Respect the Digits

Every finger's worst enemy: my husband.

Times my husband has almost lost a finger: at least 5

Age at which I taught my children my cell phone number in case of a finger emergency: 7 months

Miles away of the nearest urgent care: 4

My husband wants to lose a finger. In the 16 1/2 years I have known him, there is way too much evidence to support this fact.

I grew up with a sister. Boys were mystical creatures to me; they took joy in burping and ran out in front of cars and showed off abrasions, contusions and broken limbs like badges of honor. I mean, I got hurt as a kid, but more because of wacky luck or poor coordination… not risk-taking.

So I got a call yesterday:



“Heeyyy… what’s up?” (My husband does not tend to call from work for idle chit-chat.)

“Soooo. I thought I should tell you: I almost cut my finger off today.”



“Which tool did it this time?”


“Scissors? Like, scalpel-ish scissors?”

“No. Just regular ones… I was opening a box.”

Yeah. I’ve opened lots of boxes. I still have all elements of my fingers intact. Him, not so much. He spent part of the day at two different urgent cares, one with a doctor who wanted to pull the (large) flap of skin back apart to put stitches in it. My husband said, Ummm, no.

This is not the first time I have received a call like that. He likes to build things and nail and screw and cut and hammer and saw and demolish things. Each activity involves potential injury.

I got back from writing group about a month ago, and my husband walked up to me with a large bandage around a different finger. He had bashed it really hard with a hammer. Nerves don’t work the same way when they get flattened.

Before we got married, he was detailing a car, and a piece of metal sliced up into a different finger. That one required surgery and resulted in forever-after wonky fingernail growth.

One time, when our son was a year old, my sister came over to babysit so my husband and I could go on a hot date to the local Mexican restaurant. We really didn’t get out much, so I was more excited than that particular activity probably warranted. My husband went outside to cut a few more pieces of wood for our fireplace so my sister and our son could be nice and toasty warm while we were gone.

Another finger almost severed.

Note to all axe-wielders out there: holding the piece of wood you are about to cut necessitates moving one’s hand as the axe is lowered.

Luckily for us, we had a babysitter! (But no dinner.) We spent that evening at the emergency room.

An interesting fact about my husband: he has a genetic adaptation probably passed down from other crazy pioneer-type folk in his family tree… he is a Super-Healer.

You know those sped-up movies of seedlings growing or the sun coming up in the sky and then setting really fast? My husband’s skin is like that. He even has an annoying way of getting a mosquito bite right now and by this second, it’s not even there anymore. (Someday I will post a super-sized photo of my three-week-long, elephant-man-style mosquito bites. I did not acquire this genetic mutation from my ancestors.)

So last night, about three hours after the doctor squished his skin all back together and wrapped it in neon green gauze, my husband was itching to get that stuff off. The doctor said to leave it on for three days, but my husband was having none of it. His skin was on super-speed to get healed, and that gauze was only hindering its process.

After yesterday, there is both good news and bad news. The good: my husband is up-to-date on his tetanus shot. The bad: I thought he was safe at work and that these injuries occurred only at home. Our kids know my cell phone number; now I have to teach it to his co-worker.


19 thoughts on “Respect the Digits

  1. Holly says:

    Oh, no. I saw the blog title and artwork and was afraid to scroll down. Tell him I’m so sorry. The scissor cut sounds horrible! I thought he was safe at work, too. 😦

  2. Daryl says:

    At least being both a microbiologist and a physiologist, I know how to care for the wound. BTW, the Steristrip stitch is already gone, and I’ve sterilized it and rewrapped it. I feel a little like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse. Maybe you can buy me my own suture and needle kit for my birthday.

  3. Melissa says:

    OK, It’s not funny that he got hurt but I am sitting here laughing. I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. Do you know how many times he would come in from the garage to get a paper towel and wash something because he had just hurt himself? Flying balsa wood comes to mind. Tracy would just stay out in the garage and wait because he knew your dearly beloved would return shortly, right as rain. He always had a sheepish grin on his face when he had these accidents. Does he still have the disgustingly high metabolism to go with the his Super Healer powers?

  4. Jenn Schiess says:

    Oh, I can so relate except that at least yours will actually go to the doctor. Once Robert cut his thumb on a very, very rusty pair of garden shears while trying to use them to cut an inappropriately large limb. The following conversation ensued:
    Him: Hey, look at this? Does this look bad to you?
    Me (choking back vomit): Um, yes, you need to go to urgent care.
    Him: I don’t have time.
    Me: When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?
    Him: I don’t know.
    Me: Since college? (I know the answer to this question because I’ve known him since college, and I know he has never gotten a tetanus shot because he would have been overly proud of himself about it.)
    Him: No, I don’t think so.
    Me: It’s been too long. You have to go to urgent care and at least get a tetanus shot.
    Him: I don’t have time.
    Me: Do you have time for lockjaw?

    He went to urgent care and got the shot. He complained a lot, but he thought it was cool that they used super glue to reassemble his thumb–so there’s the up side. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t been to the doctor since then. Hope you are well! By the way, loved your post about being bored. Pretty sure I lolled around with you proclaiming boredom more than once–good times. 🙂

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, you were the loller I was thinking about. ; ) And also, yes, my hubby has had the super glue cure… I think it’s a Y chromosome cool factor thing. I’m glad yours has you around to give him that extra push to get the tetanus shot. Lockjaw doesn’t sound like a walk in the park.

  5. crubin says:

    Sounds like the two of you need to carry a baggy full of ice with you at all times. Never know when you might need to keep a finger on ice. And now, please make sure your husband never does lose a finger, or this comment will make me look like a monster!

    • annewoodman says:

      He really creates his own trouble, so any suggestions from you shouldn’t worry me too much. You know, he does have an awful lot of coolers that aren’t being used at his office. I’m thinking I should leave one in the minivan at all times–and pick up a cup full of ice at the drive thru in a pinch.

  6. steveandmo says:

    My first thought was that we should get our husbands together, and then I realized what a bad idea that would be. My husband manages to break/sprain/pull various body parts right before we are leaving on major trips. The evening before a two-week vacation to Europe, he made an “innocent” layup at a neighbor’s driveway basketball hoop. He “came down wrong,” and we spent the night in the emergency room with me fearing we would miss our flight. The upside? His crutches got us priority boarding on all of our flights during the trip. Now, before a trip, he signs a pledge that no matter what I still get to go on the trip with him or without him. It’s sort of like caveat emptor (buyer beware), but it’s out-of-shape athlete beware.

  7. Daryl says:

    BTW, Duct tape is a great way to stick body parts back together. Just make sure you use sterile gauze and Hydrogen Perioxide or Iodine before putting all the parts back together.

  8. Stephanie says:

    This would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous! Ha! Actually, it IS funny. Until he actually does lose a finger.

  9. Victoria says:

    I’ll note your cell phone for any future Daryl’s-cut-off-his-finger-again emergencies. But no promises that I’ll be helpful. Last time, I almost passed out from the sight of all the blood.

  10. Victoria says:

    Will do. I am a bit more cautious than Daryl, knowing that I don’t have vampire type healing blood. Plus, I typically make him do anything that involves sharp objects or is up high.

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