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The Finger Part II

So what happened? It’s been 10 days since the incident and I owe everyone who hasn’t heard an explanation. I was trying to make my first dish out of Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Supers at Lucques cookbook. The goal? Young onion tart with cantal, applewood-smoked bacon, and herb salad. I was about to cut my second onion through the equator when a not-sharp-enough knife slipped on the glossy skin, rather than penetrating it. It did a great job slicing into my left middle finger though, nearly cutting off a chunk of meat. The only thing that stopped it was my fingernail. Thanks nail!

It actually did not hurt much but it bled profusely. I thought of calling Dexter over for a little "What do you think happened here?" trivia. I applied pressure and went to the sink. I grabbed some paper towels and wrapped it tightly around. I waited a few minutes and walked to my bathroom. I opened up my grip and bam, dark red blood pouring out. So I went back to the kitchen and I called my roommate. Quietly. There was nobody around, it was Friday night before New Year’s (12/30/07) but I felt awkward yelling out. Finally, a little louder.

ALEX?

Yeah?

Can you help me with something?

Alex comes out

What is it?

I cut myself

Oooh.

I asked him if he thought I needed stitches. I had no idea. I have never been to the hospital for any medical procedure, much less the emergency room. He thought I definitely should go to the ER. So I grabbed my wallet and new insurance card out of the envelope, through a hoodie over my shoulder and went to his car. He drove me to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital which is right next to where I used to work (we moved).

I was nervous about the whole thing. How much would this cost me? Is this hospital in-network? Will I have to wait six hours? Well guess what? It was great. When I got there, only one person was in the lobby. It was super quiet. In fact, I had to ring a bell since there was nobody at the desk. I wrote down my name, SSN, and what the problem was on a piece of paper. Then I filled out a form and waited 5 minutes. I was called in and sat down in the first room to the right. A grumpy nurse took my blood pressure, temperature, and asked me to rate my pain level between 1 and 8. What a  weird scale!

Then I was taken to a bed and asked to lie down but this other nurse (probably in her 20’s, with bitchin’ glasses) came and said I could sit reclined. They setup a suture kit which had saline solution, iodine, syringes, etc. Another nurse came out and asked me some questions. Then the doctor came out with an assistant. The assistant asked me again what my pain level was but this time the scale was from 1 to 10 and he also diagramed my injury. I chatted with the doctor and found out she went to UCSB for undergrad, did her doctorate at Georgetown and practiced in Virginia before realizing how crazy she was for not moving back to Santa Barbara. So 6 months ago, that’s exactly what she did. She was really funny and pretty. She said the bleeding was not stopping and I definitely should get stitches. I told her the area seemed really small and I don’t think it could be done. She took that as a challenge.

The injections of local anesthesia hurt more than the stitches, which makes sense.  While all of this was going on, I noticed that every single nurse asked the same questions (what happened?) and made the same jokes (you couldn’t finish the tart anyway and bring us some?).

As I was getting sewn up, they decided I needed a tetanus shot so another nurse came, asked me to confirm my name, and she gave me the shot in my right arm. I didn’t realize she had done so until she announced it. She said I was brave but I think it was either my guns or the fact I was paying attention to my finger. After that, the front desk clerk came, had me quickly sign a document allowing them to charge my insurance. It was done in such a casual manner, it kind of worried me. I called her back to ask if my insurance covered it and she said she didn’t know and if they didn’t, I’d get billed. I heard from the other nurses it’d be at least $600. They were so carefree about it. Like people have $600 lying around.

The last thing that happened was a nurse came and put on a special type of bandage. They have this cool contraption that helps them do it. Another nurse came to watch, saying it was her favorite type of bandage. HAHA. They gave me some bacitricin (think Neosporin) and a few fingertip/knuckle bandages and sent me on my way. All in all, I saw 5 nurses, 1 doctor, and 1 clerk on my visit. Amazing.

The next day was New Year’s eve and Alex and Drew’s friend came to visit in the evening. What did we have for dinner? You guessed it.

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