An almost-severed finger for Halloween

Ok, ok, it wasn’t really “almost” severed – well, kindof. It was pretty icky. It required 4 WHOLE stitches! Can you believe that? I actually can’t. And after 48 hours, 2 different cars, 2 different clinics and 660 Euros – I’m not entirely sure it was worth it all.

It all started on a dark and stormy Sunday.

We were waiting for Daddy’s plane to come in. See, he had been gone for an ENTIRE MONTH! We all were pretty excited to pick him up from the airport. Well, I guess for Brannan who was completely zombie-fied in front of the tele and Kinnerly who was taking yet another 3-hour nap.

I was roaming around the house, picking up errant Hot Wheels and kissing babies and putting them in their proper bins. I paused to look out the window into the front garden where I saw that stupid blue inflatable pool that cost me only 99cents in the States, made it all the way here to France, has been inflated since last summer and has also been tossed all over the place because it seems to be in the way wherever it is. Lately it has landed in a gigantic swath of rosemary. I have been seeing that eyesore in the middle of the rosemary bush from the first floor and the second floor for over 2 months. I was sick of looking at that baby blue pool in the front of the house.

I decided that Sunday it was going to be retired to the rubbish.

It was sort of drizzly and dark out, a great Sunday afternoon to watch movies and play Scrabble on the couch, but I was restless, so I decided to finally send that pool to the bin!

I went to the garage, fetched the lime green broom (Brannan picked it out because GREEN!!! is his favorite color).

I headed out to the pool.

I stood in front of that pool with the broom in my hands, the metal shaft was going to serve as my fishing pole. I stood there, hand over hand on the broom like a fireman with his hose, and poked into that pool to lift it out.

Now, I figured, this pool cost 99cents! I swear, it is going to be as light as a feather. Well, not so much. That drizzly rain had accumulated quite a bit on the backside of the pool. I figured – well, no matter, it is just a silly inflatable pool, I’ll just dig under there, latch onto it with this METAL broom shaft, and drag it off the bushes and into the trash! B will be so happy it is finally in the trash (he probably won’t even notice, but whatever).

So, I’m standing there like a fireman, trying to get a hook on this little pool, I tilt the broom upward and all of a sudden – SNAP!

Automatic recoil.

It breaks in half, right where my pinkie is, the back hand on the firehose, and my right hand corrects it back and my pinkie slips into the middle of the metal broom shaft and then S.L.I.C.E!

I feel the shock, break the broom shaft in half again, just automatically, I really don’t even consciously remember doing this, it all happened so fast. I threw the broom into the rosemary, grabbed my finger, looked at it and then my mind started racing.

This is going to bleed A LOT in about 2 seconds!
Kinnerly is still napping!
I am going to have to wake her up and drag her to the hospital so I can get stitches!
How am I going to get her shoes on with a huge gaping hole bleeding profusely?
SHIT – I live in France! I don’t even KNOW WHERE TO GO!!!
I don’t even know how to call 911!
I am going to sit on this front step of my house and pass out because of all the blood loss!
(ok, getting pretty dramatic now, but this really did happen)
I CAN’T go to the hospital or the clinic or whateverthehelltheycallithere because it take like 11,000 hours to do ANYTHING in France and I will totally miss picking up B at the airport!
Who is going to pick him up?
My bestest friends live 30 minutes and an hour away – can I call them?

Those were only a few of the thoughts racing through my head within that first minute.

I grabbed a red (thankfully) dishtowel from the kitchen, wrapped my hand up, and started pacing around the house with my arms above my head. I was freaking out. I didn’t know what to do. So, what do you do when you are in the face of danger?

Post something on FaceBook!


I would copy it here, but it isn’t even worth it.
I don’t even want to go back to that day to copy it.

So, I paced around, I cried a little, I cursed that stupid green broom and that stupid blue pool a thousand times over and then I used the crude first-aid things I had here at the house to tape it all up by myself. I used make-up remover pads to improvise for gauze (FYI – it hurts like hell to take off the next day with all that cotton sticking to your wound) and luckily had some super old medical tape to make a big band-aid.

It really hurt.

The next morning, after finally fetching Daddy at the airport (the kids couldn’t care less about my wound) and me, asking him to help me take off the “bandages” – he takes one look at it and says “uh, I think you should probably go get this looked at – it looks pretty meaty…”


I really really really didn’t want to go to the clinic/hospital. I am HORRIBLE at medical French words. Give me a restaurant, a grocery store, a 5-year-old – NO PROBLEM! Plus, I knew it was going to be a HUUUUUUUGGGGGEEEEE ordeal – as are most things here.

Well, it felt pretty yucky and it was still bleeding in the morning and, just, ick, so I figured I’d bite the bullet and just go and get it taken care of. So, off I went, in the little black car, to the “clinic” where after 20 minutes of trying to find a parking spot, the doctor took one look at it and said “OH, LA! NON! You must go to the Clinic Oxford in Cannes! There are nerves and tendons and I will not touch it. It is not possible!” And I just melted and wanted to cry and I wrapped my crappy paper towel around my (still) bleeding finger and asked for an address and of course, there aren’t any street addresses here in France, just a street and a zip code and my Garmin Nuvi didn’t “recognize” the destination and my iPhone didn’t know the destination and I just sat in the car and figured I should just go home and deal with the stupid scar. It would eventually fuse together, right?

