This was among the many questions the ER admitting nurse asked me this afternoon. I just looked at her and laughed and said, “Absolutely, though maybe I shouldn’t, since I was, in fact, at home when I put this nasty gash in my forearm with a utility knife while cutting a plastic downspout extender.” She said, “Let’s take a look at this bad boy.” Upon removing the skanky paper towel I had been using to cover it up, she said, “Oooookay, we won’t be taking your blood pressure on THIS arm!”
Two hours later I have five stitches in my left forearm and a requirement to see a hand specialist as early as possible next week. The scoop: the ER folks don’t think I’ve damaged any tendons, but they want the hand specialist to take a look to be completely sure. For now, I’m on a two week course of antibiotics, I have a brand new tetanus shot that I elected to have in the same arm that I cut, and my left arm is splinted and wrapped from fingertip to elbow.
The ER folks who poked around in the wound in my arm, putting me though all sorts of finger movement tests, kept telling me how lucky I was because I didn’t appear to have done any damage to the tendons. But after spending 2 hours in the emergency room, I had already been feeling pretty lucky. I kept looking around thinking, “Ew, glad I’m not THAT guy.” One could argue that if I were really lucky, I wouldn’t have cut myself. So maybe my primary luck isn’t that great, but my secondary luck is awesome.
But you know what? I’d put even my primary luck up against anyone’s. I’ve spent a significant amount of time this week in four of life’s great levelers: prison (for volunteer work, so it wasn’t nearly as leveling as if I were actually serving time), public transportation, the local motor vehicles office, and, today, the emergency room. I’ve had more than enough glimpses of how much worse my life would be if I weren’t so lucky.
Do I feel safe at home? Yes, I do and I count my blessings every day for that.