Ouch! I Cut Myself Wokking

Cut Left Index Finger - 9 stitchesWhile chopping cauliflower in preparation for my nightly wokking, on Thursday, May 15, I broke a cardinal cooking rule that my mother taught me: "never cut towards yourself".

Shortly thereafter I found myself in the emergency room at Toronto’s Saint Michael’s teaching hospital getting nine stitches. I felt as though I was a patient on the television show ER. The med student that stitched me up did a terrific job with absolutely no pain. My thanks go out to the med student and the supervising doctor for a terrific job.

The injury has resulted in almost constant sharp pain, has inhibited my ability to use my computer for work or play and prevented me from: 1) completing the GTA IV campaign; 2) continuing my GTA IV diary entries; and 3) blogging as much as I would have liked to. Indeed, it’s astonishing how much I cannot do while attempting to safeguard my left hand as my finger heals.

On the upside, the injury has resulted in my having a practical need to test and use, on a sustained basis, the Windows Speech Recognition software built into Vista. In fact, I have written this blog post almost entirely through voice dictation. I’m keeping notes and expect to write a future post on my Vista voice recognition experiences. [June 3, 2009 Update: I never did write that post as typing / and controlling Windows by voice is still not practical for the able bodied typist]

I can’t feel anything above the cut to the tip of my finger on the inside. But both the emergency room doctor and my family doctor believe that the nerves will reconnect themselves within about two months giving me full feeling back.

As is normal with most any emergency room, I had to wait about 2 hours before I was served. I wasn’t happy that the emergency room doctor was unwilling to prescribe pain medication for me. I only asked for a day or two’s worth of pain pills but it seems like Canadian hospitals are required to treat regular patients as if they are drug addicts seeking their latest fix. Despite her assurances, over-the-counter Motrin, alone, was not enough.

Nonetheless, I was very happy with my treatment. Despite its problems, I still consider the Canadian health care system to be amongst the best in the world. The visits to the hospital and my family doctor cost me nothing and the treatment I received was first rate. I do not believe that American politicians and population truly understand how the Canadian system works when they criticize it as a socialized medicine that takes choice way from the patient. I much prefer it, warts and all, over the American System, with its 40,000,000 people either uninsured or underinsured.

No Comments

  1. // Reply

    Wow! That is one nasty gash! Take care of that finger to restore full functionality to every millimetre soon! In the mean time, have fun exploring new technologies such as voice recognition software.

  2. // Reply

    Surely by now your sliced finger has healed beautifully. It really looks “ouchy”. I hope you never have to endure a kitchen accident again, however, here’s a little “recipe” my Mama put together that got us kids raised. We all still use it today with our own families. It’s guaranteed to get rid of the pain and soreness of a cut or scrap or gouge.

    Finely crush 1 regular non-coated aspirin (the cheap ones) and stir it into a dab of Mentholatum ointment. A dab would be about the size of your big toenail. Stir the powdered aspirin into the Mentholatum (comes in a small green bottle) until it’s a little gritty. Then smear it onto the injury and cover the injury with a protective wrap.

    I promise it won’t sting. Within a short time, the soreness will be gone…I’m talking, like, overnight. You can mix up a whole bottle and it’ll keep, but you’re probably not that accident prone. Hope you never have to use this.

    Also, I know this sounds like some “back woods” remedy. It is. But it works.

  3. // Reply

    Thanks for the tip Pam!

    And, yupp, the cut is healed – the stitches long gone, but it’s probably still going to be months before I get full feeling back. It’s still numb above most of the cut.

  4. // Reply


    It depends on what you mean by ‘recover. The stitches were removed the following week and within a month the wound had been healed. But as of Sept 12, 2008 (4 months later) a half centimeter wide strip from the cut to the tip of my finger remains paralyzed (without feeling) and continues a throbbing/buzzing feeling that I sometimes don’t notice but most of the time am constantly aware of – especially when typing. It turns out my Dr. was overly optimistic about my getting complete feeling back.

  5. // Reply

    Is your finger better? Do you have sensation? I currently have 7 stitches in the tip of my pinkie and right now its numb as hell so I am worried that I won't ever get sensation back.

  6. // Reply

    Cheri, my finger is pretty much the same as when I left the comment on Sept 12, 2008. Just over one year later I still have a constant throbbing/buzzing feeling from the cut to the tip of my finger about 5 mm wide (1/4 inch). It doesn't handicap me in any way. And most of the time I don't notice it unless I think about it. But many times, when I'm trying to do delicate work I notice that I can't feel/sense what I need to with the finger so I switch to the other hand. I wouldn't mind the inability to feel so much as the constant/never ending electricity feeling in the finger that has not changed in many months.

    It will probably depend on how deep your cut is and whether you severed nerves or not. Both the doctor who stitched it up and my regular dr thought it would go back to normal in two months. It never has and I suspect it never will.

    Alas, it could be much worse I guess. Good luck with your pinkie.

  7. // Reply

    something like that happen to me, but was with a gated fence wire. It happen 5-14-09 by and is still numb on the tip of my finger when will i get my feeling back?

  8. // Reply

    nah i think u got the lucky case for feeling numb, i got a bigger cut than yours a month ago, but only just one more stiches to yours, 10…. almost from the tip to the palm of my left index finger. and now got a big scar on it which it really hurts when stuff slightly pressed against it such as opening a heavy door…. no more guitar for me……

  9. // Reply

    You are only a month in Devric. Mine hurt a lot more after a month than it does now a year and a half later.

    I guess I shouldn't complain because others have things worse, but, well, it's my finger and it still bugs me with nagging pain, not much, but enough to bug me, every day of my life.

  10. // Reply

    I just had a cut like this and it looks exactly like the pic u have attached above. The doc has taken out my stitches but what i am more concerned about is the MARK! Did ur mark completely disappeared or it stayed? Please let me know.

  11. // Reply

    Yes, I guess I should put a picture up of my finger now. You can barely see the scar. Only if I look for it. Certainly nobody would notice it. However, I'd much rather have a scar and not the slight paralysis I now have because the nerve never healed back.

  12. // Reply

    Hey Dale i have a much worse cut than any of the stories ive read because i was going thru a glass door and slit my thumb breaking the glass on accident, now i have 13 stiches in my thumb and it was so scary it hurt so bad daily and just listening to you guys stories only make me worry about the feeling and pain which i have both so can you hollar back at me

  13. // Reply

    Amin, everyone's situation is different. My doctor thought I would get all feeling back but I didn't – presumably because some nerve didn't grow back that should have. It may be that you have better luck then I did. I hope so.

  14. // Reply

    As an American who just got 3 stitches in my finger I can tell you that is painful. I, too, cut toward myself. With no insurance at all I went to the ER, waited 3.5 hours to be seen while bleeding from my cut arterial vein. About 45 minutes of the wait was filling out paper work for all the bills I'll be getting soon since I'm one of the uninsured. I had insurance, lost my job…got a new job, and then it was cut to part time/no benefits only or get laid off. So, here I am trying to find 1,200 dollars to pay for my cut finger. I'll pay it…but it will strain me and means no vacation for my family this year.

  15. // Reply

    Can you please tell me if the numbness will be gone. We have the same cut its been a week but i can’t still feel nothing above the cut

    1. // Reply

      Stacey, the numbness never completely went away. It got much better over the ensuing months. But I rarely notice the ongoing numbness. You get used to it and don’t really notice it. I only really notice it when trying to do up my two year old’s little buttons and, sadly, when caressing my wife’s face. But, obviously, everyone is different. Your nerves may heal completely. I hope they do. Good luck.

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