Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Learning to value my opposable digits

Apologies for any mistyping in what follows, but I have a good excuse. Had some work done in the garden on Monday. A few sheets of broken glass got left behind, so I tried to tidy them away yesterday morning. When they were still wet and slippery. If this was Casualty, earlier scenes would have shown me under extreme deadline pressure, arguing with my partner and being close to breaking point. Cut to close-up of slippery glass with jagged edge.

Well, you can guess what happened next. Least I now know why those guest characters on Casualty are always so surprised when they suffer an accidental injury - they don't see it coming. They don't get carefully lensed camera angles of the imminent danger, they just blunder towards it, blissfully unaware. Should I ever write for Casualty, I'd argue for more surprise and less careful set-up. It's the surprise that catches your breath in these moments.

So, yes, I sliced open my right thumb. A big old flap of skin [with some meat attached] was hanging off my favourite opposable digit. No gushing or spurting blood, no sudden change in background music, no actual pain. Just dumb surprise and instant dismay. Went inside and wrapped some kitchen towel round the wound to apply pressure. Drove to the local health centre, holding my thumb aloft like a Roman emperor, still cursing my stupidity.

I wasn't going to bleed out anytime soon, but it was getting quite uncomfortable and my kitchen towel was now an alarming crimson. [Fresh blood is really red, isn't it? Way red. No wonder giving somebody a bloody nose is sometimes called tapping the claret. Though I prefer a rich cab sav or a malbec myself - but I digress.] The health centre sent me round the corner to our local cottage hospital [a bit like Spearhead From Space, Who fans].

There I got questioned for form-filling purposes, my wound cleaned and some of those narrow white plasters put across the wound to hold it together [just like in Casualty!]. Then a big dressing, followed by a lot of bandage [not as entertaining as badinage, but more effective in the circumstances] and tape to hold it all in place. Finish with a lecture on not getting it wet and an invitation to return in 24 hours for a check-up.

Of course, if the bleeding persisted and soaked through the many, many layers, I should come back sooner. Hell, if it soaked through all of that I'd be busy panicking. Anyway, off I wondered back to the car and drove home, filing the experience away in my head for future writing reference. I only started feeling pain when the nurse was pressing the two halves of my wound back together.

My thumb still bends and still has plenty of feelings. Stretch it too far or try to do too much and I'm sharply reminded how many feelings my thumb has. No stitches required thus far, and I'll be fascinated to witness the unveiling of my wound this afternoon, 28 hours on from the accident. If nothing else, this has certainly made me appreciate my opposable digits a lot more. Opening doors, carrying drinks, doing up buttons - my thumbs do a lot.

Guess I should be grateful it was my thumb that got sliced. Had it been my palm or my fingers, had the wound been deeper or the glass sharped, things could have been a lot worse. When it comes to typing, my eight fingers do the bulk of the work - my right thumb is all about the space bar. But it's amazing how many times you hit that particular key, perhaps more than any other. And every time I do, it hurts. That'll teach me, I guess.


Jason Arnopp said...

Ouch! You had a lucky escape there, my good man - a wound that prevents typing doesn't bear thinking about.

When you return to the centre, though, could you please further the Spearhead comparisons by doing these things:
1) Ranting about your shoes.
2) Being kidnapped.
3) Escaping in a wheelchair.
4) Getting shot.

JR said...

Poor you.

Cab Sav though... now you're talking. Jolly good medicine too for a poorly finger.

Matt Badham said...

Get well soon, sir!

Piers said...

Well, that tears it. You're going to be trapped on Earth for several years now.

laurence timms said...

What's the deal with everyone hurting themselves? Last week my work colleague broke his arm when his mountain bike threw him off, a day later the boss builder working in our loft broke his arm (and bashed it sorely again yesterday) and Bradley the Builder's Mate (also in our loft) keeps slicing chunks off his fingers with saws, chisels and nailguns.

It's got so bad that we leave a pile of sticking plasters next to his coffee each morning.

Buttonman said...

A promising hitch-hiking career bites the dust.

Lisa said...

What I'd like to know is did Charlie manage to look you in the eye? Do you suppose they put his cue cards somewhere?

Stevyn Colgan said...

Train a gerbil to jump on the space bar whenever you emit a tiny squeak. Not only practical but entertaining too. You could then introduce a hamster for the shift key and a jerboa for the backspace. And a mouse for the mouse, of course.

And if you're allergic ro rodents, consider finches or canaries. Budgies can also be trained to fetch you beer and crisps.

Look out for me on Dragon's Den very soon ...