Sunday, November 14, 2010

September 25, 2010, pre-hospital

I have decided I need to start writing down my hand experience even though typing with one hand takes forever. I don't know how long it will be 'till I can type with two hands, so I am going to do this in segments. Here I go. . .

I planned on pressure bottling some dry beans on Saturday morning. I got up early, saw Ryan off to work, got the kids fed and ready for the day, then started pulling things out to start bottling. Then I realized I had a question about the process of bottling these beans. I thought, "It's only 8 AM, I can't call my friend this early on a Saturday to ask her a bottling question. It is a beautiful day. I will just take the boys outside and start on a woodworking project I wanted to get done.

I proceeded outside with my two little boys. I wanted to make some toy train pieces with my scroll saw (which I love and plan to use when I am better). All the pieces of wood that I could use for my project had a routered edge. So I thought, "No biggie I'll just square up a piece on our table saw, then be on my way. I proceeded to cut the 22' piece of wood. About half way through cutting, there was a knot (knots are more difficult to cut, for those of y'all who don't cut wood very often.). I put my left hand toward the back of the wood, then the whole piece split and jumped. I blinked, heard a loud noise, then looked down and my fingers were gone. There was blood everywhere. I thought "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! can I pause then rewind my life a second then fix that?!? My fingers are gone! Wow, That is a lot of blood. Is that my bone? Yes, I think it is. Should I call someone? Yeah, I probably better."

I wrapped my hand in my shirt then told my boys I would be back. I ran in the house and grabbed the phone. I started to call Ryan, then I decided I was really bleeding a lot and I better just call 911. So I did. I told the woman on the other end of the call that I had cut off my fingers and I needed some help. Oh yeah, and I am pregnant. How pregnant? Uh, uh, I could not seem to remember how pregnant I was. . . (I think I told her 27 weeks, because that is what the paramedics and police thought when they got there.) While on the phone I grabbed a package of steaks from my freezer to put ice on my hand, it was a little awkward, so I scrapped that idea. The woman asked if I was keeping it elevated and I realized my hand was sitting at lower chest level. I needed it to be at least above my heart. I dropped my shirt and grabbed a kitchen towel so I could keep compression on it while elevating it. Then I realized I could not keep very much compression on it. I thought, "I am losing strength. Oh no! That must be because I have lost so much blood!?!" I proceeded to tell the 911 lady that I felt like I was starting to go into shock, so I had better just sit by my side door and wait for the ambulance. I sat, my hand really started throbbing. I waited, and tried to take slow, deep breaths.

Then, my sweet little four year old came over to me and with his big blue eyes, asked, "Mom, are you okay?" I replied, "Yes dear, mommy just has a big owie." When the police and paramedics got there, I think I was trying to have my four year old be my breathing coach and explaining to the 911 lady that I had my two kids with me.

Hooray! The paramedics arrived, I am not going to bleed to death/die in front of my kids! They asked me if I was 27 weeks pregnant, and I said, "No I am further along than that. . . 36 or 37 weeks I think. . . I can't seem to remember for sure. Just look at my middle--I am really pregnant." Once we got the prego info squared away, I told them about my kids and asked them to please take my children to my neighbors house. The police took care of my kids while the first responders gathered my two missing digits (they were distressed when they could only find two, they came back to report, so we checked and--phew! One was still hanging by a little piece of skin. Thankfully!). I was strapped to the bed, loaded, and we were on our way.

Okay, by this point I am totally ready for some pain medicine! I asked and was told "No, sorry, you are pregnant. We have to wait until we get to the hospital." My thought, "What?! (followed by several deep breaths of oxygen--I can't wait to get to the hospital )."

I am going to stop there for now, because I have been typing for ages. I'll type the rest in my next post. (sorry if this is too long, just don't read any more posts if they are too long).

P. S I am so thankful for friendly and efficient police and all EMS workers. (Especially Deward Stout for keeping me company on the ambulance ride. It was nice to have a familiar face to talk to.)


  1. Sara,
    I want you to know how much I love you. I just want to be there with you through this experience. I hope you know how much my thoughts and prayers were with you and that I still have faith and prayers in your behalf. I was really worried when I got the message from Dad. I hope you know that I just couldn't bare to lose you, and I was really concerned for a long time when I didn't know what was going on. I know that things may not be the same for your fingers, but I'm just so grateful to have you as my sister and to know that I can just have you. All things considered, fingers are nice, but not essential (and I don't mean to sound callous; I just mean that you being my sister has very little to do with anything to do with your left hand fingers). I'm just grateful for who you are Sara, and I'm grateful that you are part of my family. You've always been a great example and strength to me, including through this experience. Keep hope. I love you. I'll be seeing you soon for the holidays :)

  2. I was so sorry when I heard the news. We prayed, and still do pray for you, and hope you are managing okay. Keep writing when you can! I really want to know how you did it. You really are amazing!

  3. Sara - I am so amazed at how quick thinking and calm you reacted! I react that way when I answer the phone.. but I don't know how I would react if the trauma happened to me! You are so amazing! Thank you for sharing your story!

  4. Glad you're recording your story. So much can happen in a split second! I can't imagine what that must have been like! I'll stay tuned for more...

  5. I can imagine that I would have exactly the same reaction: Can I somehow magically rewind and do this over again? And the utter shock and trying to make sense of what had happened and realize that I needed to call someone for help.

    The rest of it, no, I don't think I would have handled this nearly as well as you have, Sara. And... I'm excited to see you again (sometime) and meet Eliza and see your husband and boys.

    Love you...

  6. Sara:
    Love ya.
    Miss ya.
    Hope ya Thanksgiving was great!