So, I put the car into reverse and heard a loud CLUNK!!!

What the?

I backed down the hill, no problem, went to shift into first gear and I couldn’t get it out of reverse. I pushed with all of my might onto the clutch and the brake, tried to disengage the stick shift but could not for the life of me get it out of reverse!

Seriously! What the hell else could go wrong today?

I just got totally DENIED at the ER – all I wanted was a few stitches, I was told I need to drive all the way down to Cannes (another 20 minutes) to go to another clinic and now I can’t get my car out of reverse.

I eventually stalled the car, when it is off, somehow you can get it out of gear, so I got it into first, started it up, called B and told him that I think the clutch just dropped out of the car.

Well, I finally get it out of the 42 parking gates and tolls at the clinic, get to the first roundabout when it stalls again. The clutch pedal is pinned to the floor. I have NO IDEA what to do now! I mean, yeah, I can stop a car with gears and an e-brake but I have NO IDEA what to do with a clutch pedal that is stuck on the floor.

The roundabout starts to get backed up.
I’m in the way of EVERYONE!
I look at the lady to my right who wants to ram my passenger side door so she can get through the roundabout and I just say “sorry! desolee!” And then I really want to take her out for a coffee and say to her “my finger is still bleeding from last night, i just want a few stitches, where the hell do i go to get a few stitches without it being a huge ordeal, i have had the kids for a whole month all on my own, i just want a pedicure, i just want to have an uninterrupted shower!!!!”

Oh, sorry, maybe I just had a little freakout (or 3) that day.

This isn’t even past noon now…

Finally, I get the bright idea – or not so bright – to lift the clutch pedal up with my foot, and then, voila!, the clutch works again!!! But, I am not going to rely on that trick (until 3 days later, but that is an entirely different life-challenging story), so I drive the entire way home in 3rd gear! Normally, this isn’t so hard in my neck of the woods, but when you start to get into the bigger roundabouts when you actually need to YIELD to others, it can get a bit tricky! Well, I made it all the way home – I only needed to shift a couple of times, luckily, and the clutch and the clutch pedal were on my side the whole time. I made it home, parked outside of the property (so the tow truck could easily pick it up and take it to the shop – ahem cough cough – more on that later too) and went to switch cars.

After another HOUR (!!!) I made it to the next clinic, talked to multiple people and finally found a nurse who spoke some English. She was super sweet, dumped a bunch of burny/hurty liquid on my wound and then sent me downstairs to “make my papers” also known as “creating a dossier”. I spelled my name, gave my address, told them I don’t have a “carte vital” which means no free healthcare for me! and then was sent back upstiars.

They prepped me for my “operation” as they called it, made me sign forms in broken English, made me take an antiseptic shower, wear head to toe scrubs with a shower cap and then I started getting really worried. I dragged the English-speaking nurse in and asked her about this “operation.” She said, “no, no, you will not go to sleep, only stitches, just sign form, you ok.”

I was texting B furiously. My battery was hovering around 18%. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to call him or even have a phone number or god-forbid, Google Translate at my disposal after my stitches/operation! I edited myself so not tell him anything else that was going on. Nothing about the dude in the next room who sliced his finger off in a fan on the scrillion-dollar/euro yacht he is working on, or that his mates were going to bring him beer later, or that I was told I needed someone to pick me up after my operation because I was going to be so woozy after my procedure.

I left the house at 9:30AM.
I entered the “operating room” at 4:00PM.

I just wanted a few stitches.

They made me lay down on a gurney. They covered me up with sterile sheets and a heavy blanket. I got wheeled into a proper operating room. They started an IV and pumped me with antibiotics. Then I got some sort of “relaxer” which I would’ve asked for like 50 more mg of if I could’ve. They covered me up like I was having a C-section, they shot my hand full of novocaine and gave me 4 stitches. Then they wheeled me into the “post-op” room where they just kept shuffling gurneys with people like we were cars in a parking garage. It was totally comical. I was so wide-awake that they finally wheeled me back to my original room where my clothes were. They brought me a baguette with jam and butter and a madeleine cookie and were shocked that I didn’t want a coffee. I just wanted water. I paced the tiny little room and checked my phone for the time every 5 minutes willing SOMEONE/ANYONE to come in to check on me!

Finally, at 6pm, I walked out of my little room, with a needle still in the crook of my arm and saw my admitting nurse with all her stuff, heading home. She saw me and asked me if I was ok. I said “yes, I’m fine, I just want to go HOME!!!” So, she retraced her steps, and instructed the next nurse to discharge me.

Another 40 minutes or so of discharge stuff, broken French and receipts and post-op instructions, I was finally on my way home.

Only to sit in rush hour traffic for another 45 minutes…

I was ex.haust.ed….

I knock on wood every single day that we are all healthy and happy here. One of my friend here was so surprised that Kinnerly had never seen a doctor here. She is just a pretty healthy baby. Of course, she has had a little cold here and there, but nothing that warrants a doctor.

I seriously hope we don’t have to see any more of this sort of thing ever.ever.ever again!

PS – I finally did get my manicure (only 9 fingers though) and pedicure this past weekend.


3 thoughts on “An almost-severed finger for Halloween

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