Exit Wound

NOTE: I’m making nice and decided to draw my thumb rather than show you the actual picture. It was too painful and I want to spare you (and me) the opportunity to live (me – relive) the experience over and over again.

I got a whim and decided in MAY to make the children fourth of July outfits. I figured buying the fabric in May would give me enough time to make and finish everything without any stress. I didn’t want to be cutting strings minutes before walking out of the door like I did when I made River’s costume and Lily’s crown for the Harvest Festival last year.

My original plans were to make the boys white shorts. As I sat, last Thursday, only days before July 4, deciding whether or not to start my sewing project which should have been started earlier in, let’s say in May, I began wondering about my state of mind. What mother of boys would make and/or buy young boys a pair of white shorts to wear anywhere? I would even hesitate before buying a pair of white shorts for Lily let alone a dress, but would buy white for her before the boys.

I decided to forgo the shorts and then because there were just a few days looming ahead, I also decided to put the whole project aside. I had a list of other more pressing things to do and I just wasn’t feeling it. So, the project was put up until the following morning, Friday (less than two days away from the 4th), when I woke up with a second/third/fourth wind and decided I was going to go for it.

Jump to Saturday morning at approximately 3:57am; yes I was still awake sewing. Minutes before I was to shut down and go to bed I feel an extremely sharp, unimaginable, unbearable, want to die right now kind of pain in my left thumb. I rip my thumb from the sewing machine and with it, I bring one half of the sewing machine needle which is now embedded in my thumb. It was not sticking through to the other side. It was also not sticking through where I could easily pull it out even if I’d had the stomach for it, but it was embedded sideways in my thumb. I couldn’t actually see the needle because it was covered by my flesh, but I could sure feel the throbbing pain.

I woke Darling D up in a panic. I kept asking him if he thought the needle was in my thumb and he continued to answer me, “I don’t know,” but I think that is just the answer you give your panic stricken wife at 4am in the morning. We quickly decided I needed to go to the emergency room in town.

Think small town and you’ve got a small town emergency room. After waiting quite a while, longer than I thought because I was the only patient in there, the ER doctor finally came in apparently recovering from a “little” nap that left her slightly comatose, walking, and able to talk to me. I have no problem with that, but I knew I didn’t want her attempting anything on my finger if she was half awake. After twisting and turning (and squeezing my already painful hand) and looking at my X-rays, she decided there was nothing she could do for me and that I was going to have to drive to care at least one hour away. She said, “I’m just an ER doctor and you may need surgery.” Well, at least she knew her limits.

I drove to the next major city, admitted myself to a REAL emergency room, and got service from, not an ER doctor, but an ER PA. I’ve had the best experiences with PA’s. He took a look at my thumb, left the room, and returned, within minutes, with a plan that would not only save my thumbnail, but also not require any surgery (at least not the sedate and unconscious kind). That worked for me.

He numbed my thumb and we waited for the drugs to take affect because my body takes a lot to settle down. With drill in hand, he created a point of exit for the needle that was already slightly sticking through the nail on the other side (point of exit on picture) and made an opening so he could pull it on through. I didn’t watch, but could smell the burning of the nail and also hear the scraping as he made way to pull the tip of the needle through. Before I knew it, he was done.

All the while, I kept thinking about what I wasn’t going to be able to do because of my injured thumb. Of course, I’d already decided I wasn’t going to finish the fourth of July outfits. I mean, how could I? I was sure all of the painful memories would come rushing through and oh, the pain!

Well, once the foreign object was out of my thumb, the pain subsided, and I was back to normal. Life was good and that same second/third/fourth wind that got me into this mess in the first place returned.

After sleeping off some really totally awesome pain medication that sent me into a wonderful sleep for hours, I was ready to get back to work. I finished everything by early Sunday morning, just in time to iron the outfits for the children to get dressed for church.

I was so sleep deprived, but also glad I pushed on through this experience. I was NOT going to finish the outfits. Do you know almost every woman nurse or assistant I came in contact with told me they’d sewn through their finger(s) several times. Yes, mine was a little more severe, but it is all part of the sewing experience and one you usually recover from as I am now. After all of my years of sewing, I have never had an injury other than stepping on a few pins and needles.

I learned a few lessons:

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Don’t sew when you’re tired.
  • Start sewing projects with proper amount of time to finish. Start months in advance if you can.
  • DON’T PRESS THE FOOT PEDAL UNTIL YOU’RE READY (EYES ON THE NEEDLE) TO SEW.
  • Don’t waste your time going to the ER in your small town for major emergencies. If you can, head to the “big city,” because you’ll end up there anyway.
  • Well, thank God I’m okay. I am already planning to start working on their costumes for the Harvest Festival and Christmas outfits are also on my mind. You won’t catch me up at 4am well, maybe at 3am working on anymore sewing projects.

    Oh yeah, here are the children in their outfits.

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    3 Responses to “Exit Wound”


    • Comment from Aunt Moggie

      Dear Mommy,
      I will remember the advice – don’t sew when you are tired, don’t press the footpedal . . eyes on the needle, when I get ready to shorten hems in my skirts. This is about the extent of my sewing. I’m happy you didn’t show your actual thumb. Reading about the “surgery” and then returning to the drawing ws graphic enough.
      What is the harvest festival – celebration of the fall and its bountiful fruits and vegetables?

    • Comment from Rana

      Jennifer,
      I can’t believe you got it in there sideways. My mom has done that too. I will learn from your lessons and definitely not sew while sleepy and keep and eye on the peddle and needle. Glad you are okay. Drugs are a wonderful thing. :)

    • Comment from Briana

      Oh, no! I’m so sorry that happened to your thumb! There outfits turned out really cute. You were so brave to face the sewing machine again after that!

      I’m stopping by your blog from Heidi and Brenda’s blogwalk Tuesday. It’s nice to meet you.


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