PSA, Part 2: No pain? Lots of blood? Go to the E.R. (Learn from me!)

Welcome to this unexpected follow-up to my last post.

I thought I had everything under control after I slammed the steel door on the back of my ankle. It took an hour, but I got the bleeding to stop, right? Only after my late-night shower did I realize that the situation was not under control, and it was beyond my management capabilities. I noticed more blood seeping through the jumbo band-aids (I’d stuck a second one over the first).

Of course it was past 11pm! Isn’t it always when you finally decide to go to the E.R.?

At the E.R., the doctor looked at my ankle and said that I needed stitches, but it was too late; the risk of infection was too high. I should’ve gone in for treatment within six hours of the accident. “I’ve been here all day,” he remarked lightly. He was kind.

He leaned forward in his chair as he pensively studied the wound, elbows resting on his knees, hands folded together, chin propped on his knuckles. Then he shook his head and said, “All I can do at this point is try to close it with steri-strips.”

Callaghan, who was sitting on a stool behind the doctor, later told me that the wound was gaping open and jagged around the edges. I’d had no idea. I’d thought I was dealing with a clean cut. The diagnosis on my paperwork says LACERATION, OLD – NOT SUTURED. It then explains that the wound is deep and required stitches, but “in your case, too much time has passed before coming for treatment. That is why your wound was not sutured.”

Can you hang your head in shame and roll your eyes at yourself at the same time? Yes. Yes, you can.

The doctor cleaned out the wound and applied the steri-strips (sticker sutures) to hold the separated tissue together. I felt pressure and pulling, but still no pain. It turned out that my nerves were damaged, so they couldn’t send pain signals to my brain.

This brings me to today’s important Public Service Announcement: if you’re bleeding persistently from an open wound, go to the E.R. right away, even if you’re not feeling pain.

I had it the wrong way around. I didn’t think it was that serious because I felt no pain. It didn’t help that I couldn’t really see the back of my ankle when my foot was up in the basin, but that’s neither here nor there. There was bleeding… it wasn’t stopping… I should have gone in for treatment, period. Instead, I flew into problem-solving mode and focused on resolving the issue myself. I only partially blame the Army for this.

A nurse wrapped the wound with an Ace bandage, and I went home with a set of crutches.

 

When band-aids aren’t enough.

 

Funny thing, Callaghan didn’t even know about the accident until he read my blog post that night! He found out when you guys did. I forgot to tell him about it when he got home from work.

We were told that it could take up to four weeks for the wound to heal completely, but I can get back to weight-lifting after one week of inactivity. It’ll be at least two weeks before I can do cardio again. The wound will fill in from the bottom and the sides, and it’ll scar, to which I say whatever. It could’ve easily been worse. It was my Achilles tendon’s lucky day!

Anyway, guys, if this happens to you, don’t do what I did. If it takes an hour to stop the bleeding, something is wrong. If it’s still bleeding after even 20 minutes, something is wrong! You’ll need professional treatment, and you should go get it within six hours. I waited more than 12 hours, putting myself at higher risk for infection. My scar will be deeper, and my healing time will be longer.

Also, while I’m at it, do remember to update your tetanus shots every five years. That was one thing that concerned the doctor that I actually got right.

[/PSA]

p.s. I found out how to remove ads from my blog! You’re welcome!

 

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