One year ago today, I cut my thumb off with a miter saw.
Yes, you read that right. OFF. Not a scratch. Not down to the bone. Gone. Buh-bye.
Around 9am I went outside to cut some wood. I had a HUGE craft fair coming up in two weeks. I had invested at least $5k into it at this point, and I had my friend flying out from Washington state to do the fair with me. I had been a machine for weeks doing prep, and I still had a long way to go. My 2 year old was outside with me playing while I cut wood. As I made one particular cut, my hand shifted to hold down the long piece. Before I knew it, my hand slipped and I saw a huuuuge squirt of blood. INSTANTLY, I knew something went seriously wrong. I looked down at my left hand, and imagine my horror when I saw my thumb was GONE.
Immediately, the shock set in, and all I could do was SCREAM a certain four letter word over, over, and OVER again. This is definitely not an every day occurrence for me, so when my 2 year old paid NO attention to me, it was somewhat relieving. As soon as the adrenaline set in, I wrapped my hand up in my shirt, trying to put pressure on the bleeding. (but I soon realized not to squeeze too hard because I could feel small bone fragments crunching – absolutely horrifying!)
I knew I needed to get to the hospital ASAP, but I was home alone with my daughter, and didn’t think they would let her ride in the ambulance with me, (FUN FACT: They would have, but I had clearly not been in this situation before!) so I called my close friend to have her give me a ride. She didn’t answer. I panicked. I called my neighbor, but she was at work. Thankfully, she said she would call around the neighborhood and get me a ride. I hung up and called my husband at work. He works on base (which is 45 minutes to an hour away or I would have called him sooner!) and said, “I cut my thumb off!” in a crazy panic. He replied, “How much?” It’s like he thinks I’m dramatic! Haha! I remember screaming, “IT’S GONE!” Always calm and in control, he replied, “I’m on my way.”
Adrenaline was really kicking in, because I knew I needed to get my thumb on ice. I ran inside and put a bunch of ice in a ziploc, and hurried outside to look for my thumb. Thankfully it was still on the table, and I picked it up and put it in the bag. (Now THAT’S a weird feeling.)
I ran inside to the laundry room, set my thumb on the dryer, and found a clean kitchen towel to wrap my hand in. My neighbor called and told me that another neighbor was on his way to pick me up. I hurried to my daughter to tell her to get her shoes on, and soon realized, she had the soggiest pee diaper. I knew the instant she sat in her car seat, it would soak through, and I had never met this male neighbor coming to give me a ride. In true mom fashion, I knew I had to change her diaper before we left. Adrenaline is a pretty crazy thing, because I was able to get it done with one hand. I knew my neighbor would be there any moment, so I grabbed her shoes and car seat, but quickly realized… I couldn’t find my thumb.
It’s pretty hilarious to think about now, but understandably so, I was in a pure PANIC. I ran around the house trying to remember where I put it, for what felt like, forever.
I retraced my steps, and found the baggy on top of the dryer. Thanking God, I grabbed it, my daughter, and her car seat, and ran out to the curb. My neighbor, Ben, pulled up shortly after and quickly loaded my daughter, Scarlett, into the car. I learned that he was newly retired from the military, and had two kids of his own. He was SO kind about trying to keep my mind calm, and when we got to the ER, he told me to go inside, and he would wait with Scarlett in the waiting room until my husband got there.
My husband is really smart, and called ahead to the ER to let them know I was on my way (and what happened). I am so grateful for that, because by the time I walked in, (with my finger in hand) the receptionist saw me and immediately got me into a wheelchair and taken back. Some wonderful human gave me a nerve block, and right away the intense, buzzing pain (and adrenaline) started to subside. THANK GOODNESS!!!!!
After my husband got there, and some x-rays, the doctors decided they didn’t feel comfortable re-attaching it, so they sent me up to Duke. I had to ride in an ambulance for 1 1/2 hours to get there! (Thank goooooooooodness for amazing insurance!) I was pretty drugged at that point, and that is when the jokes began.
My memory starts to fade at that point, but shortly after arriving, my surgeon reattached my thumb, and I spent a couple nights in the hospital (heavily drugged). The day after going home, it was pretty clear that the tip of my thumb was dying. A few days later it had completely died, so they had to take off the reattached thumb. 🙁
Sooooo many tears, and that isn’t even where the story ends! I will share another post about the THREE reconstructive surgeries I went through after that, but it is A LOT of information that I can share another time! 😉
Below are some pictures of the accident and thumb reattachment. If you are super queasy, I REALLY don’t recommend scrolling any further! (A lot of people are too shy to ask for pictures, but I am always happy to share my experience, so I’m offering them freely! Haha!)
I finally got the courage to take a look at my hand after the nerve block at the hospital!
In the ambulance on my way up to Duke!
My poor thumb just chillin’ in my lap!
All drugged up the day after. That was one HUUUGE cast!
After surgery. I call this massive swollen mess “Jabba the Hut”
At home when you could see the thumb starting to die. 🙁