Dave’s middle finger just blew up. It had always been knobby since the day he mishandled a line drive and smashed the last knuckle to bits. But although that injury ended any career he might have had as a pianist, his finger has more or less behaved itself through the years. Until a few weeks ago. That’s when, for no reason, it started to swell up. It got huge and round and pink on the end. It looked like–well, it looked like he might be able to make a good living with it in the, uh, personal services field.
And it hurt. I could tell only because after the third day or so he casually mentioned that he was going to walk over to the emergency room with it. That means Kaiser.
We have Kaiser insurance because that’s what I had all those years and I liked it. Dave was always on Blue Cross and thought the world of it, but after we retired I had the better deal. It would cost significantly more to keep the Blue Cross. And all that stuff about Kaiser taking out the wrong kidney or sawing off the wrong leg, well, that hardly ever happened.
But Dave doesn’t like Kaiser. He doesn’t like how it takes a while to get an appointment (although that only applies to routine appointments, and urgent matters are handled expeditiously). He doesn’t like that you have to go through a gatekeeper to get anything done. He doesn’t think you should have to see your internist to be referred to Dermatology when lichens are growing on your face. He thinks you should just be able to walk into Dermatology and point at yourself.
Basically, Dave is pissy about Kaiser. And there’s no reason to be. They’ve always done right by him, unless you count that time he had to get a big cyst drilled out of his testicle and they did an excavation and then he had to sit on an ice block for like three months and pop Vicodin like Tic-Tacs to keep from blacking out and finally he went back and said he really thought he should be feeling better by now, and could someone take a look? And someone did, and said everything looked just fine, implying he was a big whiner, except for that big cyst in his testicle, and maybe he should think about having it drilled out. So they drilled it out again, and did a thorougher job of it, and he was only out the two co-pays and a lost half-year of happiness, or so, but still he brings it up.
Kaiser emergency is only about six miles from home so he walked over there and went through the door, finger first, so as to get the most attention. The first person to attend to it was concerned. She handed him the Pain Scale sheet, with its Graduated Grimace illustration of pain levels, from a slight wince to a rictus of agony. “On this scale of one to ten, how do you rate your pain?” Bad question to ask Dave. If Dave had posed for the illustrations on the one-to-ten scale of pain, the face would have looked exactly the same for all ten levels, and then in number eleven there would be big X’s over his eyes. Dave drew a breath and delivered a treatise about the subjectivity of the perception of pain and the impossibility of determining anything useful from such an exercise when there was such a wide range in the abilities of people to withstand discomfort, and what is a pain threshold, anyway, is it something empirically measurable or does it reflect a level of stoicism or–let’s be honest–strength of character that has become sadly lacking in this pampered modern world wherein happiness is considered an entitlement?
She told him that maybe he could go home and take a couple of Tylenol and see how it goes.
|After several days on antibiotics…|
“Nine,” Dave said.
So then stuff started happening right away. He was diagnosed with cellulitis, an infection so dangerous that there was a possibility of gangrene, brain fever, unsightliness, and several versions of death, and he had antibiotics introduced intravenously and someone lanced a tub of pus out of it and he was sent home with more antibiotics and Vicodin. Took one of them, too.
It’s looking a lot better now, not that it will fit between the black keys. I’m proud of him for going in, and I’m proud of Kaiser for doing such a good job, not that you’ll hear that from Dave. He’s the perfect man for me. I need a man with a high tolerance for pain. I hope the swelling doesn’t go down too much.
Happy birthday, big guy. You’ll always be my old man.
I have two words for you. Finger felon. An actual term. Perhaps this is what your Dave has. An internet friend of mine (meaning, we read each other's blogs) had this and wrote about it here. http://mamasweeds.com/2011/06/24/finger-felon-out-on-bail/
Yikes. That's one ugly finger. I hope he feels better soon.
By the way, the medical and even we pseudo-medical people (meaning LMTs) do understand that it's subjective and stupid to use these scales. It's just even more subjective and stupider not to measure it at all, and it's the best we've got. You have to start somewhere 🙁
Dave seems to share a lot of traits with my Dad, who probably would have lanced that sucker himself. He once apologetically left work before quitting time after hitting himself in the foot with an axe…and walked 2 miles out of the woods to where his truck was parked, squelching all the way. Great men to have around. Heal well, Dave.
That looks really sore. Poor baby. That said, if a woman had that affliction there would be no compassion offered, no time off work, no bandaid applied; just the simple request to quit whining and get on with it.
