Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Phone Call

When something happens, do you ever go back and replay scenes in your mind and wish you could re-enter the scene and make some small change to prevent the something that happened?

I do. All the time. And yes, I've seen The Butterfly Effect. But I do it anyway.

Last night, my dad wanted me to come over as he had something to show me. When I got there, my brother was also there, borrowing my dad's saw. He's building a playground for Baby Boy's birthday present. "I was going to just go ahead and buy the pre-cut kit, but I priced them and it was $1000 for what I wanted to build and I can get the materials for it for just $300!" he exclaimed.

Wish he could go back and rethink that decision. Believe me, the kit would have been well worth the extra $700.

It really staggers the mind how life can change in a moment. Mat Kearney has a song out right now which has made me think of that each time I hear it, and think of the people for whom this has come true. "I guess we're just one phone call from our knees..." he sings.

I got one of those phone calls this afternoon. The totally unexpected kind that sends you into shock. It could have been a much worse phone call than it was -- but it was bad enough as it was.

My sister-in-law called. I had just talked to her an hour or so before, discussing potential gift ideas for Baby Boy's birthday, so I thought perhaps she had new information or ideas to share about that.

Instead, she said in the grimmest voice I have ever heard from her as she's one of the most optimistic cheerful people ever, "Can you come get Baby Boy? We're at the emergency room. Your brother cut off his finger."


I told her I'd be there as quickly as I could get there, and dashed out the door as waves of sickness washed over me. He cut off his FINGER. I know there are many many worse things that could happen to a person, but right now, cutting off a finger seems pretty bad!!

The emergency room experience was less than ideal. I hurried there as fast as I could drive amidst all the weekend traffic, parked the car, and dashed in frantically. I know panic was written all over my face, and after glancing around the waiting room and not seeing them, I ran up to the nurses' station. Four or five nurses were sitting there chatting with each other, and didn't even ask me what I needed!!

Now they didn't know who I was or why I was there. Someone runs into the emergency room with a look of panic and the nurses just ignore them? For all they knew, I was having a heart attack or something, or had someone dying out in my car that I needed help to bring in! And they just ignore me.

The security guard asked me if he could help me, and just then my sister-in-law came out with Baby Boy, handed him to me, said the side door was unlocked and she left chili cooking and could I please turn it off, and dashed off again.

I later learned that she had dropped my brother off at the entrance so he could run in and get help while she parked and got Baby Boy out of the car, and the same thing happened to him. He had to yell, "I CUT MY FINGER OFF!" to even get the nurses to look at him, and then, do you know what they said?

"You'll need to sign in."

Yeah. They really said that.

The security guard gave a disgusted look and said, "Give me the pen, I'LL sign him in!" He must be used to them...

Then they made him stand there, holding his hand wrapped in paper towels from home, mind you... and answer all sorts of ridiculous questions such as, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how much pain are you experiencing right now?"

When they took him back, they told him to lie down on the hospital bed, and they handed him some gauze. That was it. He lay there for two hours -- and had to put on the gauze himself!

When the orthopedic surgeon arrived, after examining and doing X-rays, he said he was going to stitch it up for now -- because apparently they don't do surgery on the weekends... -- and then he'd need to call Monday morning to see when they could fit him in. He then said, "Now I'm going to clean up the wound, just like they did earlier, and then stitch it together..." and my brother said, "They didn't clean it..."

The doctor was appalled. "They didn't clean it!?" he asked.

No. He sat there for hours with a piece of gauze, with all the dirt and germs and who knows what else right there in the wound.

So he cleaned it and sewed it back together and we'll see what happens. They don't know yet whether or not the finger can be saved. He'll have to have at least two surgeries, and maybe more -- a pin put in to hold the bone together until it grows back, the tendons repaired, skin grafting... There was some dead tissue (I can't help but wonder if that was due to lack of immediate treatment!) and he said it would depend on whether the rest of the tissue around it died as well, in which case he would lose the finger, or whether it was okay, in which case he felt they could save it and he could regain use of it except for some numbness and tingling which would be permanent. So we'll see what the next few days holds.

I am still in shock, I think. I surely do hope they can save it. I'd hate for him to have to tell his son, "Well, at least your playground didn't cost me an arm and a leg -- just a finger."


Carolyn F said...

I'll add your brother & all of your family to my prayers.

Prairie Rose said...

Thanks, Carolyn! Surgery is later this afternoon so hopefully we'll soon know whether or not they're going to be able to save it.

Prairie Rose said...

They didn't do the surgery yet. Scheduled it for first thing in the morning. But the dr says there's an 80% chance they can save it and it will be functional. More tomorrow. :)

Laura said...

I'm just reading this and said a quick prayer! How is he??

Prairie Rose said...

He's okay. Had the surgery yesterday morning, took three hours. They won't know anything for sure for awhile, they have to see how things grow back together and heal. He acts like it's no big deal!!!! SHEESH.