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.