That is one ugly finger. Thank goodness he finally gave in and went for medical aid. So, after getting IV antibiotics and having his finger lanced, and taking a load of pain-killers, he walked six miles home? Holy crow! He's too tough for any mere germ to kill. When you get tired of him, you're going to have to shoot him several times to get rid of him, and then he'll probably crawl off and heal up to spite you.
OW! Poor baby. And I agree with him 100% about pain tolerance. Some people whine and complain about every little ache and pain as though no one on earth ever experienced such agony. And some people are so stupid they don't even bother waking their husbands when their appendix ruptures.
Wow. That really IS some finger. And how terrible to have to go to Kaiser with it. Sounds like they came through for him this time, though. Double wow on that last picture.
Oh.. wrong time to be having breakfast… 😉
That sure does look painful.. I'm glad he's on the mend. And I'm glad you have your way with words to turn it into an amusing tale.
Have you ever seen the Hyperbole and a Half pain scale? More accurate I think. It's here: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/02/boyfriend-doesnt-have-ebola-probably.html
But poor Dave-I'm so glad he actually went to the dr. instead of asking you to, uh, do surgery for him again!
Thanks for stopping by-I didn't know the message I was sending with my tree…now I'll have to take it down!
I got to look at the pain scale after some recent surgery and I never picked anything above a three. I figured a ten is reserved for when they are slowly sawing off your fingertips, pulling out your teeth and toenails while dousing you with gasoline and lighting you on fire.
Whoa! Finger felon! What a grand, grand name. That last photo is a ways into the treatment. I didn't take a photo of the finger before he went in. I looked at that, and I said, "that's not funny." Nor did I think it ever could be funny. I'm going to have to learn to take pictures of everything.
Because if you can't laugh at life, you'll just have to settle for throwing up.
Don't get me started on those pain charts!!!! Why do they, at the highest level of pain, say "worse pain possible," when what they mean is "worst" pain possible?
These charts are manufactured by some company, disbursed to hospitals all over the US (and maybe beyond) and they couldn't check the damn grammar?
Furthermore, why do the doctors always dismiss your pain when you point out to them that their chart is all fragged up? Seriously, it's bad enough to be in pain, without having to be subjected to the ineffectiveness of the entire American education system, and the stupidity and wastefulness hospitals that pay good money for flawed materials!
If they have that kind of nastiness on the walls, what the heck is on their needles or in their vials?
It pisses me off so bad, but frankly I never remember to bring my marker when I head off to the ER. Had a chance just a few weeks ago with my concussion, but plumb forgot. Of course I also forgot who the president was or when my birthday was, or what day of the week it was, but I DID NOT forget to tell them that their pain chart was pure evil.
Those pain charts should all just die in a fire. Seriously, do NOT get me started!
Oh, and hope Dave feels better soon!
Sorry Dave, should have said that first. Something distracted me…
(Don't get me started on what it was!)
Uh, we all hope YOU'RE feeling better soon, Kat!
Feel better and have a happy birthday, Dave!
I like Kaiser. Maybe only because I'm so familiar with it.
Now THAT's a finger.
I shall be working "Graduated Grimace" into a conversation today…
Aaaargh. That finger looked so painful. Happy Birthday Dave and may that finger go down soon.
"…still wont fit between the black keys."
Always a laugh, Murr, always a laugh.
Hunh. "Rictus." I learned a new word!
Hope all is better on the western front.
Happy birthday Dave.
Murr, I'm married to a stoic as well and it pisses me off no end! We are in our twilight years and one of the small pleasures of enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous (relative) longevity is to be able to moan and whine a little. Nuh! it's stiff upper lip all the way, this means that I have to suffer in silence as well, it is a real contest as to who cries 'uncle' first! Grandkid stepped on his gouty toe? not a problem, taxman sent another letter?…now that's when we hear some whining!
Compared to having your testicles drilled out, the finger sounds pretty tame.
May you have speedy recovery.
Not that I know anything about anything, but that looks like a spider bite to me. from a brown recluse spider.
hope it gets lots better soon. i agree with dave about a lot of that. and it's not just kaiser that doesn't get it.
ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow kisses to Dave and his finger, and hugs to you for living with a man whose finger is about to blow.
It's all grist for the mill.
You amaze me.
Ok, this post is going to be a "two-parter" for me. I got to the part about drilling Dave's testicle and had to lie down without completing the post. I'll pick up the second half tomorrow if I am physically able. Hopefully you continued the story without drilling more testicles.
Happy Birthday, Dave.
Arrrrggggh! Maybe YOU should take the Vicodin, then it won't matter which finger he uses.
