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Aug 22

Emergency Room Antics

Sometimes the best made plans turn to a rancid pot of day old, unrefrigerated chowder faster than you can say, “Wait, what just happened here?” I was going to post a blog yesterday showing my Toastmasters World Semi-final performance for the 2012 Toastmasters International Speech Contest, when all of a sudden I found myself wasting several hours in the emergency room.

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Yes Quinn, I know, it’s an “icky” wound.

Shortly after I returned from my 7:00 a.m. weekly Toastmasters club meeting (yes, you heard that right, Park City Toastmasters Club meets at 7:00 a.m. every Tuesday), I went to make a smoothie for Quinn, my 14-year-old (recall he’s the knife juggler in the family) and the food processor (notably called “The Ninja”) blade fell out of the cupboard and landed squarely on top of my left hand severing an arterial vein. Immediately blood bubbled up from the top of my hand like a small, simmering volcano.

“OH, SHIT!” Was my immediate, annoyed reaction. I do NOT need this today!

I ran to the sink, leaving a trail of blood in my wake. I desperately wanted to avoid the emergency room, so I tried to clean the wound, but the running water just encouraged the gaping hole in my hand to bleed more. Clearly, this was not a good idea.

I grabbed paper towels and wrapped my hand, applying pressure to stop the bleeding, but it still trickled down my arm, all over the counter and into a tray of drying dishes (lovely). Blood was suddenly the new decorating accessory in our kitchen.

Within mintues I was feeling a little woozy, and since the sight of blood or gory wounds does not bother me (hence, my love of horror movies) I thought I’d better lie down and elevate my hand. But when the symptoms continued, I told Quinn that I needed to go to the emergency room NOW. I quickly added more tissues and paper towels and Quinn tightly wrapped my hand with a roll of scotch tape that was on the counter.

Our Exciting Drive to the Emergency Room

Unfortunately, my older son was not home so that meant I had to drive myself to the emergency room. Fortunately, the nearest urgent care clinic (not a full-fledged emergency room, but it would do) was under a mile away. As you can imagine, it was a challenge to drive, apply pressure to my wound, keep my hand elevated above my head, AND remain a defensive driver.

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Me: “You and Derrick will be doing the dishes for the next 10 days.” Quinn: “Excuse me?”

About halfway there things got dicey. I told my son, “Quinn, I’m starting to see stars, so if I pull over you’re going to have to drive the rest of the way, okay?”

“Um…Okay…” He agreed, not totally onboard with the idea.

“And if I pass out, grab the wheel and hit the brake.”

“Which one is the brake again?”

“The middle pedal.”

“What are you talking about? There are only two pedals!” I usually drive my Subaru Outback, which has a manual transmission. But my older son had my car, so we took our second vehicle, a 1978 Jeep Wagoneer, which is an automatic.

“Oh, the left one. Wait, let me think… Yeah, the left one.” Things were kind of hazy at this point, but by now we were almost to the clinic, so I knew I could finish the drive. Besides this somewhat awkward exchange did wonders to keep me conscious.

Prepare for Your Emergency Room Landing

We parked in front of the clinic and Quinn helped me in. Upon seeing the bloody paper towel mess wrapped around a part of my body that contains several arteries, the wonderful clinic staff connected the dots themselves. They immediately got me a wheel chair, as if I was some old lady deplaning in Boca Raton, and quickly transported me to a bed. But in order to treat me they had to administer some sort of blood coagulating potion so they could clean the wound and stitch it up without it gleefully spouting like a champagne fountain at Tony and Tina’s Wedding.

Naturally, all this took hours, from check-in to release. Thankfully, I did have the wherewithal during my emergency room wait to have Quinn call his brother and fill him in. Could you imagine what Derrick would’ve thought if he came home to find blood all over the kitchen and no sign of his mom or brother? That could’ve been the basis for a whole new blog post. I have to admit, posts with police, missing persons, and assumed crime scenes are always so much more interesting. (Maybe I should’ve just let him stumble upon the mess.)

The punch line is that I’m fine. But the downside of my emergency room visit is that I can’t use my left hand for about 10 days due to the stitches now holding it together. Which is a bummer if you’re a writer. I typed this post using only my right hand and the old “hunt and peck” method that most pre-computer, hardboiled reporters favored back in the day (yes, Dad, I’m talking about you).

