Monday, August 07, 2006

Funky stitching: part II

I really should be posting about the privacy nightmare / SEM dream of AOL releasing silly amounts of dada last night. But precisely at the time that was happening, I was walking through the West Village trying to find St. Vincents hospital.

It would be far less embarrassing if it happened 15 years ago, but given that it didn't, it was bound to happen sooner or later, especially after my girlfriend told me not to use the paring knife as a screwdriver. Last week she went overseas for a holiday, so I had a chance to catch up on dorking out and fixed my computer and sliced my finger open with a paring knife.

My first official event at Carnegie Mellon was a 'what to do in an emergency' lecture, with extra emphasis on how expensive ER visits are. It went in one ear and out the other. Likewise, when I transferred over to my workplace medical plan I was told what I needed to do before making a claim. I didn't do any of it, because I had no plans to actually use it. You know you are in America when the first thing you think of when a medical emergency is upon you is 'Where did I put my insurance card?'. It is surprisingly difficult to remove a card that is stuck to a piece of paper when one hand isn't quite working right.

After sorting that out I had a flash of my medical training and found some sterile gauze and a bandage and wrapped myself up. This was quickly followed by a flashback to an old Bill Cosby comedy routine where he joked about his mother always harassing him to wear clean underwear, incase of an emergency. For some reason this felt like important advice, so I got dressed. Not to say that my underwear weren't clean, but I wasn't looking my best, so I got dressed to impress.

That wasn't particularly rational, but I must admit that I wasn't at my finest at that point. It is also very difficult to tie shoelaces with one hand.

I found the hospital and was impressed that I was on the 'fast-track'. I wasn't impressed by the lengthy interview (which was only lengthy because the registration admin kept on pausing to continue gossiping with her friend) and requests to sign documents before I had read them. The ER ward was fairly empty; I later found out that they were closing that section, and all the hot action was on the other side of the building. A range of nurses and doctors came by, none of whom introduced themselves (contrary to the Patients Bill of Rights document that I signed and read). And none of them brought me a glass of water, even though they all said they would.

When I finally worked out who my doctor was I told her that I used to be in her position and that seemed to do the trick. Trying to remember words and phrase from med school, but without sounding like someone who picked stuff up from ER, I managed to get her to actually talk to me, which made me feel much better. As did the nerve block.

The six stitches required to get me back together didn't take too long, and I made it out by midnight. On the walk home I felt the lignocaine wear off and figured that it was about to hurt like hell, so I self medicated with some scotch.

This morning I feel worse off from the scotch than the finger, althought typing is a bitch.


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