Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stop picking!

Yesterday afternoon was much more exciting than I had wanted it to be. A few weeks ago I had damaged the nail on my left thumb at the bottom down by the cuticle and it ended up with a detatched portion. I had carefully trimmed off the detatched portion and thought things were going well because the surface underneath was a bit irritated but still hard. This last week, that layer got rough and irritated and I started picking at it (yes I know I shouldn't, it's the worst of my odd little compulsions) and then it got caught on something and some tore off. The area then got inflamed and distended and by yesterday was very swollen and sore. I was concerned that it was getting infected so we went into the Urgent Care clinic. I had forgotten the interesting range of people you see in the waiting room there. Eventually I made it back to see the doctor and it turns out there were a number of things going on. The first was that the hard layer I had noticed when I first took the damaged portion of the nail off was actually the bottom layer of the nail. When that got damaged and torn this week it irritated everything underneath which caused swelling and blood and other stuff also started collecting which is what caused the area to get distended. I agreed to let her to lift the swollen area and lance it which was an interesting experience. She did a digital block, which is doing injections of a numbing agent at each side of the base of the finger, and after everything was numb went in and did the draining. She said it looked like it was starting to get infected, so I left with a prescription for antibiotics, a dressing that made my thumb look like a small sausage and instruction to change bandages twice a day unless it got wet, and soak the thumb when I do the change.

So, what have I learned from this?

1. The main thing is the title of this post: don't pick! If I'd left it alone I would've been just fine and I could've skipped this whole ordeal.

2. A digital block takes a long time to completely wear off. I was pretty impressed with how good my thumb felt a few hours afterwards, what I didn't realize is that the digital block hadn't completely worn off, when it did my thumb felt like someone had smashed it multiple times with a sledgehammer. Thankfully it feels a lot better today.

3. It's really hard to soak a portion of your hand in warm water when you have cats in the house. I had to keep shooing Rogue away from the water, she seemed to thing it was there for her to drink and play with. The good thing is that the soaking seems to reduce the pressure even if I do have to have feline supervision to do it.

4. It is really hard to do much of anything, particularly make dinner, with your thumb wrapped up to look like a small sausage.

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