Needless to say, getting this post published today took a while. So if you used your valuable time to read it, PLEASE leave a comment, even if you usually don’t. I can honestly say publishing this post was not only a labor of love, it also hurt like hell. Mainly because I tried to cheat once in a while by using my left hand. However, Mother Nature quickly used her hand to bitch-slap me back into place.

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Did you like this post? If so, please click on the banner below to vote for me as a Top Mommy Blogger on TopMommyBlogger.com. I don’t win anything except a higher search engine ranking, plus bragging rights to my kids that I’m not as dorky as they think. (Okay, well maybe I am that dorky, but at least I’ll be easier to find on the Web.)

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

51 comments

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  1. Zelrick

    I know your pain, about 3 weeks ago I was privileged enough to have a deer attempt to take a ride on the front fender of my motorcycle. This of course didn’t work out well for either of us. The deer is dead and I ended up taking 2 weeks of “vacation” Because my rotator cuff was so sore I couldn’t do much of anything.

    Get better quick and careful of the Ninja!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Okay, my hats off to you, because that’s WAY worse than what I went through. Is your shoulder okay? Rotator cuffs can be tricky, and lord knows you need them for a very long time (like the rest of your life).

      Thanks for the words of empathy. I hope you’re okay, too!

      1. Zelrick

        I’m almost all better, shoulder is recovering well. Somewhere in my adrenalin addled, extreme hobby loving mind, I found enough common sense to marry a very awesome rehab/oncology nurse. I really hope she never gets tired of taking care of me.

  2. LInda G.

    Stacy, Stacy, Staceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
    1. I am really glad you are o.k.
    2. Please wear one of those “I have fallen and I can’t get up” things around your neck because if you store a blade that can cut you on the edge of a cabinet shelf that can fall on you, your are going to need it. Who knows what other sharp Ninja objects are lurking. Me thinks we need to come and Stacy proof your home.
    3. How many stitches?
    Rest.
    Hug.
    Linda

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I know, Linda, can you believe it? I really meant it when I said, “I DON’T NEED THIS RIGHT NOW.” In response:

      1. Thank you so much. You’re an angel. :-)
      2. I think Stacy-proofing my home might be in order.
      3. I lost count (in the number of stitches). I could watch them sew me up for only so long.

      Hugs back at ya.
      Stacy

  3. Louise Edington

    Good grief! Who cleaned up the blood? Glad you’re okay!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Interesting question, Louise. The rest of the story goes like this: After about an hour at the ER I told Quinn to go ahead and walk home, because I was going to be a while and it was obvious that I would be okay and that I would be able to drive home. So he went home. When I arrived home a few hours later THE BLOOD MESS WAS STILL IN THE KITCHEN! He had not cleaned it up. Granted it was gross, and he doesn’t have the stomach for it, but it wasn’t the best of situations to come home to. Derrick didn’t get home until after I did. But if he had, I’m sure he would’ve cleaned it up. P.S. Quinn claims he hadn’t noticed the blood in the kitchen when he got home because the kitchen was still a “regular” mess from breakfast.

  4. faye

    Oh dear… I can not stand the sight of blood and guts esp. if they are my own!
    Sorry to hear about this mishap. I could volenteer to do dishes one night if needed.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks for the offer, Faye, but I have two strong, able-bodied teenage boys who clean the kitchen on a regular basis. They will will be doing it now exclusively for the next 10 days. They’re “thrilled”.

  5. Bob Jones

    Thanks for the great post – sorry about your Ninja mishap – those sharp kitchen implements can be deadly, for sure. Glad you’re ok – now let that hand heal!!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Bob. When you get right down to it, I’m just an idiot. I never thought about the thing falling down on me…until it did. I’m going to store the blades separately in Tupperware. Tupperware is much cheaper than a copay for an ER visit. ;-)

  6. Miriam

    Ouch! So sorry! Glad you’re ok.
    And yes, you should have left your other soon out of the loop–all in the name of a good blog post…

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I know, Miriam, wouldn’t THAT have been a good post? Of course, my older son would’ve been crazy with worry, but he’s young. He’d get over it. ;-)

  7. Terri @ The Laughing Mom

    I know severing a major artery is not a laughing matter, however, that Saturday Night Live skit with Dan Aykroyd imitating Julia Child immediately came to mind when I read your story. He was screaming, “Remember to save the liver!” as he was about to pass out. You are very lucky on many fronts – and especially lucky the knife juggler didn’t have to take the wheel. Glad you are on the mend! Very impressed with the one-handed typing.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I’m getting pretty good at the one-handed typing. My 8th grade typing teacher would’ve been proud.

