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....


  1. Oh, ow. Yes, I know about copays. I haven't heard from the doctor or the hospital, but I'm sure it will be in the $200.00 range or more between the two of them. I'm so glad it has healed. I'm finally reading your book that I meant to read months ago and then was dragged into promising reviews. I'm still waiting on a couple of them to fulfill their part.

  2. Oh My Goodness !
    No No No No.
    Happy it is now better.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles.

  3. Thanks, guys--yep, it healed really well. Now, I can't even see where the incision was made. No pain, nothing. The ER doc really knew what he was doing.

  4. Something how your primary doctor went way over board on how serious it was.
    Glad you're finger is back in flipping order again!

  5. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! It may not have caused pain, but it looks ouchy!

    Listen to your doctor!

  6. If I lost my right hand, I'd have to get a helper monkey to do everything from brushing my teeth to wiping my bottom. I'm glad your experience went well.

  7. Lorelei--I think she was deliberately trying to scare me because she knew I might not go to the ER.

    William--It looked disgusting!

  8. I had a pus laden thumb once. It hurt. A lot. (It was white though, not festive green.) Anyway, my doctor told me I ought to go to the hospital as I might need intravenous anti biotic or something. I asked him why he couldn't just treat me since I was there. I got the impression that he didn't want to do any icky stuff; as though it were beneath him.

    Eventually, a nurse intervened and suggested he simply squeeze the pus out. He finally did. I was given some oral medication and the thumb fully recovered. I can't even remember which thumb it was!

    You gotta wonder why some primary care doctors freak out over pus.

    1. Don't get me wrong--I think my primary care doc is great--if it weren't for her, God only knows how long it would have taken me to find out I'd had a stroke! But she thinks I don't take some matters seriously enough, so she uses scare tactics to get me to do things. The ER doc did prescribe oral antibiotics, but it was no big deal.

      One thing I don't like about healthcare in general is the tendency of PCPs to refer patients to a specialist for just about everything. My previous PCP, who treated my whole family for years (he's retired now), rarely sent any of us to specialists. My parents had a cardiologist, but Dr. Z. did everything else himself. It was less expensive and less time consuming.

  9. Don't take chances with infections! This time it turned out okay but it could have been much worse. I'm glad you had insurance, too, even if you are still out $150. If we had universal healthcare like some other enlightened countries, we'd all be better off in the long run!

    Glad you're getting back to normal. I was getting quite worried about you for a while!

    1. Thank you for caring, Cheryl!

      We won't have universal healthcare or much of anything else until we get Trumpzilla and his fellow GOP freaks out of control of our government.

    2. Norma.... please do not use Godzilla name in vain or the zilla part.
      I am mamazilla or mamajilla to all my family and friends in Japan.
      Godzilla did not know he was destroying all the buildings and electrical lines when he crushed the cities. he was like a puppy who didn't know what stuff was.
      Trump knows what he is doing and doesn't care !

    3. That's true. My apologies to Godzilla!

  10. Oh my! That's no way to spend Christmas Norma 😊 It's so awkward when there's something wrong with our extremities, gets in the way of everything we do. I almost cut the tip off my finger, wasn't fun at all 😀 Sending you best wishes for a 2018 filled with love and happiness 🎊🎇🎆🎉

    1. Thank you, Grace! I wish the same for you.

      It was awkward, being the middle finger on my right hand. I even had trouble typing on my phone.


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