Monday, October 29, 2007

Ten Things I Learned After Slamming My Thumb in the Elantra Door

If you ever slam your finger in the door and your nail is turning purple and it feels like your finger is going to explode from the throbbing pain (also medically known as subungual hematoma):

1) Don't let anyone see you cry or frown, because they'll just call you a pansy [or tell you to suck it up] for bitching about a finger... even though you've survived boot camp, given birth, and jump out of airplanes for a hobby.

2) Be careful with accepting screws from strangers to use to drill into your nail to relieve the pressure, even though after hours of excruciating pain, drilling and squeezing out blood is about the only thing that makes sense. Don't let your spouse drill it either, I found they tend to be a little more forthcoming with ignoring your pain signals.

3) Just smile and try your hardest not to growl when everyone hovers around your black nail and say things like "your nail's gonna fall off" or "everyone's done it" because they're probably just trying to be polite by seeming concerned.

4) The top segments of your finger–the miscreants that got in the way of that car door–won't stop throbbing for at least 2 hours. And then it'll start to tingle in a horribly painful way for another couple of hours after that, more if you managed to break/fracture it. And then any time you bump them or brush against anything, a new shot of pain goes through you and you go about your day looking constipated and mad at the world.

5) You could go to the emergency room, wait 4 hours to get an xray and then have a resident-in-training tell you to take an aspirin and sleep it off. OR you could do what I did and walked to the nearest pharmacy for a splint, tape and a bottle of extra strength tylenol.

6) When you're in that much pain and are willing to try alternate treatments, be prepared for any unknown allergic reactions. After a long day of uncomfort, I took a nurse's advice to soak my hand in Epsom Salt (appears to be a natural remedy here in West Virginia), which I only found (the hard way) that I'm allergic to sulphur. So I spent the whole night itching and discovering hives on my face and neck. It's a good thing I didn't opt to take a bath in it or I might've just made that trip to the emergency room anyway.

7) You will learn quickly how much you take your thumb for granted when you can't even do simple tasks like squeezing the shampoo bottle, turning the ignition on, writing a check for daycare, or buttoning/unbuttoning your pants: which can make things really awkward in the bathroom (be extra careful not to stumble in a porter potty like I did).

8) You become thankful that you don't play the guitar for a living. But you also wish your job didn't entail so much time on the keyboard and mouse. The rest of the fingers just have to work double-time.

9) 2-year-olds don't quite get the concept of mommy having a "boo-boo", but they do give the BEST healing kisses.

10) Don't ask anyone to play thumb war, even if you are just kidding.

PS. One of the hidden perks of working with the Dept of Health is that it's easy to "run into" people who will give you free medical advice. I showed my finger to an RN and she said it doesn't "look" broken since it's not crooked, but the swelling might suggest that I fractured the tip of the bone (which I'm very familiar with), in which case they can't do anything for you but immobilize it anyway. Prescription: Ice it every 20 minutes and take motrin. Ha. Saved a 4-hour trip to the ER.

Splinting doesn't sound like a bad idea at all either, especially since my right hand keeps forgetting NOT to use my thumb for the space bar.


Jolene said...

you are hilarious! so sorry this happened to you though....OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kimberly said...

OMG! Anne that last pic is totally gross and PAINFUL LOOKING!!!!
We missed you on Saturday.

Anal Warts A said...

Ouch, i had a friend slam my pinkie in the tail gait of his truck! I didnt wanna wait over night in the ER so went the next morning. The RN yelled at my and said it could get infected since i didnt go in the night before. I ended up needing surgery to fix it cause my nail got pushed down into the broken bone and wouldnt heal right. AKA it sucked balls! Oh and now my nail grows retarded! DOH!

tree said...

so what is happen a month later??? What to do next? I feel like my thumb nail underneat is coming up to replace the old nail...but i might be wrong... Will my nail gonna look ugly forever??

K said...

Thank you for this. I needed a good laugh after my car door tried to eat my thumb. You are hilarious :)

Lucie said...

I just slammed my thumb in a door half an hour ago and am still crying from the pain. I'm going to my university health center soon but this article helped make me smile.

MoonGardener said...

You made me feel so much better about the fact that my eyes wouldn't stop leaking despite the maniacal smile I tried to show all of the trick or treaters who showed up directly after the index finger was slammed into a LOCKED car door that belongs to someone else. Thanks!!!


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