      I completely forgot about the Dan Aykroyd SNL skit where Julia Childs cuts herself and bleeds to death on her show. I love that skit! I might have to dig that out on YouTube and post it!

  8. Ori

    Time to get one of those voice recognition software programs (Dragon Naturally Speaking is one I hear a lot about) so you can just tell the computer your stories and it writes them down for you – like having your own personal secretary!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      I thought about that too, Ori. Thanks for the tip on Dragon Naturally Speaking. I’ll look into it. I have a lot of writer friends who use voice recognition tools because they can’t use a computer anymore due to wrist injuries and carpel tunnel syndrome. Just a sign of the times, right?

  9. Sedona

    Holy sh*t, Stacy! Put my cell number on your speed dial. If you decide to do this little prank again, give me a call. I’m only two doors down. I know how to drive! Even stick.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Sedona. Actually, I DID think of you, but not until I was already at the ER. I thought about which close neighbors I could’ve called that might be home at that time of day and you immediately came to mind. However, my critical thinking was a little fuzzy by the loss of blood, and all I kept thinking is that I had to get to the ER. I wasn’t processing straight. But from now on I’ll make sure MY KIDS have your number on speed dial and tell them what to do in an emergency.

      Thanks for confirming that you’re willing to be on call! I appreciate the backup.

  10. Dee Macaluso

    Awww….Stacy. That’s not your ‘dating’ hand is it? So what did we learn from this? DON”T FIX FOOD FOR YOUR KIDS. Love you.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      WHEN will I learn? Yes, I’ve been warned before that if you feed your kids they only expect you to continue to do so in the future. AND they get more demanding about it. It’s like taking in stray cats. I tell you, Dee, I’m not very smart. Hence the sliced up hand (which thankfully, is NOT my “dating” hand).

  11. Carol Rives

    Well that just sucks… really! You’re going to make a smoothie for your son, and you get injured. I could see if you denied feeding your young, but you didn’t…. that’s just wrong. The universe must be really out of wack!

    I must admit that you really had your thought process in order, regarding calling and letting your other son know what happened, so that he didn’t automatically call CSI.

    Hope you heal quickly, and maybe you should hold off on the posts for awhile, as Mother Nature is known to have a powerful punch, and I wouldn’t want to hear that she has “bitch-slapped” you, yet again!!

    Be well, Stacey!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Carol. Ironically, I can’t do much of anything right now, so it’s the perfect time to be online. However, typing is slow going with one hand. But pain has a way of keeping me in check.

  12. Sandra

    Oh my. I am somewhat ashamed but I have to ask: Was I allowed to laugh at your mishap? I really didn’t mean to but the account was just so … humorous. So between the rock of making fun of a person in misery and the hard place of not properly appreciating the hard work of a comedian I decided I’d rather go with the former. My apologies.

    Although my favourite bit was actually the second picture and Quinn’s response. That one had me in stitches.

    Hope you have another accident soon. Oh wait, sorry. Hope you get well soon! That’s what I meant to say.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Sandra. So glad you enjoyed my post! I learned early on that good comedy comes out of pain. In this case literally. It’s nice to know that my readers have the same twisted sense of humor as I have. I can only deduce that makes us one highly evolved and intelligent bunch. Glad to be in such esteemed company. :-)

  13. Kelly e

    Glad u r feeling better. And congrats on ur post! Amazingly well done for just using one hand! :)

  14. Stacy Dymalski

    The key is that I can’t do anything else right now, so I have all the time in the world to hunt and peck for keys on the computer. I’m getting pretty good at it, actually. Although, tomorrow I’m going to look into one of those voice activated gizmos. I might as well use this as an opportunity to get a new toy, right?

