Oh, what a day. What a day. Will I ever live this one down? I can, however, say that I have indeed had stitches (first time that I've had to have them), and that it is due to an incident involving a glass, a steak knife, and YouTube.
This is how it all started:
Reading down my reading page this morning, I saw that smartbitches_feed had brought me
In case the name wasn't clear enough, there is more glitter in this than ten Edward Cullens, a Pride parade, and an entire disco. It is also hella catchy and enthusiastic. I found myself bouncing around in my computer chair, gleefully flailing my nightgowned arms in time with their antics.
A crash, from the adjacent laptop table, not even two minutes in.
A sudden halt to my flailings as I stared at the steak knife suddenly protruding from my forearm.
I had left the aforementioned steak knife point-up in the innocent glass on the laptop table, rather than carrying it over to the sink as I ought to have last night. Dirty, of course. Ham and mashed potatoes.
It did not hurt as much as I thought it ought to. I headed over to the sink where I rinsed the wound under the tap and tried to assess the damage.
The knife had gone in at an angle, and what I thought to have been an inch to an inch and a half of blade had been inside my arm. This was not exactly good. I realized, as I watched water stain itself red, that the interior of the wound was bigger than the exterior, and that it really ought to be cleaned out by a trained professional. My last tetnus shot was whenever I twisted my ankle last, probably in '01; I would probably need antibiotics. I would need to see a doctor. DAMMIT, AND ME WITH NO INSURANCE. Oh well, things like not dying of blood poisoning were good reasons to see doctors. First things first, though. I needed to stop the bleeding. I grabbed a paper towel, folded it, and pressed it over the wound firmly. It did not hurt to touch like that; it had not bruised. I kept applying pressure. To my general happiness, the paper towel did not become soaked with freely flowing blood in the fashion that the gauze pads did when I was giving plasma; I had been half-expecting that. I realized that I could not keep pressing on it forever; I hunted down one of the velcro-ended bandages I typically use on my wrists for a carpal tunnel flare-up, and wrapped it neatly.
Back to the computer I went, in search of a suitable urgent care facility, and to share my shame with the internet, as the sheer ridiculousness of the situation had hit me early and hard. One hand on the mouse told me that actually, perhaps my plan to drive myself to said urgent care facility was a generally shortsighted and foolish, given that moving my right arm in normal ways was not going too well. I debated calling JD and seeing if he could bus over, and then drive me, but common sense again overrode my inclination to not bother people, and I determined I would call my aunt.
First things first, however. I got dressed, bemoaning my lack of foresight in not showering earlier. Pro tip: behind-the-back bra-fastening is not recommended with this kind of injury. I felt generally icky, even after I attacked myself with a washcloth. Then I called my aunt.
Me: "Hi! ...Are you doing anything this morning?"
Me: "Could you drive me to urgent care, please?"
Aunt: !!! "I'll be right over." !!!
Me: "Don't worry; I'm not bleeding much."
Aunt: "I'LL BE RIGHT OVER!!!"
I popped a book into my bag and headed out to wait for her, hand at the level of my eyes. She whisked me off to her favorite emergency room, dropped me off at the entrance, then went off to find parking in the hellish lot.
The security guy advised me to fill out the triage form as best I could, eyeing the prominent bandage wrapped around my right forearm. (I am, of course, right-handed.) It was a short form. I described my injury succinctly: "Stab wound right forearm (stupid)."
Triage saw me fairly promptly; I had amused them with my description. I went into a little more detail. I was not in a lot of pain, and I was keeping my spirits up with the sheer slapstick cracktastic glory of it all, and the thought of relating the whole tale to the internet.
I ran through triage in fairly short order, describing the nature of the accident, my pain level (1 or 2), getting my blood oxygen, blood pressure, ability to feel which finger is which, and grip evaluated. The guy who was testing my grip held out his hands and had me squeeze with both hands; he pronounced them equal. I had noticed that my little finger and ring finger were impaired, pointed out that he'd mostly been testing the index and middle fingers, and insisted on re-doing the squeeze test with the pinky and ring fingers on both hands. He saw that the left was stronger than the right although both were decent; I advised him that usually the opposite was the case. He unwrapped me, took a look at me, allowed as how this was more of a puncture wound than a cut, really, put a temporary dressing on, and sent me back out to the waiting room.
I waited. My aunt came in, and we waited together, chattering away. Soon enough, someone brought us back to the actual emergency area; I perched on the bed. My aunt grabbed the instrument tray, put the pillow on it, and had me put my arm up on it. This was a good thing, as it was a long wait. We chattered at first, and then settled in to our respective books. My aunt had her book with the homework for her gardening class; I had not yet started The Sword of Maiden's Tears, which was the first book to hand when getting myself together; this proved to have been a good choice, given that the book's inhabitants are instantly recognizable in their collection of character tropes by anyone who has a circle of assortedly geeky friends.
