Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To Lose One’s Thumb

By Joseph McCabe

          In the following interview, a series of questions are discussed between my Uncle Paddy and I. These questions pertain to the near severing of my Uncle’s thumb.

          What is the most frightening experience you have ever been in?
          “Definitely the day I nearly cut my entire thumb off.”
          How did it happen?
          “Well, it was two summers ago in mid August. We were working on your Cousin Mike’s house all day. Everyone at the house had gone out for lunch while I was stuck doing clean-up in the yard. I noticed the frame-work for the outside door was still not finished yet, so I decided to measure up some planks of wood. After measuring out the size of the doorway onto three eight-foot long planks, I figured I’d get to sawing them up. Taking off a solid foot on each of the left and right door frames, the top archway needed to be completed. It was only about twenty-seven inches wide for the doorway, so that in turn would be the length I needed of plank. When using the table-saw, you always wear a pair of goggles to keep the dust from hitting your eyes. For some reason, my goggles fogged up on me and I couldn’t see what had happened, but I ended cutting my thumb off down to a little thread of flesh.”
          How frightened were you?
          “Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it until I had gotten inside the house. I started to feel weak and when I turned around, there was a trail of blood leading up to my feet. That’s when I started screaming like a sissy-marry.”
          What was your initial reaction on seeking help?
          “I knew I shouldn’t have tried to drive myself to the nearest emergency room, so I wrapped the hand up in a towel and tried to get a hold of someone on the phone.”
          Why didn’t you call 911?
          “Mike’s house was a ‘hole in the wall’ type of place far upstate. It would have taken paramedics forever to get up there. I ended up calling Mike and telling him to get his ass back up to the house.”
          When you did get picked up and driven to the hospital, how long did it take before they could reattach your thumb?
          “Seeing as how it took us two hours to get back to Queens, plus another hour wait in the E.R., I nearly lost it. Two doctors and a surgeon took a look at it and put me under. They transferred me to North-Shore LIJ where I spent two days sleeping on account of all the blood I lost. They fixed me up and now my thumb is as hard as a diamond.”
          Any advice for my readers if they should ever find themselves in a fearful situation?
          “Yeah; don’t ever use a table-saw without someone there to spot you. So really just make sure you got a friend with you.”

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