Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My trip to the ER

I put my hand through a window last night. Stupid old 1947 windows - did you know that if you smash on them with your hand they break? Who designed this weak shit?

So I smash my hand through the glass and I yell "Oh my god!" and then I think maybe it's okay. I mean it really feels like I didn't hurt myself. Then I pull my hand back into the house and see the enormous gash on the inside of my wrist.

My neighbor yells out "Are you okay?"

And I reply with "No!" even though at first I wanted to say I was fine but realized that a normal person would not think this was fine. I grab a paper towel because those commercials always tell me paper towels are really strong and would probably soak up lots of blood.

My neighbor shows up and thank god she did because otherwise I would have been found a day later being eaten by my dogs after I passed out from blood loss over my computer as I googled emergency rooms. A year and a half I've been living here and I still have no idea where the hospitals are.

So my neighbor tries to call 911 and I'm like "Hell no. That's expensive!"

So she grabs her sweater, hands me a dish towel my future in-laws gave me as part of their big Christmas package - sorry, Rita - and we drive to the emergency room. I haven't been to an emergency room since my first year in college when I rode in the ambulance while my best friend struggled against alcohol poisoning in the back. That was the night I discovered ham and pineapple pizza, so maybe tonight will also have some kind of positive outcome.

There's a lady passed out over a couple of chairs and when they call her name she doesn't budge. At this point my hand finally starts to hurt. My neighbor fills out my forms and I try to sign them. The intake nurse vaguely glances at my wound - a giant gash right next to my vein and going in the correct direction for suicide, but she just tells me it will be a few hours. I wonder if I pass out will I be seen sooner? Everybody else in the ER is there for a stomach ache except the passed-out lady. I wonder if any of them have a surprise pregnancy and are in labor.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution is on the TV. Why am I not recording this on the DVR?

A security guard comes out and wakes up the passed-out lady. Her face is soaking wet and she can't walk. She barely knows her own name. Somebody had apparently dropped her off along with an empty pill bottle and then left.

The bleeding has stopped as long as I don't move my hand. The wound is really gross. I think I see nerves. I know what those look like because I saw 127 Hours in the theater.

A woman comes out of the ER shaking, miserable, like death. Everybody feels bad for her and my hand doesn't hurt so much. While her husband runs and gets the car we wonder what she must have been like before, because they're releasing her but she looks awful. Her husband picks her up and carries her to the car because she can't walk.

After about two and a half hours I finally see the doctor. The nurse asks me how I am and I say "I'm an idiot."

"How many times have you been in for stitches?"

"This is the first."

"I've had them twelve times. I'm an idiot."

Some nurse in the hallway is on the phone. "His mom dropped him off. She says he's hearing voices. I believe he is a danger to himself and others."

Then I start feeling pukey. I've been looking at this nasty gash for a while so I think it's the hospital smells that are getting to me. But I don't puke. I pull out my Nook and read Roots, which gives me the opportunity to tell the nurse how much I love my Nook.

I know it's one of the most basic things they do, but I am always impressed with doctors' ability to stitch with pliers. I can't even sew buttons with my hands.

My hand's all wrapped up and I go home and decide not to worry about all the blood or the busted window and just watch Tron Legacy. It's better than I expected it to be.

I also have a cold.

EDITED TO ADD: My neighbor just sent me the picture she took with her phone. Yes, I am in my pajamas.


  1. Great, now I want to see Tron Legacy.

    :p Great story. Love the way you tell it.

    Both my roommates did similar things. One put his hand so far through the window he needed stitches on his elbow. The other nearly cut off her hand -- low wrist cut, huge deep gash into the base of her palm exposing hanging muscle.

    All in all they were all right after a visit to the ER. But still amazed at their skill of truly gruesome wounds that seem like they should have been easily avoided.

    My own hand through a glass experience was somewhat different. I was in the back seat of a 15 passenger van when they backed it into an open rod iron gate. I put my hand back to protect the girl sitting next to me. And instead of my hand going through the glass, the shattered glass rocketed through my hand.

    Topside though. Although gravity has a way of making it look like your wrist is bleeding.

    They sound really make glass less cutty. Someone needs to invent that already.

  2. Good God Emily, what the hell!?!?

    If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, keep all extremities from passing through post-war glass windows. Not just WWII, any war, really.

    Take care of yourself. Geez, now I feel the need to send you cookies from the Bitter Baking Company of Atlanta! ;)

  3. James, at least you have a cool heroic story. I was just trying to close a window that got stuck, although I am considering telling people I did it in a fit of rage.

    Jeff, that is a good motto, one to teach your children and your children's children.

  4. At least you didn't put it through the window on purpose... Or did you?

    It always hurts MORE when it was on purpose.


  5. Emily, OMG! So sorry to hear that. I hate having a cold...

    Oh yeah, and that cut wrist thing sucks, too.

    But tell the truth about how it really happened. You got carried away acting out a scene from your latest action script!

    I once had someone accidentally slice my wrist with a newly sharpened knife (dumb story) and it was so deep that it opened up and I could see inside my arm. Luckily it missed all the veins, and the cut was so clean that instead of bleeding, it just oozed orange fluid like I was a cyborg, or an alien. But it left a scar, so I think I'm human.

    I wish you a painless, speedy, and complete healing process. : )

  6. This is the most elaborate lie I ever heard to get out of our arm wrestling match. That's not even your hand!

  7. Well told.

    Dude, glad you survived.

    How'd you type this up so quickly after the accident?

  8. I waited until the next day. I'm all bandaged up so I can type. It's the cold medicine that's making me hazy right now.

  9. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Glad you're alright.

  10. When I was in Prague, my friend, while highly intoxicated, tried to push open a glass door that should have been pulled. I was upstairs, so I don't know how hard he pushed. I suspect it was pretty forceful.

    He did gash the vein.

    There was much screaming and yelling in the stairwell. I got down there in less than 60 seconds, and he was passing out, with our Czech neighbor yelling at him and threatening to have us evicted, but not offering to help. There is a massive amount of blood, and it's much brighter red than I expected.

    I put pressure on the wound (about a 2 inch gash on the wrist), and police arrived - and took him straight to the hospital. We met him there. Apparently, he lost enough blood to have been moments from death when he arrived there.

    So, y'know, you say hand through window, and I'm imagining jets of bright red blood everywhere and you close to death... very glad it wasn't that...and very, very glad your neighbor came over.

  11. OW!!! That's gonna leave a mark (happily shorter than two inches). Good opportunity for a scar story, involving aliens or Somalian pirates. (Idiocy is boring, unless it involves some inadvertent rube goldberg sequence of events, and I got your pipsqueak single stage effort topped (tore a meniscus turning off a light (twisting in bed) and was avid runner at time, so folks kept assuming I tripped while running... and I kept having to correct folks... I mumbled a lot.))

    Take good care of that hand. We like you whole and intact.

  12. I once stabbed myself in the hand while trying to liberate ice cream from the carton. And then didn't go to the hospital for stitches, even though I should have. Because I was too embarrassed.

    Because I'm an idiot.


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