and pulled at my masterful dressing. Then they irrigated it with saline to get the crud out. He poked and poked and then noticed a small artery had been cut and was spurting with every heartbeat. He got Roy to bend his finger and squeeze to determine if a tendon had been cut. It took several pieces of gauze, lots of pressure, and elevation to stop the bleeding again.
Eventually the doctor came in. Six or seven pokes with a syringe had the area frozen. Seven stitches closed up the wound. Only then did he assess whether or not a tendon had been cut. Luckily, it appears it hadn’t. We went down that gruesome path about 30 years ago in another hand ?incident? in which the cut was about four inches long and a tendon ripped right out. Hey, nothing that months of pain and physiotherapy couldn’t fix.
So three hours, a tetanus shot, a dressing, and some care instructions later we were outta there. Still, it made a memorable Mother’s Day, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.