3 Stitches and 3 Plastic Cards Fixed Tom’s Thumb


To be sure, there’s nothing quite like that first cup of freshly brewed, morning joe… especially right after opening the coffee can for the very first time. While there’s no better way to “wash down” one’s tasty breakfast, one must never lose sight of the hidden dangers.

Dangers? DANGERS??? Really? How so?

Well, you see, I’d been rushing through this morning’s kitchen cleanup ritual when, while disposing the coffee can’s round, metal, razor sharp “inner quality seal”, I wound up wounding my right thumb.

Immediately rushing off to the bathroom, I packed off my booboo with a “ton” of gauze. However, upon noticing how my blood was rapidly soaking through, I went racing back for the kitchen ISO a sandwich sized Ziploc™ bag to fully encase all of that “pretty” red gauze. Needless to say, my injury warranted a trip to my local Urgent Care facility.

My last visit there had been for a work related injury ten years prior… so… I could take some solace in knowing that medical attention was mere minutes away and well within walking distance from my home. Since, initially, I believed my slightly panicked frame of mind might make for unsafe driving, and calling an ambulance for such an injury was unwarranted, my opting to proceed there on foot actually seemed to make the most sense. Or, perhaps, I was not making ANY sense due to all of that blood loss?

Well, I was just about to engage my front door’s deadbolt lock when that nagging little voice inside my head yelled out, “HEY, wait a sec!” Vague recollections of a recent, Urgent Care, snail mailed item now came to mind. As it turns out, I had saved myself a useless trip.

Their new digs, indeed, were now much farther away. Noticing that postcards’ 2015 postmark, I decided to phone ahead. For all I knew they might’ve been more mobile than a warzone MASH unit.

The good news: They had not “bugged out”.

The bad news: I would now need to drive there.

The good news: My familiarity with locale and route coupled with how, for the moment, I was not bleeding to death.

It was now time to give myself that “calm down, don’t wimp out, you can do this” pep talk. In short I successfully made the transformation from walking wounded Tom to driving safely Tom.

But, even my best mind over matter tactics could not compensate for everything. I couldn’t help but instantly notice something most of us so easily take for granted… i.e., how turning the key in my garage door lock and in my car’s ignition all required the use of my opposable, wounded thumb. In such situations, one certainly does feel an even greater empathy and admiration for folks who must deal, daily, with chronic disabilities.

And so… I drove off. It being post morning rush hour, I found traffic to be light.

Upon my arrival, I checked in with the Urgent Care receptionist who was repeatedly apologetic. She was sensitive to the fact that she was asking me to fill out forms while I was barely able to hold onto the pen. But, once I committed my wound ruined, horrific penmanship to paper, the other medical professionals rapidly took over.

They checked out my vitals… temperature, pulse and blood pressure. The attending physician then visually assessed everything, injected a painkiller and sutured my lacerated thumb (3 stitches). Seeing how my last Tetanus shot was ten years ago (which by pure coincidence is the “life expectancy” of such injections), that inoculation was also part of this day’s treatment.

3 stitches, 3 plastic cards (DL, BCBS & VISA), a $30 copay and 30 minutes later… I was out the door and back on the road / on the road to recovery… but not before stopping off at a nearby drugstore to replenish my sorely lacking home stash of gauze, bandages and Neosporin™ ointment.

SIDEBAR: I now remind my readers to make damned sure your First Aid Kits are well stocked and medications are not past their expiration dates. Also ensure your inoculations (e.g. Tetanus) are up to date. Lastly, always be extra careful when handling hidden kitchen hazards, e.g., coffee cans.

Now, as much as I really do respect the medical community, this Thomas’s Doubting Thomas nature did force me to consider how some of my doctor’s medical evaluations / recommendations might’ve been under the influence of Big Pharma.

e.g. #1: Even though my injury’s pain is only minor, Doc had been way too quick to recommend Vicodin™!

e.g. #2: My doctor’s concerns over my borderline hypertensive reading are likely unfounded. Even I, as a layperson, could easily spot how far too many of the recommended procedures for accurately assessing blood pressure had not been observed! And incorrect diagnoses oft lead to needless prescriptions for BP lowering meds.

INDEED… my slightly high BP reading was very likely caused by the very caffeine found in those two cups of coffee I had enjoyed at my breakfast table!