Third Aid

Two weeks ago, I tried to hack off my own left pointer finger at the base with a cheap steak knife while attempting to cut a loaf of admittedly stale Italian bread. One week ago, the stitches came out.

It was a kind of odd experience: one of those generically urgent care places and a doctor who was strange enough to be wearing a pair of red jeans (or possibly fleece pants with jeans-like pockets… looking at you, Pithypants…) and a purple sweater… with no white coat and no other evidence she was actually an MD.

She was brusque but not rude – not gentle, either – as she snipped the stitches from my finger, telling me as she went that sometimes it hurts because she has to pull the stitches up from the skin to cut them. I winced and grunted a little at a tug and snip.

“Yeah, well, that’s why I told you sometimes it hurts,” she said.

Seven snips later I looked down to find the gaping wound from a week before magically…

…still gaping?

…Wait, what?

“Oh,” said the alleged doctor when she noticed what I noticed: that almost all of the cut was still pretty open (though at least the tendon was no longer visible). “Well, sometimes it’s better to leave the stitches in,” she said, waving her hand a little dismissively in the air, “but of course, you can’t know that until you take them out. And then we can’t restitch it, because the chances of infection are too high.”

So… let me get this straight. We have the ability to transplant a face… but not to properly close a simple knife laceration?


She put four steri-strips on it to try to hold the edges of the cut together. Then she slapped a big patch band-aid on it and called it a day. I went home, took the patch band-aid off because it was sticking to the cut, and then rebandaged it as I had it before, with rolled gauze and surgical tape.

I had asked the “doctor” how long I should leave the steri-strips on before the wound would close. “Oh, 48 hours or so should be fine.” Like hell. I knew there was no way that wound would be closed in 48 hours. So I left them on for nearly a week. Yesterday, I soaked them off to see how things were going.

Yup. Still open. Slightly less open than the week before.

So then I had to go buy some steri-strips and more rolled gauze, and re-bandage my hand at red lights on my way to work. To my knowledge, wound care is not a valid reason to ticket someone for distracted driving, and this was the only time I could do it. But did you know that it’s hard to put steri-strips on gaping finger wounds by yourself? I should have waited til I got to work, so I could find someone who wouldn’t be squeamish, to hold the cut closed while I applied the strips.

Maybe next time that’s what I’ll do, because at this point, I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a month for this baby to close up. Actually, I’m half certain the edges will heal over, leaving the squishy insides open forever and ever. Like I’m a zombie. ZombieFinger. That has to be my code name for a while. I was kind of looking forward to going by ScarFinger, but I’ll have to wait a while for that one.

13 thoughts on “Third Aid

    • They stitched it in the ER and I’m not going back to an ER for removal. The bill for the stitches was 400 dollars (and six hours wait). I’m sure the express care doc was really a doc – I just wasn’t happy with her treatment. I’ll go to another doc if it doesn’t show progress. It’s one of those wounds that wasn’t going to heal in a week, anyway.

      • $400!! Holy cow. I guess I take OHIP for granted. We don’t pay here (Canada) as you know. I bitch and moan about wait times. Maybe I should just shut up and be grateful.

      • I think every health care system has its flaws. For my part, I’ll have to figure out why the hospital didn’t submit my bill to my insurance company despite taking the information while I was there. I’ve already called, but of course, I have to call back during “normal business hours.”
        PS the express care place where I had the stitches removed charged me $20. That’s it.

  1. Let’s just agree: generally women in fleece are not going to be skilled with thread. BTW – when I cut my hand open (on a jagged can) and went to the ER, the line was so long that one of the administrative people at the desk handed me some butterfly bandages and said, “Line’s long. If you don’t care about the scar, this’ll get it done.” Very nice.

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