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My Not So Free ‘Free Hawaiian Souvenir’

I was talking to Julie the other day and mentioned something about my finger, the surgery, etc…and she just looked at me puzzled. She hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. She asked if I had mentioned it on the blog, and I realized I had not. Well, it’s too good a story NOT to share…so here I am.
On our third full day in Hawaii, we traveled out to snorkel on Julie’s family’s favorite sandbar. Of course, it ended up pouring on us and we never did get to snorkel in that spot. Leonard was determined to find a spot for us to de-boat and float around a bit, so he beached us right up against Coconut Island (which is actually the island in the opening credits of Gillian’s Island!). A few of us decided to get in the water and float around; including Hope and I. It was still sprinkling a bit overhead and the girls outside the water were wet and chilled, but Hope and I were warm and happy exploring the waters just off the island.
As we made our way around the outside of the sea wall, Hope swam out a little and I was sandwiched between her and the rough sea wall, covered with all sorts of interesting sea life. As we made our way around a corner, I found myself a little too close to the sea wall and in true Emily fashion, scraped my knuckle on the rough service of the wall. I glanced over to see a tiny trickle of blood float up from my hand. BLOOD in the OCEAN! I giggled to myself. (Thankfully, no hungry sharks approached.) It hardly seemed like a big deal, so we continued on our little swim. Back on the boat, I wrapped the knuckle in towels and figured I’d clean it up when we got back to Leonard’s. Curiously, the wound seemed to have closed itself right back up by the time we got back to the house. I flushed it with peroxide and called it good.
Of course, over the next week we were in and out of waterfalls, ocean water, sand and all sorts of fun places. The knuckle was sore off and on and Amy was SURE it was infected, but I just brushed it off. Interestingly enough, we did manage to capture the ‘hot’ infection a couple of times in pictures.
(Yummy Dessert...and Hot Infection running down my finger - Awesome.)
(You may THINK we're looking at our rings, but we're actually staring at the red finger.)

By the time we got home a small white bump had appeared on my knuckle and all around it was quite sore. Matt kept telling me I had to ‘get that out’. So…I cut it back open with my tiny scissors and cleaned up the goo the seeped out. After a few days with a Band-Aid and Neosporin, I figured I was good to go. But…the knuckle took on a gnarly, arthritic sort of look. Amy was SURE I was going to lose my finger…so FINALLY I decided I’d better see a doctor.
I can’t tell you how silly I felt going to the doctor for a scraped knuckle. Turns out – it was a good thing I went. To make a long story shorter…the doctor took an x-ray and saw something suspicious on the film…and NO, it wasn’t alive. But it concerned her enough to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon. Oy Vey. A SCRAPED KNUCKLE people!?!? So I went…and a second x-ray confirmed I had some sort of Hawaiian debris in my knuckle! Could be coral, could be rock, could be concrete, could be fish scales…could be ANYTHING! Everyone in the office was a buzz with the excitement…’So, YOU’RE the one who went to Hawaii!?’, ‘Heck of a way to bring back a souvenir!’ Hardie har har. The doctor was fascinated. He couldn’t wait to get in there and get it out. And so, he scheduled me for a tiny, little outpatient procedure to remove my Hawaiian souvenir.
Heading into the ‘surgery’, I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I assumed we’d be sitting there and he’d take out a knife and cut it open. Amy asked if she could come with, only half joking. I quickly realized I was in for a bit more of a ‘procedure’ than I realized. Changed into the gown, footies, shower cap, the whole nine yards. (Where’s my Mommy, I started to whine to myself) I was all alone in the pre-op room, wondering what I had gotten myself into…stupid finger, stupid foreign body, I grumbled. Finally the doctor came in to numb up my hand with the longest needle I’m sure I’ve ever seen. First he froze my hand with some sort of spray, then he jabbed me 3 times with the needle…pretty sure it came through the other side, or so it felt. And then my hand was dead to me.
Walking into the operating room, I almost giggled out loud. Oh good grief…this is FULL ON SURGERY! It seemed so ridiculous, so much overkill…all for a scraped knuckle. That’s alllllll I could think…a stupid, silly scraped knuckle. They scrubbed my arm, and ‘prepped’ the site. I was almost hysterical. The doctor came in and asked if I liked his choice in music – classic rock, always a good choice. He hummed along as he got started. They draped a sheet between my arm and face so I couldn’t see at all what they were doing. I couldn’t even see THEM at all - all 5 people that were working on this important procedure. I felt a poke, a tug, some movement, some pressure…but it was all a mystery to me. ‘Cool!’ he exclaimed…I was free of my little Hawaiian stow away. He asked if I wanted to see the culprit. How could I refuse? I looked up to see his hand holding a long pair of surgical tweezers and at the end was a small white object. It was quite jagged and poky. It was larger than the tip of his tool and easily visible. He examined it a while and then proceeded to stitch things back up. Before long I was all bandaged up and wheeled (yes, wheeled in a wheelchair) back to the postop room. The poor post op nurse wanted so badly to baby me – bring me drinks and snacks and make sure I was feeling good, but I was ready to high tail it out of there and must have left about 10 minutes later…my hand still completely dead to me.
The doctor sent tissue samples away to culture, to be sure no ‘mysterious tropical bacteria’ was festering in my finger and thankfully, none has been found. I didn’t lose my finger, though the scar still makes my knuckle look gnarly and arthritic. I did however lose some $1000 (and then some) paying for the removal of my stupid ‘Free Hawaiian Souvenir’.
Each time I look down at the scar, or touch it, I can’t help but smile and remember that afternoon in the ocean with my sister at my side…it was a special afternoon…and an amazing trip overall. (Reflecting on my awesome Hawaiian scar.)
Just would have preferred to have a FREE Hawaiian scar…like the one on my foot from the first day at Lanikai…but that’s another story.

Comments

Emily said…
You are SUCH a weird-o. :D But in a good way.

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