Sweating, trembling, butterflies in my stomach...a warm wet finger...what's next?
My visit didn't go so well. Initially, it was supposed to be 30-45 minutes...although I arrived shaking, weak, and barely able to walk a straight line... About an hour prior, I'd taken the full painkiller and antibiotic doses, in addition to my regular medications...apparently that was too much of a shock to my system.
Walking into Dr. Geoffrey Buncke's office, after having just grabbed lunch, I started uncontrollably trembling. They get me into a room, I asked for "...a bucket...", and after taking 5-10 minutes, they finally get one...just in time too...
After about a half-hour of resting, the nurse returns with the materials (saline, hydrogen peroxide, and a small container) to begin soaking and removing the dressings over this finger. She was a kind woman, but...sadly...I think a one-armed, rabid, starving bear would have been more gentle with my wound. She was clearly rushing, nervous, and when I asked the simple question of "...so, do you enjoy this line of work? How long have you been doing it?..." She began defensively listing her entire career history and the nearly dozen of offices and other locations she'd worked...as-if bouncing around to that many places was some kind of badge...ugh. It didn't take much to redirect her; calming her down, and refocusing the conversation back to just a causal chat...but wow, this poor woman was clearly in a place she shouldn't be...
I continue wondering of she's going to cut a stitch, or maybe just take the finger's end off, while hacking away at this dressing...all-the-time muttering to herself "one layer at a time, one layer, one layer..." I'm getting scared...wondering if she'd be more comfortable with a machete. Finally, a voice from beyond saves me; the Dr calls her into another room...off she buzzes! Whew!
About 15 minutes later, the Dr returns, and quite-nicely says that they're really overworked today. He'd notice how fascinated I was by this entire process (ie: lots of pictures and questions), and grabbed a new scissor/tweezer sterile-pack, says "Would you like to start taking this off? She'll be back soon, but we'll get you out of here sooner if you're up for this." I eagerly grabbed for the tweezers while responding with, "Awesome! Yea, I'll get started now." realizing the gauze still needed more soaking, I laid-back...then the trembling started again...oh, and there went the stomach...fuck!
"Bucket! Can I get a bucket in here please!!!" I yelled... A minute or-so passed, the Dr & nurse poked-in, the Dr''s eyes bugged-out, and they both quickly left the room promising to return with something "right away"...another ~5 minutes pass, I yell out again...nothing. "bucket, can I gegargle..." too late, that one ended mid-sentence... What seemed like another 10 minutes pass, and the nurse walks-in, chatting, and having clearly forgotten my earlier request for a bucket. She stops mid-step, gasps, and then quickly leaves to grab the Dr. The poor woman was gagging while cleaning this up...yea, she's not cut out for this line of work... But, hey, I was feeling much better now!
I spend the next 15-20 minutes watching this butcher sterilize my room, with tiny little clean-wipes. Between the gagging coughs, she was getting more comfortable talking to me...good thing too...because I was fishing for information now; if my mother taught my brother and I anything, its how to quickly profile someone's state of mind. At this point, I'm running on instinct, she had her guard down...and I didn't have the heart to tell this butcher to keep her paws off me.
The room's clean, I'm now wearing the Dr's surgical scrubs (as my shirt was definitely not clean/wearable anymore), and am still undressing my wound...then the butcher comes back, I'd swear she was drooling a little. She grabs a chair, rolls over, and makes a grab at my finger. I pretend she's not there, gently moving away, and picking off another layer of gauze...all yet while still chatting with her. Watching her response; yep, there's button #1, I've still got it! She makes a grab for the tweezer's I'd just laid down...#2... It only took a few seconds to push her magic three psychological buttons. Her response was classic; we continued talking, chatting for a few more minutes, while she just sat there engaged in a friendly conversation...getting progressively quieter...then she suddenly leaves the room. Fuck yea!!
Another 15 minutes pass (it's about 4:30pm now), and I finally remove the last bits of gauze. The Dr enters shortly thereafter, examines the wound, looks at his assistant, and quickly decides he'll re-dress it. Him and the rabid bear spend about a half-hour with me...she never says another word to me that day. The Dr carefully explains the re-dressing process, prepares a three-day supply of materials, explains a couple of the area's specialized clinic options. and sends me on my way.
Methinks it could have gone better...ohwell...