October 4, 2018

don't use glass water bottles

I'm ALL for environmentalism but here's a PSA first. If you use reuseable water bottles, please don't use glass. Here's why. There are some graphic photos and descriptions below, so just be warned.

On May 4th, while at Will’s Little League game, I lost my balance while carrying a glass bottle and landed on it. It severely lacerated the palm of my left hand... the glass severed the ulnar artery, palmar arch, median nerve, radial digital nerve, thenar muscle and partial flexor tendon. Thankfully, within seconds, I was surrounded by several kind people including a nurse who grabbed a belt and made a make-shift tourniquet. They tried to keep me awake as the blood poured out of me. Someone finally got my name and found David in the crowds. My friend was driving by and took my kids home and put them to bed. So thankful for all of that. Paramedics were called and they applied a real tourniquet but the blood wouldn't stop. A second tourniquet was applied at the hospital.

I was in excruciating pain. Just thinking about the pain makes me want to throw up. The paramedics  called our local hospital who wouldn't be able handle this kind of trauma so we were sent to the hospital in Seattle... across the bridge... on a Friday afternoon. It took about 35 minutes to finally get there and I passed out several times from the pain.
Finally, we arrived at Harborview where they immediately prepped me for surgery (and thankfully were able to provide some pain relieving medication). Five and a half hours later, I woke up with this. The surgery was a success but I was still in a lot of pain for the next few days as I recovered in the hospital. Thankfully, I didn't need a blood transfusion and the surgeon was able to reconnect all the nerves. The surgeon also grafted a vein from my right foot to graft in a segment that couldn't be repaired in my hand.
Those last two pictures were from the day I finally had the stitches remove and could wear a brace to stop me from bending my wrist. I'm now 5 months post-injury. Most of that time has been going to physical therapy 3 times a week, until recently, and weaning myself off of the nerve meds. SO relieved to no longer be on any medication, but thankful for it at the same time. My index finger and thumb are still numb (no feeling in my index finger) but the surgeon assures me that it'll come back in time. My strength is still weak and my motion is still somewhat limited but it's getting better every day. I no longer have pain (thank goodness) just numbness, stiffness and "pins and needles" feeling. I post all this because I get questions from time to time on my instagram asking about the progress. I re-read the operative report to remember the names of the nerves and it was dizzying to remember. Trauma really affects our brains and I am grateful for good medical care, but also glad to know when to ask for help with the mental scars.
I have an army of amazing friends and family who helped me through this with meals, child / dog care, cleaning, laundry and just checking in on me. Every time I think about their generosity, I want to cry. It's been a scary road, but I have so much to be thankful for.

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