  15. Coulter Morgan

    Get better soon! What a clever way to get out of chores! Love

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, dear brother, I thought it was pretty clever on my part. Just don’t ask what my sons think of my cleverness. Especially while they’re doing dishes.

  16. barbara backer-gray

    That’s a lot of text to type with one hand! I’m writing this from a room in the children’s hospital here in Austin, where my son ended up a few days ago. After just coming back home from ending up having emergency surgery because his appendix had ruptured in Yellowstone. Yep, we plan and the universe is in stitches, pardon the pun.
    Hope your hand is better soon.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Okay, you win, Barbara. That’s WAY worse (and worrisome) than some stitches on my hand. I hope your son is feeling better now that he’s back home (he is home, right?). The emergency room is bad enough, but to go there for your child is awful. We’ve all been there one time or another with our kids, so I feel for you.

      And for the record, I loved your pun. I like to think I’n “punny” myself. ;-)

  17. Julie

    “Nasty situation gives birth to a great post…news at 11.” Hope the hand heals quickly, Stacy!

    PS: I once dropped a great honkin’ knife and it landed with the point stuck in the linoleum right between my feet, going “floy-oy-oing” just like in cartoons. I felt lucky my bare feet hadn’t been the spot the knife picked. I suppose our take-away here should be to keep sharp objects lower than any parts we’d like to hang onto!

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, Julie, I can’t believe I was so stupid as to put something so sharp so high up. I thought I was smarter than that, but obviously I’m not. (I’d like to think I am now, however.)

      And thanks for sharing that story about dropping that knife between your toes. I can only imagine your sigh of relief when you realized how lucky you were. You got a great story out of it AND you got to keep all your toes. A win-win situation indeed!

  18. Mom

    Here comes a lecture– Why are you keeping sharp objects ABOVE your work area? We never did such foolish things at home while you were growing up. Weren’t you paying attention in the kitchen during your youth while under the influence of a neat-nick, organized perfectionist? Or maybe this manner of kitchen storage is some form of rebellion? (Or perhaps it was just one of those accidents, like breaking your ankle skiing in less-than-perfect conditions on Mt. Hood.) Hmm…

    In this instance, good thing you inherited the right-handed gene.

    Still love you anyway,
    Mom

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, Mom, you are right on all counts. Once I regained full consciousness I couldn’t believe how foolish I was! What was I thinking? As punishment I think I shouldn’t be allowed in back in the kitchen for a whole month. Which means your grandsons will have to take over all meal preparation and kitchen cleaning duties. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. ;-)

      1. Derrick Dymalski

        I’m suspicious that you did this just so Quinn and I will have to cook and clean for the next 10 days

  19. Cindy

    Wow! I’m impressed with those ninja blades…sounds like one of those “it slices,
    it dices” infomercials…

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, it reminds me of the SNL “Bass-o-matic” blender skit, in which the blender has blades so sharp you could puree a bass. Only in this case, the Ninja pureed my hand.

  20. missy

    Stacy, that is awful! My kids have been begging me to get a Ninja, not because they like smoothies, but because they like Ninjas. Now I have a nice cautionary tale as an excuse not to get one. Sorry this happened to you, even if it did make for a great post and you were very brave about it. I know for a fact I would have panicked. I got my tongue stuck in my braces once and it was not pretty.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Missy. Now I can honestly say that I’ve been attacked by a Ninja and I lived to tell about it. Let your boys know that and I bet I’ll be their new hero. (If you leave out the part about the Ninja being a blender. No need to get bogged down in details.)

  21. Amy

    I agree with Dee up above, only it actually makes sense for you to STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN INDEFINITELY. This emergency room adventure is proof that those boys need to wait on you hand and foot from now on, lest you be mortally wounded by an angry toaster or a coffee cup with a chip on its shoulder. Gosh, now that I think about it, I might do the same, now that you have demonstrated the risks…

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Yes, Amy, apparently now I’ve become the poster child for many of my mom friends as to why women need to stay out of the kitchen. No one ever got maimed by a take-out carton.

