Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

My very scary hospital adventure

It was all the fault of the Marine Corps. I ended up at Manatee Memorial Hospital’s emergency room on a Sunday morning at 9 a.m. because of the way I was taught to shave in basic training.

As recruits, we were instructed to shave as close as possible to avoid having late-afternoon facial hair. It’s the same today. Look at recruits in Marine basic training, and most seem to have facial skin that is covered in sores and cuts. That’s from shaving too close.

For most of us, our faces heal after basic training and we’re not shaving as often.

My adventure began one day when I was shaving my chin, and I accidentally nicked myself. I thought the bleeding would stop soon, and it did – after I went to work with a Band-Aid on my chin. Even then, blood still seeped out.

For a couple of weeks, I had tried to shave around the cut, then decided to stop shaving altogether. Still, I had a pimple of sorts there, and occasionally I would touch it.

On the day before my hospital visit, I drove to a local car dealer to buy a new car. On the way there, I realized that I had opened the cut again. I went into a men’s room and managed to stop the bleeding, but it might have just been bleeding into my beard.

I bought the new car and later left for work. That night, I came home and went to bed. The next morning, I awoke and realized that there was blood on my pillow. I raced to the bathroom and tried to stanch the bleeding, but it kept on going. Mind you, I wasn’t bleeding profusely, just in a way that meant Band-Aids were soaked in 10 seconds. I was going through towels, dripping some blood on the floor and finally reached the terrible realization that I had to go to the emergency room.

While keeping pressure on my chin, I managed to get dressed without bleeding on my clothing, then collected a couple of towels, checked my wallet for my insurance card and headed for the hospital.

Manatee Memorial’s configuration is such that I had to make a left turn at a long light, then go around the long way to get to the ER. I had a towel against my chin and bled on the seat belt as I drove to the hospital. Finally, I got there, parked the car, locked it and walked into the emergency room.

The nurses at the desk moved quickly, as my towel was very bloody. Soon, I had a bandage tied around my head, with gauze on my chin. After taking my information, the nurse moved me to a room to be treated. I was given a package of gauze and advised to keep pressure on the wound. Another nurse came in about 10 minutes later and we began the long process of getting me fixed up.

Efforts to stop the bleeding had proved unsuccessful, so the hospital wanted to do a blood workup on me. They were worried that if they stuck me on the arm for a blood sample, I might not stop bleeding. Finally, they decided to risk it. Needless to say, the blood sample taking went off without a hitch, and I soon stopped bleeding from the needle cut in my arm.

The “facial laceration” on my chin continued to flow, and I was getting worried. I mean, what if the blood test revealed something awful, like leukemia or another type of cancer? I have had very little contact with medical professionals in the past several years simply because I feel fine and haven’t had any injuries.

Finally, a doctor arrived and checked me over. I was given a choice to have cauterization or stitches, or both. I choose the latter. A nurse came in and gave me a couple of local anesthetics so I wouldn’t faint when she began cauterizing the wound and sewing it up.

“How is my blood?” I asked.

“Perfect,” she said. “No problems at all. You are in great health.”

That was a relief.

I lay back as instructed, and saw that she had a device like a soldering iron. I felt nothing, but smelled burnt flesh for a moment as she cauterized the wound.

She inspected her work, then asked again about the stitches.

“Go ahead,” I said.

So she put two stitches on there, and the bleeding was stopped now.

“You have to have your own doctor take out the stitches soon,” she told me.

I left the hospital after about three and a half hours and thanked my lucky stars for insurance.

About a week later, I had the stitches removed. I refuse to shave that area now, and am careful about how deeply I try to shave.

Believe me. Lesson learned.


May 21, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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