Door + Finger = @#!$*!

July 19, 2007

Last evening Sibylle and I set out to explore the rear most boxes in my storage locker in a last ditch effort to find my missing passport. Time is running out for me to get one before our trip to Germany in September and, while we await the arrival of a certified birth certificate, I wanted to continue the search.

When we arrived at the locker facility I managed to shut the locked car door on my right forefinger. Sibylle quickly unlocked the door and we examined the now rapidly swelling and throbbing digit. The nail wasn't broken but a dark pool of blood was already forming in the nail bed. Walking across the parking lot to the store fronts there Sibylle found a small church that was open and got a bag of ice for my hand. We sat in their lobby for a few minutes while I felt faint and then set off for the local urgent care facility.

Urgent care was closed (I guess after 8:00 what ever you have that's wrong is an emergency) so we proceeded to the hospital. St. Luke's is a new, modern facility staffed by some very friendly folks. Being a Wednesday evening in an upscale suburb meant I was the only patient at the time. We weren't even fully signed in at the reception desk when I was called back to a treatment room. Before we left, a scant 40 minutes later, I had the attention of three nurses, two x-ray technicians, and a pleasant doctor who looked to be about 16 years old.

My finger tip is broken, a distal phalanges break, and I have a subungual hemotoma or blood under the nail. They put a split and an ace bandage on to immobilize my finger, gave me Oxycodone for the pain, and offered to poke a hole in the nail to drain the blood. As the doctor explained, the rule of thumb for draining is 50% or more of the nail involved with the blood. Last evening only about 40% of my nail was involved so we opted to not drain it.

After leaving the hospital we drove to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy to fill a small prescription for more Oxycodone and then went home. Thanks to lots of ice and the wonders of a mild narcotic I was able to sleep fairly well all night. I'm taking at least the morning off as one isn't supposed to operate heavy equipment while numb from Percocet. The nail is now almost completely black but as I am not feeling pressure from under the nail we haven't done anything about getting it drained.

In 3 - 5 days I'm supposed to follow-up with my family doctor, otherwise I'm fine. Being a nerd I took several pictures of my finger, which I'll post on my Flickr page shortly.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.