I am patient number 021141510/001 at the Royal Alex hospital right here in Edmonton. Or at least I was a 10.30 last night --- hey, they don't reuse those numbers, do they?
Why was I at the emergency room? Well, it involved lube and my wedding ring...
A few weeks ago, I had a swollen knuckle and wound up changing my wedding ring to the other hand because it was too painful to take on and off. After a week or so, finger back to normal, wedding ring back on wedding ring finger, ooh blah dee, ooh blah dah, life goes on.
Thursday that knuckle was swollen a bit again, looking like I had hit it or jammed it in the door or something. Yes, again. What kind of idiot does that twice? My kind of idiot, apparently.
Yesterday it was sore, and then last night, when K's brother and sister-in-law were over for dinner, I could not get my ring off and my finger was really starting to ache. So later in the evening I asked for help to get my ring off my finger (hey, pull my finger...).
As none of my dinner companions is a medical doctor or a magical wizard, they had no further knowledge than I did, so we did what the medically curious have been doing since the dawn of time: googled "I cannot get my wedding band off". And got like 37 thousand hits, including lists, videos, Australian nurses, people disagreeing with each other, lots of information about weight gain during pregnancy, pictures of some pretty nasty jammed fingers, and some whackjob blaming the aliens.
The suggestions ranged from "pull harder" to having a surgeon cut the ring off, and hope to save your finger.
We tried moistening the ring and finger to slide it off, with soap, hand lotion, lube. We tried taping my fingers and cutting off circulation to make the finger and knuckle smaller. We tried some weird origami thing with dental floss to thread it off. That one took three people and hurt like hell. And didn't work.
After all this my knuckle was swollen like a painful pineapple. And I had gone from casually wondering what happened to freaking out that some third world medic was going to have to amputate my finger. And maybe a leg or two.
So off to the emergency room we went, at 10.30 on a Friday night.
First discovery -- "off to the emergency room" is easier said than done. We parked on the street near the well-lit main entrance, which was closed. Apparently it's a food court. We then wandered hospital building to hospital building until we found the non-lit emergency sign and went in.
No big line-up, then a friendly welcome by the triage nurse, then the slowest paperwork clerk ever, like Carol Burnett as Mrs. Wiggins only slower and not funny. We grew visibly older as she typed key by key by key. Aaaaargh!
After a quick five minutes in the waiting room, called in by cute gay doctor, who calls over other cute gay doctor, who examine my finger, warn me about the forthcoming pain, oil me up, and get to work. They slowly got it off. It hurt like hell. I was brave and solemn. Except for the whining, sweating, whimpering, and thinking I was gonna pass out. Yep, brave and solemn.
Their advice? The ring may be too small, and looks like I jammed or banged it pretty badly. So be less of a douche and start paying attention to what the hell I am doing with my finger...
3 hours ago