Poor Robert the Skeptic, purely male reaction…
there should be a different pain scale for men and for women. It seems the fair sex is much more functional while undergoing painful swelling. Trying to see your feet when you are pregnant is more much more intimidating than one sore finger. But then, maybe it's a poor comparison.
Eeeoowww. That's painful to look at let alone imagine what it felt like pre-treatment. How'd he get it all infected like that in the first place is what I want to know. What caused those cells to go all ulitis? Did he have his finger in something foul? Purell! Purell in his Christmas stocking.
I'm glad that even Dave has a limit to toughing it out. But nine? As my late husband's doctor said, "It would have been better if you'd come in before the last quarter." But the finger is getting better, I hope. Kaiser has always been good in my experience (one California doctor of my acquaintance excepted) and here in Oregon is top ranked, including what I've been told is an excellent oncology reputation.
I support Dave. I had a very bad experience with Kaiser and would not be alive today if had stuck with them. They even lied to protect their butts. Ask me to tell you the story sometime. I had a friend whose brother won a million dollar lawsuit against them when his wife died 4 days after giving birth due to their error in caring for her. Know of other horror stories.
Only good for regular care, not anything serious in my opinion.
Amarkonmywall, you remind me of that old standby remedy, "soak it in cider." Not sure if that was supposed to help the soaker, or the soakee. And we have no idea what caused it to blow up. Didn't see any splinters or cracks or anything. Probably a tiny evildoer.
Cellulitis is indeed dangerous. Good that Dave got it taken care of when he did.
And, love those eyebrows in the second picture 🙂
How does one get cellulitis? Hopefully from painting the house or other chores that can gladly be forfeited in the name of better health.
Gosh we have no idea, Barb. No wounds that we could see. Maybe a splinter worked its way in there last year and laid alien eggs with a long gestation period.
Jenny o, thanks for noticing! I even had that photo in my files and wrote the lichen sentence without thinking about it; then I remembered the photo. If Dave continues to get older, as he just did today, his eyebrows will probably start looking like that on their own. Also his ears.
That is one scary finger!
It's birthday time? FELIS CUMPLEAÑOS Dave!!! :o)
oops, my finger slipped… FELIZZZZZZZ CUMPLEAÑOS! ;o)
That is an alarming condition. He wouldn't want to lose any fingers to infection, pain being nature's big reality check. I'm not into masochism so I take pain very seriously as a message that I need to take care of my body. I'll never be accused of being "long suffering."
So glad Dave did go to the hospital and that he is OK. I had hernia surgery yesterday, but I didn't walk to the hospital. On the other hand, I haven't taken any pain meds. Can I be in the Dave Club?
Yikes! That looked like a major owie to me!!! And is it his birthday, too? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Yikes…Googling "cellulitis" as we speak! My toe is better, but looked a lot like Dave's finger in the first photo!
Glad Dave is back to normal…
My first thought was staph infection. But then I saw that last photo and actually gasped out loud. I hope that the antibiotics clear that right up…it looks very (subjectively) painful!
As one who makes her living using the dreaded pain scale on a daily basis I can tell you that I find it absolutely useless and time consuming — charting meaningless information at least 4 times over every time I ask it. So I'm with Dave, in spades.
As to the infection, try carbuncle. A lovely word if not condition. My guess is that a little bad bug got into his cuticle and made a nest. No spider bite. Just an opportunity of cracked skin from work.
So, on a scale of one to 10, Dave, what is your pain level? Yeah, I always reserve the upper echelons for pain-of-death considerations. But you'd be surprised at how many insist they're experiencing a 10.
Aargh! Poor Dave. I think the tips of our fingers must have more nerve endings than any other parts of our body because they hurt like hell when something undesirable happens to them. Maybe "hurts like hell" should be on that pain chart?
I'm afraid I would not be the perfect man for you, aside from obvious reasons. I would take a look at that pain scale and ask why the faces begin with a happy birthday face and end with a paper cut face….
I'm in favor of somebody having a Carbuncle. It sounds old-fashioned, which we are, and also marine. "Scrape off them carbuncles, we gwine paint her up agin!"
Or "looks like we'll have to replace the carbuncle, ma'am, your engine is all gummed up."
Or "avast! Ye skeevy carbuncles."
Bill, half of you would be my perfect man.
A man with a high tolerance for pain. Yes, that's what it would take to put up with me, too.
Happy Birthday, Dave, and so glad you're getting your digit back. Would love to read a post from you (we Murrthers are a smart bunch and we can handle the big words) describing what it's like to have your testicles bandied about on the internets right here in the crotch of the Christmas season. You're a Sagittarius, right?
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