  22. Carolyn

    Great story. I just wish you could have posted live while you were enroute to the er. That misspelled word is french ….I think. Hey, did you actually try catching that blade? I think you did. I don’t think it just accidently fell into your hands. You tried to catch that damn thing, didn’t you? Do you have my number in case next time neither of the boys are home?

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      It’s amazing how fluent in “French” I’ve become the older I get. Those colorful words just seem to fly out of my month now at an alarming rate whenever I get frustrated–which seems to be often.

      Yes, actually, I did try to catch the blade when if fell because I didn’t want it to chip my hardwood floor! But at the last second I realized how dumb that was and couldn’t get out of the way quick enough. How did you know, Carolyn? That’s really funny that you brought that up.

      And yes, I do have all your numbers programmed into my phone. I should’ve just starting calling neighbors instead of try to drive myself, but I wasn’t thinking. You’re about the fifth neighbor who’s said, “Why didn’t you call me?” We have the coolest neighborhood!

  23. Claudia Kneller

    Hi Stacy,

    Glad to hear you are OK after juggling with Ninja blades. I knew you were a risk-taker with all the exciting things you do, but this event really set new standards for you. You really need not perform such extreme circus acts to keep your audience entertained, but I will say you just keep producing great blogs bits that keep us on the edge of our seats.

    My son, Eugene, who plays in Jazz Band with Quinn, loves hearing some of your stories from me. He has a new compassion for Quinn. Eugene thinks he would be so embarrassed if I wrote any of our family antics. He most certainly would, since I’m not a writer. Everyone might think that it was my son writing for me.

    Anyway, Stacy, I never leave comments on blogs that I read, but I decided to respond to yours today. Hope your hand heals quickly and thank you for sharing this funny (albeit, painful) story with us. Look forward to hearing more from your right hand as you heal. Better luck next time you make smoothies for Quinn or Derrick.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Hi Claudia,

      Yes! I know your son, Eugene! Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for leaving a comment. I would’ve responded sooner, but it’s been tough typing. I posted another blog after this, and although I have no pain while typing, my hand aches tremendously about an hour afterward. So I decided to cut back a little on the typing over the weekend. But it’s been a week today since the accident, so now my hand is feeling better.

      It’s funny that you say Eugene would be embarrassed if you wrote a blog. My kids take it all in stride, however, there are times when they do something they find embarrassing, but I think is funny, and the first thing they say is “Don’t blog about this!” And I don’t. So suffice it to say that the really good stuff never makes it to print. ;-)

      Thanks for your comment, Claudia! I hope you come back again.

  24. Phillip

    For future reference. When you must clean a glass “restaurant style” coffee pot, you put in some ice cubes and salt and swirl it around. You NEVER put your hand inside. Phillip

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Hey Phillip,

      Catching up on my comments. Even though it doesn’t hurt anymore to type, I’ve found that about an hour AFTER I quite typing my hand aches like hell. So I cut back on the typing over the weekend.

      But it’s been a week, so today I’m getting back to everyone.

      Just to be clear, Phillip. I didn’t stick my hand into a food processor, the food processor blade fell out of the container and then sliced my hand. Although, I have to admit, storing a sharp appliance high up in a cupboard is just as stupid sticking your hand into a food processor. Good lord, how have I made it this far?!

  25. Kimber

    Wow, I don’t usually comment although I read you blog all the time. :) Let me say – wow. Talk about something you didn’t need lol. You reacted the same way I probably would – wrap it up and try to keep going. It’s just a nick, right? Let me also say that I love your blog. You always make me laugh. Being a mom, with a teenage boy, I so appreciate so many of your stories. Thanks for your blog.

    1. Stacy Dymalski

      Thanks, Kimber! I appreciate your sympathy for my stupid accident (and your empathy for my actions afterward). But more importantly, thank you for your kind words about my blog! I’m so glad you enjoy it. And being that you have a teenage boy, you know EXACTLY what I’m going through right now. Keep checking back for more family adventures, and we’ll go through the crazy journey together. :-)

  26. Stacy Dymalski

    Thanks, guys, for the shout-out! It will be two weeks on Tuesday, and I still have stitches. Hope to get them out then (on Tuesday). As a follow-up, the food processor is now stored on the bottom shelf of a below-counter cabinet. Live and learn.

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