A Day in the Life: Stitches in Time

Surgical suture on needle holderSharp-edged implements and I have a long and somewhat involved history. Aside from the intentional cuts made by scalpels (yes, they count) for all my various surgical escapades, I’ve had a few serious encounters that ended in vast amounts of money spent on ERs and stitches, first on my parents’ dollar and later, my own. Each incident leaves scars. I’ve had lots of stitches; I have lots of scars.

There was the frozen bagel/butcher knife debacle at age 16, too stupid for words, but good for several weeks of avoiding dish-washing duty. It also generated a lot of sympathy at school, as I had several stitches and an enormous bandage that included a plastic splint that fit over my left index finger to protect it from any further damage I might inflict. I distinctly recall my shock at seeing my finger guts exposed, and then a sense of wonder. “Oh, so that’s what that looks like inside!”

My career as a graphic designer provided myriad opportunities to maim myself with an X-acto knife. I lost count of the number of times the tip of my left thumb or index finger ended up on the cutting table because it stuck out over the straight-edge just that much as I was drawing the knife down. Or the time the knife rolled down the drafting board just in time for me to move, sending it spiraling upward in the air, only to land stuck in my right arm, millimeters from the main vein. The tetanus shot was worse than the little puncture.

Today’s adventure was nearly as embarrassing as the time I poked a hole in a nerve in the left index finger while giving myself a pedicure with a single edge razor blade and talking on the phone. The moment it slipped and punctured, I knew I’d done a bad thing—I couldn’t feel my finger above the wound. Microsurgery and 12 years still have not restored the feeling in that digit, although it’s difficult to remember whether the butcher knife had something to do with that or not.

I came home from work for lunch today, intending to put a pot of cabbage on to cook and then run some errands before continuing with work in the studio. While chatting on the phone with a close friend, I attempted to separate two frozen pieces of meat with a knife, but instead, managed to stab myself in the hand, in what may only be described as a truly stupid move.

“Oh. I just stabbed myself in the hand. Hang on a sec, while I get some paper towels.” (My younger son says I’m a “chronic under-responder.”)

Basic first aid lessons remembered: put pressure on the wound until it stops bleeding. Once the bleeding had stopped, I applied a couple of steri-strips and an ice-pack, continuing to chat about this and that with my pal. In a flash of brilliance, I decided to take myself to the ER to have my hand examined. Our phone conversation ended when I arrived at the ER.

“OK, I gotta go. I’m at the ER now.”

“WHAT??? The ER???!!! It’s that bad? OMG. OMG. How can you be so calm?”

“I don’t need to get upset. You do a great job getting all upset for me. I’ll text you later to let you know what they say. Bye, hon.”

An hour-and-a-half and seven assorted clerks, PAs, nurses and techs later, I re-emerged into the sunshine sporting four tiny, even stitches holding together a half-inch gash, all protected by a mound of gauze and tape, with instructions to keep it clean, dry and covered and come back in 7-10 days to get the stitches out. No big deal.


Perfect stitches hold
together a vintage quilt.
Patchwork of my life.


About Peace Penguin

Just a penguin on the path to choosing peace.
This entry was posted in A Day in the Life, Haiku, memories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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