Friday, June 16, 2006

Corned Beef...

So it's 2.15 and the phone rings. My Wee Sis is on the line telling me she's just left the minor injuries clinic at the Western General and she needs to go to A&E because she's cut her finger badly. It happened last night as she was opening a tin of corned beef...well actually she had opened the tin and was attempting to scoop the contents out of it when she caught the edge and her knuckle!

So 45 minutes later she has deposited her kids with Geoff at my house and she and I are in the casualty dept of St John's. My second visit in a fortnight. She gets booked in, the triage nurse has a look and it's decided her PIP J (what?? answers on a postcard please) is in need of attention by a Doc. So we wait for an hour and eventually we're ushered through to a cubicle where the Doc appears to see to the injured digit. It must be said it looks a bit dodgy. The cut itself looks quite small but it seems very deep and her knuckle is huge!

The Doc asks how she did it and she explains about the corned beef. I'm in hysterics because it sounds so silly. He seems a bit concerned about the state of it and begins poking and prodding to get a better look. Wee Sis Gill sounds like Jackie Chan giving it "aahhh" and "ooohhh" repeatedly while the Doc does his stuff. I am again in hysterics. The Doc finally stops, Gill is red in the face with the effort of restraining herself from decking him for causing her pain and I'm red in the face from laughing so hard.

The Doc decides it needs stitches and tells Sis he's going to need to clean it out and trim the wound before he can stitch it. To do this he is going to give her a "ring block" which sounded kind of painful and a bit naughty! Anyway a few minutes later the Doc has shifted Sis onto a trolley and has returned back to the cubicle with a steel table full of the necessary bits and pieces to fix Gill's finger. A nurse appears and asks if Gill would mind if she watched the procedure as she's keen to see how it's done. No problem says my Sis. The nurse tells her it looks nasty and asks how she did it. Cue the corned beef story again and my laughter again.

Doc has been doing his prep stuff in the background and is now ready to go. He is holding a large syringe in his hand. "Are you going to inject me?" says Gill in a slighty raised voice holding just a hint of panic. "Yes" says the Doc. "In my hand?" says Gill in a voice now as high with panic as someone who's just sucked the helium out the party balloon. "Yes" says the Doc. He goes on to explain that this is the ring block and it will numb all the nerves in the hand and finger to stop her feeling anything while he cleans and stitches it up again. Gill has a look of utter panic. I'm giggling so hard by sides ache. The Doc begins sticking the needle in at the base of her finger muttering the immortal words "This might sting a little". It obviously stings more than a little as Wee Sis is making a series of wierd noises, is curling her toes up and her good hand is waving about the place. I am wiping the tears brought by my giggles away. Christ knows whats come over me but I am in hysterics. Three or four jags later and the Doc is talking to the nurse in a language only they understand the outcome of which is that he then decides to stick a bit of the anaesthetic into the actual wound itself. A few screams later from Gill and the job's a good 'un. I'm watching the events and can see that blood is pouring out the holes where the needle has been. It's looking a bit messy. Doc begins cleaning it up. Gill's face is priceless as she can't feel it properly but knows what he's doing and it's freaking her out a bit. He then tops her off by telling her because the wound is 22 hours old it's tricky to stitch it because it probably won't heal so his best option is to cut away some of the wound to make it larger and then close it up using nice fresh edges. The look of disgust mixed with terror that sweeps across Gill's already creased face is a classic, but funnily enough I'm not in hysterics anymore. I'm still a bit giggly but the hysteria has gone and is rapidly being replaced with a queasy feeling.

The Doc lifts the flap of skin up a little to begin his clean up. Blood begins pouring out and it's dripping of Gill's hand. The Doc reaches for his scissors and begins doing a bit of chopping. Gill's trying not to look and so am I but my eyes keep looking anyway and I've realised that I'm breathing quite deeply and it dawns on me that I am feeling very bloody sick. The Doc gets his needle out and starts stitching the wound back up. Blood is still running out of it and the holes around it and it's all a bit yuck. Gill is going kind of white and red in flushes and I can feel my colour draining and I'm feeling very nauseous and I'm eyeing up the sick bowls which are stacked on the shelf above Gill's head wondering if it look strange if I grabbed one! Finally we're done and the dressing goes on and it's all good.

The Doc tells Gill to come back in 10 days to get her stitches out. Gill though will be in sunny Spain in 10 days. The Doc then advises her to come back the day she returns home and reminds her not to get the wound wet at all, spelling out to her in slow, clear english that that means no swimming!

So stitches in place, spare dressings in hand we head back for the car. Both of us feeling ill and dizzy. I'm pleased when Gill announces that when she did it she was hanging over the sink as she thought she was going to pass out. She has slagged me for years for saying in slight hysteria to my Dad once that I thought I was going to pass out after Gill stabbed me in the hand with a pair of hairdressing scissors. She did stab me. She says I jumped on her and she was holding the scissors! There was blood running down my arm and Gill shouted for my Dad. He was taking me to the bathroom to fix it up and I was shouting "oh god I'm going to pass out" "oh Dad I don't feel well"...moments later I was out cold! I was 19 and never allowed to live it down that I'd fainted over a cut hand! Nice to see my Sis was teetering on the brink herself!

So she's fine. She's got to keep an eye on it in case she has damaged the actual joint. They won't know until the swelling goes down and they can see how well she can bend it. The Doc is hoping the reason she can't bend it now is just because it is so swollen...I've told her she'll probably lose her finger! Well that's what Dad would have told her!

Jenny xx


Steven Douglas said...

You only told her she would lose a finger? I would have told her it meant the arm would have to come off... :-)

I had a similar thing a few years ago...three stitches in the right pinkie knuckle, with a fishing competition a week after they were put in. Luckily a guy we knew at the comp was a doctor and he took the stitches out for me with nothing more than a pair of nail clippers and a "watch it for a day or two". A few drinks later and I couldn't give a toss...

Wee Sis said...



jenny said...

You did stab me. You stabbed me in the hand and I'm scarred for life!!