Accidents at home and are Surgery’s helping the NHS?

I’ve cut my thumb. Not a little slice, or a nick, but a swathing, deep gash. Indeed the whole distance again and I’d have lost the top of my thumb from the nail up. Yes, it was that bad.

I was busy slicing away some vegetables on Monday night ready for tea, and was slightly distracted while cutting – I shall pause afterwards for your laughs – a leek.

Yes, a leek. Happy now? Stopped? Then I shall continue the tale.

I cut into the thumb really deeply, and if I can get a photo I shall add it for all to see. At the time it was amazing the amount of blood that just started spurting forth, and I was shocked by the huge flap of skin that had lifted away from my thumb

No, not flap. Chunk. That’s a much better word to describe it. The sharpened chefs knife had dug right into the tip and had threatened to decapitate the poor digit.

It was only quick thinking that seems to have saved me too much discomfort, although not from me. I shouted. My girlfriend kept watching TV. I swore. Swore again. Then repeated a line of swear words. Only then did she shout through asking what was wrong.

Once quickly explained she shot off, managed to get a couple of plasters and shot back to find the blood flowing out of the open V. With a quick application of pressure and a sheet of recycled kitchen roll, I pressed the lump back in place, closing the gap. The first plaster fell to the wayside, it’s sticking area soaked in blood.

At this point I feel the need to step in and say I really am not joking. It was this bad.

One plaster went over quickly, pulling the edges of the gap together, then another went around the thumb, and it was pretty secure and very tight. A tiny gap was left above the nail where blood was quickly drying. This was a good sign.

For most of the evening I sat with my hand above my head, but still somehow managed to post to the MovieBlog – what a martyr! I even managed to sleep on my back all night with my hand on my chest, thumb above the heart. I awoke a few times but I think that was because I was about to move. Boy was my back uncomfortable in the morning

The morning was also the decision of whether to go to the Doctor or A&E. There was no more blood, and so we decided against it, not really remembering how deep it was.

That day I exploited the messy plasters to great affect, telling all the ladies around my desk about the near death experience and my heroic save. They either grimaced or laughed. Strangely none of them fell at my feet with offers of lurid acts.

My girlfriend went to the pharmacist that day and bought strip stitches, basically thin breathable 3M tape strips. So that evening I sat with my thumb in a bowl of water and watched it turn slowly brown, peeling off the plasters bit by bit. Uncomfortable, but by no means painful. I was very brave.

After a quick swab with an antisceptic wipe the strips were pulled tight across the wound and sealed the skin together, very effective indeed. We were surprised at the level of healing, the wound was not bleeding, seeping yes, but not bleeding and it had started to knit together already.

Later that day I started touching the top half of my thumb to see if there was any pain, and I discovered a patch where there’s no feeling at all. Bit of concern at that point, and yesterday I decided to call the Doctor Surgery and see if I could get it checked quickly.

I know that there is an open surgery from 13:30, but once I’m in town for work it’s difficult to get back out, so I thought I could nip in the morning, get the Nurse to look at it and give me her thoughts. After all, the Pharmacist at the Chemist offered to do just that if I popped in.

Now this is the bit that floored me. I asked about seeing the Doctor or the Nurse, the receptionist directed me to the open surgery straight away, so I pointed out it was difficult for me to get back out once I was in town working. I again asked about seeing the Nurse first thing in the morning, and she enquired as to the problem. I explained about the cut and the loss of feeling in a small portion and she put me on hold, obviously to talk to the Nurse.

You should go to A&E and they will take you through to the nurology department as well.
Surgery Receptionist

So that was without seeing anyone at the Surgery, just talking to the Receptionist relaying the words of the Nurse. I pointed out that I didn’t want to go in and waste their time, and she restated that I should go to A&E.

In the news every week we are told that the NHS is failing, they are struggling for beds and the Hospitals are overcrowded, understaffed and struggling. I’ve been in an A&E before a few times, and the most recent was a long drawn out process with most of the time sitting waiting for a Nurse, Doctor or transfer to another area.

So without being seen by my local Doctor or Nurse, they had referred me directly to A&E with a cut finger and loss of feeling in a small area. Not only that, I was going to tie up some specialist in the field of Nurology. I couldn’t believe it. I thought the first line of defense for the NHS would be the Nurse, then the Doctor, then the specialist, and only if it was an Accident or an Emergency, hence the name, should I go directly to the Hospital. It would take a few minutes for them to look at it and tell me what they think.

I’m already considering changing Surgery, and in the meantime I’m going to see the local Pharmacist for their advice. This I will receive over the counter in a matter of a minute or two. Perhaps this should be how I deal with more problems and bypass the NHS totally until I am in need of critical care.

The thumb? Well it’s healing well, although even this morning the wound opens up when the stitches are off, but it is closing more and more each day. The scar is going to be huge. It extends from the top of my short nail, about 30mm from the tip, right round to the pad of the thumb and slicing into the thumb about 50mm.

At the moment it’s a great no dishwashing excuse!

3 comments on “Accidents at home and are Surgery’s helping the NHS?”

  1. The Girlfriend Reply

    I would just like to point out that obviously, due to the level of blood loss and immminent shock which was setting in – Richard is inanccurate in his recollection of my precise activities at the time of the incident. I was, in fact, in the process of getting changed and attended to the emergency situation in a topless state! As Richard may recall, he did actually go and get me a tee shirt whilst I continued preparing the aforementioned Leek once the bleding had subsided.

  2. Andy Jones Reply

    So, having phoned your GP and described how you nearly sliced the tip of your thumb off and are complaining about loss of feeling you are shocked that the GP staff had the cheek to advise a trip to A&E?

    I think they did exactly the right thing. Either your thumb will heal on its own or needs stitches and possibly surgery to restore the feeling. In either case your GP wouldn’t be able to help.

    Sounds to me like you were loath to sit in A&E for a couple of hours only to be told its fine and were looking to save some time…

  3. Richard Reply

    Actually no, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that’s what I had told the receptionist.

    What I actually said to them was that I had cut into my finger a few days ago, it was healing but that in a tiny bit I’d lost feeling. I’m not one to overplay illness in real life.

    I was loathed to go and sit in A&E and take up the valuable resources that I am continually being told by this Government that I am wasting. That was especially the feeling after I had talked to the receptionist.

    How were they to know which way I was playing it, either under or over egging the story? I can only see the fact that the receptionist turned to the Nurse to talk to her for a few seconds and told me to go to A&E, at no point did they suggest, as I had asked for, that I come by the Surgery first thing for the Nurse to see and let me know what I should do without a telephone diagnosis through the Receptionist.

    However, I can easily get this service from the Pharmacist in Boots Chemist, so why would I want to go and see a Nurse anymore?

    I had thought the Doctors and Nurses of your Surgery were the personal and front line for Health care, but more and more they are diverting cases to the Hospitals and specialists without giving any opinion.

    I guess I’m more heavily clouded by the experiences of my Mother and her attempts to get some decent health care. Her surgery have failed her totally and offer her no solution to her ongoing problems. The Hospital have helped, but tests show nothing more. Private health care has gone even further to help her. However in the end Internet research has shown possibilities and her suggestions to the Doctors have resulted in the course of action she found on the Internet being prescribed.

    I’m ranting now! Breath.

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