In a feat of culinary stupidity, I stood a loaf of bread on end in order to cut it. Piercing its crust required similar effort as, I imagine, cutting into an armadillo would. As I pressed the knife downward, the precariously balanced bread tipped sideways and the knife slid along its armored crust and traveled into my left pointer finger leaving a laceration from the center of my finger nail around the outer side above the top most joint. I could feel the serration of the bread knife glance across my bone…bump, bump, bump. Staring at the open wound my first thoughts were “I need stitches”, “shit, this is going to cost money” and “this is going to put a damper on climbing and guitar playing this month”.
I quickly cleaned it and sealed it up with gauze and tape. Then I started thinking of how to fix this. It was 6 pm on New Year’s Day. The emergency clinics had closed. There was the ER, but that can get pricey and is usually a pretty depressing experience. I decided to call my friend Adam who worked at the hospital. He was able to give me some advice over the phone and offered to swing by to take a look at it. In the meantime, I removed the bandages to clean it more thoroughly. My eyes had overestimated the size of it in my panic earlier. It was only about 1/2″, but still pretty deep. Maybe I could go without the stitches. When Adam came over, he made the same assessment. Using some steri-strips, gauze, and tape I had around the house, we were able to patch it up just fine.
I’m not trying to tell you to avoid going to the hospital in case of an emergency. If you are hurt and bleeding, by all means, go out and get help. I’m advocating that you take a look at a situation and figure out what means you have available to you. In this case, I had a friend with the right skills, and we had all we needed around the house to come up with a solution. So, I guess the lesson is: Keep a first aid kit on hand and know who you have in your corner.