Why I Went to Urgent Care on Annual Review Day
It really looked to be a fun day. I had two major things on my agenda – pack up my former boss’ office computer (she has moved to Canada to work remotely), and go to lunch with my current boss for my annual review.
My former boss is the office Art Director, and has a dual-monitor Mac Pro. I was to break it down and pack it up to arrive in Toronto in a week or so. I had ordered her Mac Pro and wisely kept the original box. No problem there. However, the monitors were older and had no boxes. I had similar monitor boxes though, and could easily modify them for my purpose. After all, I am a handy man with a tool!
I set to work when the weekly company operations meeting started in the lobby. With a few quick cuts to the polystyrene I had the first monitor safely packaged. The second monitor proved more difficult. It was too ‘fat’ for the box. I had to trim off about an inch of the packing all around the foam packaging.
Due to the fact that I am The Computer Guy at work, I own a box cutter. Being a man who appreciates a well-made tool, I had purchased my own – a very solid all-steel model, with a comfort grip and a dozen spare blades in the handle. It is a pleasure to use. It will slice through most materials with no effort whatsoever. This fact actually makes it safer, since it means that less force needs to be used.
Alas! While attempting to cut a ridge from the center of the foam, it hung a bit, and I pulled a little harder than I should. As a result, the very-sharp, fully-extended, comfort-grip blade of my personal box cutter plunged directly into the fleshy area of my left hand between my index finger and my thumb.
I once read that this spot on the hand is an acupressure point – said to promote wakefulness.
My reaction was so fast and the result so alarming, I didn’t feel any pain. I whipped the knife back and clenched the wounded fist. This resulted in a very dramatic 180-degree spray of blood across the office, hitting a door and a window six feet away. When I looked down, blood was gushing onto the floor.
I did the only rational thing. I stuck my hand in my mouth.
Surprisingly, this was fairly effective! I was able to completely seal the wound, stop the bleeding, and calm the heck down while pondering my next course of action. I pulled my hand out of my mouth for a moment to calmly assess the damage. I had a deep one-inch cut, about a half-inch below, and parallel to, the bones of my left hand. I was no longer ‘gushing’ but was bleeding quite freely.
My fingers all seemed to work (good). But it looked too severe for bandages (foo). It was a very clean-looking cut. Stitches were the clear answer.
At this point, there were about 15 minutes left in the Operations meeting. Should I interrupt? I looked at the carnage in the office. The thought of walking out covered in blood seemed a tad over-dramatic. “I know” I thought, “I’m due for my review at lunch. I’ll just have my boss take me to get stitches instead of going for tacos.”
With that resolved, I packed a wad of paper towels on my hand, compressed them against my chest (elevation and pressure!) and started wiping up the blood. Lots of it. Everywhere.
After a few minutes, I noticed that my shirt was getting wet. I had soaked through the towels! This would not do. I cleaned up a tad (wiping the blood off my face, hands, etc.) and casually strolled past the Ops meeting. I went upstairs and found our CFO.
Me: “Hey, are you, uh, squeamish about the site of blood or anything?”
CFO: “No. Why? What’s up?”
Me: “Oh, I had a little accident with a box-cutter. Gonna need stitches, but I want to just close it up first so I’m not bleeding all over the place. Can you help me with a couple a bandages?”
CFO (Looking a little pale): “Oh. OK.”
And so she did. Quite a trooper that one.
Having thus staunched the flow again, I went back to the bloody office and resumed cleaning. I left the walls and door for last, but was interrupted by my boss. The ops meeting had ended, and the CFO has gone to ask my boss – which urgent care was he taking me to?
My boss, rightly confused, asked me for clarification on this point and suggested that I could resume cleaning after my hand was sewn back together. I agreed. My boss is a sensible fellow.
While walking to the Boss’ car, he let the cat out of the bag. “Just so you know, you’re getting a good review.”
I looked at him a little blankly.
“I mean… you didn’t have to cut yourself to get out of it.”
An hour (and three stitches) later, we had our lunch. It was a good review.
Update: It hurts, but I cut it parallel to the muscle, so no permanent damage. The doc said it was a very nice wound.