On September 27th Brandt and I needed to go into the garage to do some wood projects that he was working on. So we went out into the garage where his shop was set up and told the boys to go in the backyard and play. We proceeded to cut some boards down on the table saw and then we needed to plane them down. There were probably 6-9 boards (been too long, don't remember) and Brandt takes his spot leading the wood in and it is my job to lead it out and pull it back til it is all planed down. Brandt has a large industrial sized dust collector. It is like a big vacuum that sucks the extra dust into the machine. So that is going on, too, a little behind me. Throughout our working the boys keep wandering in and we're yelling, "OUT! GO PLAY!" We are approaching 6pm and I need to go in and make dinner and we're on the very last board. Where I am it is loud since there is the whir of both the planer and the dust collector. A few seconds prior Oliver had wandered into the garage and I saw him back by the garage door and he was near the dust collector and the thought went through my brain, "Oh, if he touches the box that holds the engine it will just be a little warm - he'll move his hand." And because I had 1/2 a board to pull through I knew we'd be done in a minute at most. Next thing I know, Oliver is crying, and Brandt starts SCREAMING. I turn around and there is blood everywhere on Oliver's hand and I don't know what to do. In the motor case there is a small vent that no adult finger would be able to go through but Oliver stuck his pinkie through it and the fan that was behind sliced the tip of his finger almost completely off. Brandt grabs him and we run inside with him to get a towel. Brandt is saying he has cut his finger off. I'm asking if it is completely off and we're trying to figure it out. Oliver is freaking. So we wrap a towel around his little finger and are yelling for the twins to go to Debbie's house. Because of the commotion Debbie and Keith have started to wander across the street and they grabbed the twins and took them over to their home while we got in the truck. I called 911 and asked them if I should go to Primary Childrens or if I should go to the hospital that is closer to us. They just said probably the nearest hospital. I knew better as we have not had the most pleasant experiences at Lakeview, but I thought maybe there was a time frame that if we got there sooner there would be a chance of saving his little finger. So I drove to Lakeview.
They took us right back and Oliver was surprisingly good. He just layed on Brandt and Brandt just continued to squeeze that little finger. Oliver just freaked out when they would look at the "owie" and when he got his pic line put in. And the freak out wasn't much, either. He hadn't eaten, been through trauma, and if I remember right he hadn't had a nap that day so his body was worn out. They came in and had to take x-rays to see if there was bone damage. I left for that so I'm not sure how it went. They called the hand surgeon in (Friday night - I'm sure he was thrilled), and we waited. When the surgeon finally got there he said that surprisingly the cut went right between the bones of the most distal knuckle so there was no bone damage. However, there are two blood supplies that go up either side of the finger. Obviously the one side was severed and the other side was so far over, it should have been gone, too. The little mangled tip of his pinkie, though, looked to still be getting some blood to it. The surgeon called Primary Children's because they are more familiar with vascular needs in the little hands and he wanted to discuss if he thought they could do more than him. Because it was so far over, he said to amputate. He said that they could sew it on and have that surgery but if it didn't take, he'd have to have another surgery to amputate at another time. Primary Children's ER doctor said that there was only like a 1-2% chance that it'll "take." So I lost it then. How do you make that decision to take your child's finger off?? So we tried to call Brandt's brother Jason who is a surgeon in Iowa. He didn't answer so then we texted him that it is an emergency, please call. Luckily for us he was able to. His advice without seeing the injury or anything was that as a doctor, you'd probably suggest the amputation. BUT, as a parent, if there is that slim chance, you might want to go to the children's hospital for (1) a second opinion and (2) there is a chance, why not take the chance. So we told Lakeview that we wanted to go to Primary's. This all had been about an hour or so. To get us released it took another HOUR. I was getting so mad. Another hour of his finger just hanging there. Another hour of possible infection. What is taking so long!!! FINALLY, they tell us that we are free to go to the other hospital.
So we drive like maniacs and get to the other ER. Of course, they're expecting us, but right before we got there they had a rush of 6 other people so we're at the back of the line. They took us back into a room and Brandt and Oliver layed down on the bed and they brought him in a movie to watch. This was probably about 9pm at this point. O just slept and I just prayed. The ER doc said that we'd just wait for the hand doctor to even look at it so we would be bothering O more than we had to. Throughout this whole ordeal I had come to the realization that we were just going to amputate it. Through the wait and the drive it was becoming more and more ok. I was grateful to be at Primary Children's because I figured even if we had to amputate the doctors here are used to little fingers and would probably do a better job. The hand surgeon finally came in about midnight. The movie had ended so it was a long wait. The doc walked in and just said, "ok, we'll just sew it on." No question about it. She explained how resilient children are and she had all the confidence in the world that this is what we should do. So they prepped O for surgery. They drugged him up with Catamene and then they had to sterilize the wound. I was sobbing. They had a bucket and hung his little hand over it and the tip of his finger was just flapped open. They were pouring iodine and saline over it and it was just too much for me. Then she proceeded to stitch. And stitch. And stitch. Lots and lots of stitches. I didn't count but think about it, she had to go all the way around a finger. They also had to keep dosing him with medicine. He kept waking up and they couldn't risk him moving that little tiny finger while she was stitching so he got a ton of medicine. He had nicked his middle finger, too, so she either put 2 or three stitches in that finger, too. Once done she wrapped his hand up with a ton of gauze and then wrapped that with the stuff they use to hold the cottonball on your arm when you get your blood taken. I don't know what it's called. They told us not to change it unless it gets wet and we would call to schedule an appointment with another hand doctor in a week. This was on a Friday night so I couldn't schedule until Monday, then the doctor only sees patients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so we were scheduled to have the hand looked at again on the following Tuesday. A week and a half after the accident.
Here's some pictures - stop reading if you are squeamish. All of these are Iphone pics so not the very best. And during the stitching I was trying to be incognito while not losing it so they're not the best.
|At Lakeview - break my heart|
|Daddy just squeezing that little hand while we wait for prognosis|
|Stitching mostly complete|
|Starting to do the bandage|
|Out like a light. Drugged up, exhausted, probably around 1:30am.|
|Mom trying to get him to wake up so we could go home. He was so out. Tickling his face with my hair was what finally got him to stir.|
|Out of it Oliver. So funny.|
|The end result of the night.|
|Fuzzy but good shot of the bandage. This is a few days after I think. The little dog stuffed animal was given to him at the hospital. He named him Doggy Russell that night. He's still loved.|