Incisive neighbor: “Wow the ER is nothing like on TV.”

Doctor: “Yeah, we’re not all good-looking, and nobody’s having sex in the closet.”

That exchange took place while I was sitting on the ER bed, waiting for a tetanus shot and anticipating stitches. It was the first time I’d had stitches (not including surgeries), so I asked the doctor if I could watch. I managed to watch for a couple of stitches, but then the combination of my cut-open finger, the blood, and the needle going through my skin became just too much to bear.

So what the hell happened? It happened so fast, I couldn’t tell you. I was shaking a bottle of salad dressing, it slipped out of my hand, I tried to catch it. Next thing I knew, I felt some pain. I looked at my hand and saw a cut. Then it started bleeding. A lot. I’m proud to report that I had the presence of mind to put a towel and some pressure on my finger, and to turn off the oven and take the food out. I thought I’d wait a second to see if the bleeding would stop, but when I removed the towel, the depth of the cut freaked me out. I knew I would need stitches.

I knocked on my neighbor’s door and she walked with me to the firehouse. The guys were happy for a diversion, but they wouldn’t stitch me. They gauzed me up and offered an ambulance. Instead of sirens and melodrama, I let my neighbor drive me (in my car; of course the one neighbor who was home doesn’t own a car and hasn’t driven a stick-shift in a long time) to the ER. Luckily, Tuesday in Burlingame is a slow night, and the gauze was already blood soaked, so I moved to the front. A few x-rays, a couple of shots, and five or six stitches later, and I was almost good as new. Well, except that I look like Frankenfinger.

(BTW, after the firehouse, I went back into apartment to get insurance card, etc. I went back to the sink and figured out that the salad dressing bottle hit a pyrex bowl in the sink, breaking the rim. I don’t know if a shard came up and stabbed me, or if my hand slipped down over the jagged edge. All I know is ouch. The med tech said that besides power tools, glass cuts are the worst. Oh, and I know that my neighbor is a sweetheart. I owe her cookies.)

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