Friday, March 11, 2005

Blade III Anyone?

Hey everybody:

Guess what, I chopped off the end of my finger last weekend. No kidding. My new wife noticed that our yard wasn't looking quite as spiffy as some of the neighbors' and I was dispatched to get rid of the leaves. I took out the lawn mower, drained the old oil, refilled it, bought fresh gas, put on the mulching attachment, etc. Just as I did last year I overfilled the oil tank causing smoke to spew out of the exhaust. The way you fix this is either drain out some of the oil (a pain in the ass) or allow the engine to burn it off. Shutting the engine off is a no-no because it might not restart.

So with smoke billowing I starting mulching leaves. After awhile the leaves weren't mulching so well and I noticed a build up around the mulching attachment. Not wanting to turn off the engine I reached down to pull out a few leaves. No problem. Just be careful.

I felt a cut across my finger like a kitchen knife and thought, "damn, I don't believe I just nicked myself." When I looked, the end of my middle finger was hanging by a piece of skin. Blood had sprayed across my glasses. Adrenaline pumps pretty quick and I swear a thousand thoughts crossed my mind -- "squeeze your finger so you stop the bleeding" "go to Clay's house (the doctor across the street)" "look both ways before crossing the street" "you are now a member of the crooked salute club like Phil, Tom, and Doug" and "damn I bet this will hurt like a sonuvabitch to get fixed."

Well Doc wasn't home. His wife was having a baby shower which I promptly ruined, but there were trained nurses on duty who compressed the wound, looked for lost finger, and called 9-1-1. It was my first ambulance ride. They did not turn on the siren, dang it. Believe it or not I managed to call Bintu, Mom, Bintu, Mom, and Bintu, Mom before I got to Methodist Central.

They called in a plastic surgeon who told me he would try to reattach the tip. By the way, the blade sliced down at a 45 degree angle from the end of the fingernail down towards the first joint and took some bone with it and a good bit of flesh. The doctor told me they would shoot me up with Lidocaine on either side of the finger and then I wouldn't feel a thing. WRONG! It felt like a Singer Sewing Machine was thrashing the end of my finger. I felt even the thread being pulled through (ouch, ouch OUCH!). It was pretty nasty looking I must say.

We did not know if the finger tip would make it or not, but as of yesterday they think it will. I still will undoubtedly need a skin graft, which may be no picnic, but I'm not complaining. I have been on Vicodin and Darvocet (hello grass, hello air, hello dirt). They say it is a good sign when your finger throbs because it is coming back to life. Well, a lot of life must be going on.

I haven't heard from many of you in a long time. As Pearl Jam sez, "Whoa-uh, yo-oh, I'm still alive." So write me. I get lonesome when Bintu is working.

Tom G.