Home > Bitching, Disturbing, My Brother, New York, Stupidity > The Time I Stabbed Myself (Part 2)

The Time I Stabbed Myself (Part 2)

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

(Note: This post is a continuation from this one.)

Though the bleeding had stopped, I still had a gash in my palm an inch wide and about half an inch deep. I didn’t go get stitches since I didn’t have decent insurance at the time, and I held the wound together with butterfly band-aids. My dad located a hand surgeon in NYC that took my shitty insurance, and when I went for a visit, he confirmed what I had suspected. I had cut a nerve, specifically one of the nerves below the 4th finger of my right hand. This resulted in numbness of the right side of my 4th finger and part of my palm. The doctor thought that microscopic surgery would be necessary, and scheduled me for a week later.

Until then, I was told to wear a hard brace on my hand and arm, and to never lower my hand below the level of my heart. The brace itself was, of course, not covered by insurance. And having to hold my hand up in a fist at all times made me look either like an overeager student, or someone professing white power. Neither of which particularly appealed to me, especially since I lived in Harlem at the time.

The day of the surgery finally arrived, and I would have to pay up the copay of $1000 immediately in order to meet my insurance deductible. See kids, this is why you should save up money for these kinds of circumstances. Unfortunately, I had been unemployed for about 8 months, and so was up shit creek without a paddle. Luckily my parents took pity on me, and footed the bill.

My aunt waited patiently in the waiting room while I was taken into the back, and given a shitty white robe to hide my nakedness. However, I also got some sweet socks with built-in traction, which I later stole and still wear. After an awkward time in the pre-surgery waiting room with my hand still high up in the air, I was taken to a bed where I could “make myself comfortable.” I was so jacked up with nerves at this point that I was nearly beside myself, and I didn’t even have a magazine to keep me occupied.

I’m the kind of person that required a Valium prescription before my wisdom tooth extraction, so the thought of a real honest-to-God surgery terrified me. I sat upright in my hospital bed, shaking and feeling very nauseous indeed. Nurses and doctors drifted by, asking me the same few questions over and over again, and drawing symbols on my right arm to indicate where the surgeon should be cutting. This did little to assure me. If the surgeon needed a road map written in Sharpie in order to perform the surgery, I wanted nothing to do with him. I requested to talk with the anesthesiologist, hoping he could give me some comfort in the form of copious drugs. He was happy to oblige.

Before going under the knife, he made sure I was pumped with enough IV Valium to down a horse.

But before that, I had to brave entering the surgical suite itself. It was a smallish room with about half a dozen people huddled around a cross. Yes, a cross. For hand surgery, I would need to lay myself on a cross-shaped table and lie still while nurses strapped me down in four-point restraints. Lovely. The surgical lights were incredibly bright above me, and my eyes rolled around with fear as the straps were tightened. Thus immobilized, the anesthesiologist finally stuck in my Valium IV, and suddenly things weren’t so scary anymore. Lastly, a heavy clamp was applied to my right arm to keep it from jerking around while the surgeon sewed stitches on a nerve thinner than a strand of hair. He would need light, a microscope, and absolute stillness from me to perform this task.

Some stuff to put me to sleep was pumped into my IV, and before I could count to five, I was out. I woke up twice during the procedure, and squeaked at the anesthesiologist to give me more juice. I couldn’t feel a thing since the surgeon had performed a digital block on my right wrist, instantly turning my entire hand numb, but it was still unnerving to wake up during surgery. Both times I was out again almost immediately, then was finally wheeled to the recovery room after all the stitches were complete.

While coming to in the recovery room, I remember being so cold that I thought I would never be warm again. I shivered uncontrollably, and a nurse threw a few blankets on me, which I promptly shivered right off my body. My aunt was there to make sure I was okay, and in my loopy state I started to tell her the real story of my wound. The butterfly knife fiasco was laid bare, but she evidently just thought I was talking nonsense, so my secret was still safe.

I spent the next week at my aunt and uncle’s house recovering since I couldn’t do much of anything with my right arm. The entire thing was encased in a cast, then propped up in a foam “L” shape to keep it from going below the level of my heart (again). If I put my hand below my heart, the swelling could pop the microscopic stitches right off the nerve sheath, so it was imperative that I once again hold my hand above my head for another two weeks. I ate with the massive foam “L”, watched TV with it, and slept with it. It was my constant bulky companion. My aunt and uncle were incredibly kind and accommodating, but I still wanted nothing more than to tear the cast off.

Eventually I headed back to Harlem, cast and “L” in tow, and walked through the streets with my fist hovering right around the level of my eyes. I was stopped more often than I have ever been in my life, with everyone wanting to give me a bit of advice. “Don’t go punching walls, he’s not worth it!” said one woman. Most people assumed that I had broken my hand by punching a wall in anger, and several people told me to either punch something softer, or at least wear a glove or something. Er, thanks?

Later that week, a teenager working the counter at a CVS on Lenox asked me what happened, and I decided that the truth was just too embarrassing. So why not at least make myself sound like a badass? “Oh, I got stabbed,” I said as casually as possible. His eyes widened, and for a moment, I felt almost cool. Well, until I realized I had lied to a random kid just to make myself feel better. Yes, I had been stabbed, but by myself. I slunk home in shame.

It’s been over a year since the surgery, but I still don’t have full feeling in my right-hand ring finger. The right side is still mostly numb, but I can live with it. Though wearing a ring there feels really bizarre, like I’ve just hit my funny bone or something, so, er, just don’t ask me to get engaged, okay?

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  1. Kacey
    November 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Your stories just get better and better. Really enjoyed this one.

  2. September 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    This sort of tomfoolery is what lead my brother to have what he still refers to as “MY TENDON FINGER!” (because he had to have a tendon removed from his leg and put into his hand so he could bend the finger again)

    • September 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Oh, wow. Luckily I missed the tendon. Can he still move his leg normally? Did he stab himself, too?

      • September 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

        He started with an accidental stab and it turned into a cutting. Accidentally. Cuz he’s dumb.
        He can totally move his leg. I guess there are extra tendons in your butt or thigh or someplace and they just took one of those.
        It would have been funnier, though, had he gone from a non-useable hand to a gimpy leg.

  3. Xxtha1nonlyxx
    August 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Engagement rings go on the left hand? Lol loving this blog though

  1. June 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

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