First of all, Mom, it’s not that bad… only the tippity-top of my left middle finger, and no worse than the last time I did it.
OK, so I planned a barbecue for last Saturday for the second round of March Madness, inviting over several folks from the Consulate and a couple of friends from bowling/softball. It was wildly successful, culminating in 8 pounds of Carolina-style chopped barbecue and 8 racks of St. Louis-cut ribs with three sauces (Memphis, eastern Carolina, and South Carolina). People brought sides and booze. Perfect day, no? I woke up at 6 a.m. to get things going, pulled all the food together at about 3:00 p.m., and began chopping the pork shoulder.
I was running through it at a good pace, having broken down about 75 percent of it in under 15 minutes with my biggest, sharpest knife. Everyone was excited for the food, asking me how I made the barbecue, how I made the sauces, etc. and one even daring to ask me how I hadn’t cut my finger off yet (in a joking way…. thanks!!!). Not three seconds later, I feel that horrible feeling when you know you’ve hurt yourself, before the pain arrives. That “Awww, sh*t!” moment anyone who cooks a lot has had. I look down, and there’s a nice little chunk of my left middle finger that’s now missing. I’ll spare any more gory details.
So, having done this before (about 6 years ago to my left thumb), I know what to do. String around the base of the finger to stem the bleeding, iodine to kill the bacteria, anti-bacterial ointment on the wound, a silicon barrier between the wound and the gauze, and some medical tape. Done and done. Last time I was foolish enough to go into the hospital and the doctor asked me, “What am I supposed to do with this?”, sprinkled some styptic powder on it, dressed it, and sent me on my way after reminding me that you don’t apply pressure to finger-tip wounds, you cut circulation off to them (duh!).
So, everyone at the party is like, “OMG, you need to go to the hospital!” My wife asks me what I want to do, and I say, “Enjoy my barbecue.” Here’s the thing….. I did everything that I needed to do to my finger in a faster amount of time and in a cleaner environment than if I had gone to the hospital here in Santo Domingo. I have absolutely NO IDEA what the medical standards are here, really don’t want to chance picking up some critter in the E.R. and losing more than the tip of my finger, and have all the supplies and the know-how to use them. What’s the problem here?
My only issue was the excruciating pain that set in a few hours later… the Med Unit wasn’t about to help me out with that, so I found a nice, non-controlled substance from the local farmacia, and got 10 tablets. Pain: managed.
I’m really of the impression that unless I’m dying (or any member of my family is, for that matter), or it’s a medical issue and not a trauma issue, I’ll stick to treating my own family rather than risking life and limb in Dominican hospitals. It’s why I have such a kick-ass first-aid kit.