Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Murphy's Law, Christmas Edition

I'm back, just in case anyone noticed I was gone.

I haven't been around much lately, and discovered I was about two weeks behind on blog comments--so if I haven't left a comment on anyone's post, I apologize. I'm still playing catch-up.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an appointment with my primary care doctor--just a routine check-up. I had an ingrown fingernail that was bugging me, but I didn't think it was any big deal, so I didn't mention it to Dr. B.  Big mistake. That was on a Friday. By Sunday, there was swelling and a pocket of pus on the side of my fingertip. It wasn't painful and I had no fever, so on Monday morning, I emailed Dr. B. a photo of it and asked if I could just poke it with a sterilized needle and drain it. Her response: absolutely not! She wanted to see me that afternoon. I persuaded her to wait until Tuesday so Collin could go with me.

Gross, isn't it? And I wanted Collin to
do a video of the....uh, cutting....


When I saw her on Tuesday, she read me the riot act. She told me she couldn't treat it herself, that it would require a hand surgeon. Surgeon? Just what was she thinking? She said there was an infection, that it would require an incision to drain the pus and could cost me the fingertip or the whole finger. Maybe even the whole hand. Whoa! I'm right-handed and my left hand is rarely very cooperative. Nobody was cutting my hand off!

The hand surgeon, as it turned out, was triple-booked and couldn't see me that day, so Dr. B. insisted I go to the emergency room at St. Mary's across the street. Oh, great, I thought. An entire afternoon and maybe the evening as well, stuck in the ER waiting room? I almost didn't go.

As it turned out, the waiting room in the ER was nearly deserted. I was taken in immediately and seen by a doctor who, as it happened, had considerable experience in this sort of thing. He patiently explained the problem to me in medical jargon, describing what was building up in my finger.

"Pus," I concluded.

He nodded. "Pus."

He said he would anesthetize my finger, which would take about fifteen minutes. It would take two minutes max to drain it, then it would be bandaged. I asked if it would need stitches. He assured me it would not. It had to drain, after all. I felt a slight sting when he administered the anesthetic, but nothing after that, not even when he made the incision. He had me rest my arm on the arm of the chair, then covered it with a small cloth with a hole in it for my finger, similar to those used in operating rooms.

"Raise your finger," he told me, "like you're flipping me off."

I grimaced. "I think that's what got me into this mess." Is it possible to have an overworked flipping finger?

It was over in no time. The bandage made it look worse than it really was--like a mummy finger puppet. Collin and I left the ER in time to go to lunch, puck up some groceries and still get home by three that afternoon.

Now, it's healed and looks as if nothing ever happened. I think the most painful part was that $150 copay. Even with insurance, with my deductibles and out-of-pocket minimums met, it was still $150? Boy, am I glad we had insurance....