And, I mean OUCH! Man, did that hurt! All twisted and bleeding, and damn it was ugly. To what am I referring? My thumb. Actually, the thumb I almost lost today.
This morning started out like most of my days start, trying to make an honest buck doing an honest days work. The pay does not reflect the value of the work performed, but now-a-day over 50 there are not many employers offering a decent paying job so you take what you can get. Today, I am working part-time for a sign contractor installing commercial signage.
The first thing we had to do today was drill holes into the face of a building. Doing so required gong up about 30′ on a scissor lift to do the work. The face of the building is tile and we are using hammer drills to make the holes necessary to run the electrical wiring from exterior lamps that shine from above to the channel letters mounted below. All was going fine and I believe I was on the 5th out of 6 holes to be drilled. The tile was difficult to get a start on as the drill would skip along the surface instead of staying set to the drill point. So, I would hold the bit with my gloved hand as I slowly commenced drilling at each location. I do not know if I was distracted or if I was just stupid, but as I accelerated the drill the damn bit grabbed my glove immediately ripping the leather glove from my hand and damn near removing my thumb from my hand. In the position I was in, I held the drill in my right hand which was also where the trigger to run the drill was located. My left hand was caught up in the glove and drill bit and I could not release my right hand from the drill allowing the trigger to be deactivated quickly and in about 2 seconds time I had control of the drill and was able to look over my injury. Damn, I better get to a hospital . . .
Well, I have Kaiser Medical. The guy I was working with was trying to locate a hospital in the area we were working. He found a listing for the local hospital, I said we need to go to a Kaiser hospital and called 911 asking for the nearest Kaiser, only to learn that there was no local Kaiser. 911 offered to send me an ambulance which I declined. So my coworker dumped all the equipment and stuff in our way, out of the way, and off we go to Kaiser in Hayward. With commute traffic the way it is at 8:00AM anywhere in the Bay Area, this meant close to 45 minutes to get to the hospital. Do you have any idea how much blood and how much pain you lose and feel while driving 45 minutes with your hand wrapped in a dirty shop towel. By the time we reached the Hayward Kaiser I was both hurting and weak.
It is now close to 9:00AM and the staff at Kaiser are hard at work dealing with my arrival. Within a few minutes everyone is laughing at my stupid jokes and discomfort. I have to compliment Hayward Kaiser. Their staff are always friendly and upbeat. They make it hard for you to be miserable even when you feel like rolled over snail snot. If you give them half of a chance they will have you at least trying to laugh. I do not know if it is just the way they work or if it was just myself, but every time I visit Hayward Kaiser, regardless of pain or misery, they make me feel better just by they way they treat my situation.
Anyway, after an initial evaluation by staff, my nap, x-rays, my napping some more, wound clean up, and my napping some more, I am nearly convinced that I was going to lose a good portion of my thumb. But my doctor ( a tall good looking gal about 5-6 months along in her pregnancy with a great personality) has other plans. She comes along and with a little help from myself stitches up my thumb so it looks almost normal. This took about 12 stitches and 15 minutes of nervous humor to complete. I must admit the doctor was not nervous, but I sure as hell was. Anyway, the doctor stitched me up pretty good. I thought, under the circumstances a Singer sewing machine would have been more fun and I could have gotten a more appealing stitch pattern, but the doctor didn’t agree.
Oh, I forgot the part that hurts . . . Have you ever received a shot in your hand? The human had has a great deal of nerve endings in it. And, having to have a shot in your hand is some of the most excruciating experiences in my life. I have been injured in numerous ways. I have passed kidney stones, and I have been married. A shot to your hand is by far the most painful. I warned the doctor that I would likely be reduced to crying like a little girl or at least screaming like a bitch so she was patient with me and took her time performing the task. But DAMN, did it hurt. After the shots to numb my hand were done, I felt no other pain. Then she sends in Miss Evil . . .
After all the stich work, the doctor sends in a gal by the name of Jessica. She is the gal that is going to give me a cast to set my broken thumb for healing. My primary means of transportation is by motorcycle. Jessica comes into the room I am waiting in with this putty looking contraption that she was going to put on me that stretched from close to my elbow to close to the tip of my thumb. I tried to run, she caught me. I tried to hide, she found me. After begging for about 10 minutes she agreed that I could have a little metal thing to restrict my thumbs movement rather than a cast, if I agreed to a whole body cast if the little metal thing failed to heal my broken thumb.
A short time later I was free, waiting for a bus to carry me back to the shop where I could retrieve my motorcycle and go home. Time at hospital, from prior to 9:00AM to after 2:30PM and I was exhausted. I want to go home.