The wait was enlivened somewhat by the other people in the emergency ward. At first the ward seemed empty, and my aunt and I were chattering away at a decent volume, but then she noticed the old lady in the curtained-off section next door, so we turned it down. She was in with some breathing problems. Someone came by with an exciting portable X-Ray machine, and we got shuffled out into the hallway out of the machine's effective distance. (I didn't think to note the model, for the radiologists in the audience, sorry.) There was an old dude on a fairly tied-down rolly thing rolled in, and he was in a good deal of discomfort. He had a whole flock of people surrounding him and trying to make sense of him; one of the dudes in his presence eventually came to the conclusion that while he was confused and using idiosyncratic terminology, he was definitely on the same plane as the rest of us and was telling them things about c'thia, and they tried to figure out what he was on about. There was evidently something that was under pressure (he seemed to have some sort of catheter installed, in an undisclosed location), and after a whole great deal of interesting and mumbled discourse, the overpressure situation was resolved and he found more comfort.
My aunt noticed the crucifix overlooking the door. She was creeped out by it; I was not so much creeped out. I have built up a decent amount of tolerance to other people's religions, and my own religious convictions innoculate me against other religions fairly neatly, unless members of other religions decide to get uncivil.
At length a doctor for me came in, examined my wound, and told me the game plan. Mostly, this involved us playing pushy-games with the hand. I moved my fingers, held the hand down, held it up. Then he tried to pull my hand down while I held it up. He said to keep holding it up while he tried to pull it down. Previously the pain had been at 1 or 2; it peaked at 4 during the worst of this.
There was more waiting, and he returned.
He wanted to make sure that I would be OK sitting upright for this, and would not swoon. I assured him that I would; I used to give plasma. That calmed him down, and soon he broke out a whole bunch of sterile water, a syringe, a whole bunch of gauze, and other sundries. He'd already laid bare the bandages on his first visit, and while a bit of blood welled up, it was not flowing like it had been. First he wiped down the area with whatever brownish solution he was using. Then he used a hair-fine needle to inject anaesthetic all around the wound, and furthermore dribbled anaesthetic into the raw areas. There was a lot of swabbing-off; I'm not sure in what order the bulk of it happened, and then he took the syringe and slurped up sterile water. He splurted this onto the wound, and then splurted more into it. Rather than stinging, as my nerves were enjoying a break from it all, it felt pleasantly cool.
After quite a bit of this, he broke out tools of what were at first a mysterious nature to me, although their use soon became clear. There was a cute little curved needle trailing quite a lot of long black plastic thread. He grasped one side of the wound in tweezer-like objects that had a sharp poky bit in it, punching a hole for the needle, and used the graspers in his other hand to push the needle on through, and brought the needle expertly up through the skin at the other side of the wound. He then tied a firm knot in the tail of the thread and cut it off, then repeated the procedure again for a second stitch. He had mentioned that he was not going to close it up too tightly; he indicated where he was leaving it a bit open so it could drain should it need draining.
Eventually, someone smeared antibiotic ointment on it, put gauze on top, then wrapped it in happy bandages and taped it off. Hooray for such things.
After 24 hours, I can get it wet. I cannot wait.
At length, someone came around, gave me instructions, and told me I could go. My aunt went to fetch the car. I waited for the financial person to get back. The price is painful. She gave me some hoops to try jumping through.
They deemed another tetnus shot was not necessary; given that I only showed up as a 1-2 pain, they didn't see the need to offer me srs bizns drugs to take home either. I was a little apprehensive about that, particularly given that I don't feel that I deal with pain well, but I didn't feel the need to ask, and it seems to be doing OK so far. For some hours it was aching even when not disturbed at about a 2, and when disturbed at a 3+, but it was only as bad as the day after a day of overexerting myself walking, and quite decently bearable given that it was only in my forearm and not in both legs, part of my back, and my upper arms too.
I snapped a few shots of the knife before washing it. I didn't have a ruler to hand, but I put it up next to an object of knowable length, a BART card, which is the same size as a standard credit card.
JD advises me that the short end is 5.4 centimeters, which is just over 2 inches. You see how the bloodied area on the blade is just about the same length as the short end of the BART card. I'd thought it had only gone 1 to 1.5 inches in. Yikes.
I spent a certain amount of time on the phone, assortedly reassuring people about my well-being and cracking up laughing. ("I guess that was a mis-steak?" my best friend put in, along with several others in that vein.)
Later on in the evening, the constant ache died down. Currently, it only hurts when I make complex maneuvers such as twisting or bending, and it's no more than a 2, maybe a 3 if it's behind my back.