This knife of Sheffield steel

I’ve been writing about my arthritic finger recently, including a good helping of melodrama and a shameless bid for sympathy. However, this isn’t the silliest finger injury I’ve ever had.

I was once trimming some leaflets for Julia using a steel rule and a Stanley knife. In order to do them more quickly I started making the piles of leaflets higher, pressing the blade down more firmly and cutting more quickly. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

After spending a few minutes on The Stupidity of Husbands who Bleed on Leaflets (which would make a good title for a book on marriage) she decided I needed to go to hospital.

“Don’t be silly.” I said. “All it needs is running under the tap and I’ll stick a plaster on it. Oh!”

The “Oh!” represents the noise I made when the force of the water peeled the top of my finger back and left it hanging by a thread of skin. It wasn’t a very big bit, no more than a quarter inch at most, and it didn’t hurt.

First stop was the doctor. It wasn’t an emergency so hospital wasn’t an option. Wrong. Doctors don’t do stitches anymore and it apparently was an emergency. (As you can see from the fact I was later to go to hospital with a swollen finger I was to adopt this approach).

There was a woman in the emergency department with skinned knuckles. That definitely wasn’t an emergency. How I scoffed. In fact I scoffed for ages because there was a long wait and I had not yet perfected my A&E skills. I now take a book, maybe two. And I don’t take a drink – you won’t enjoy it because you’ll worry about needing the toilet and missing your name being called. After two kids who did aikido and rugby I’ve become something of an expert at waiting. I was also, briefly, a bit of a legend in the dojo. They were all worried that I’d be freaked out by Number One son’s cut brow and bloody appearance, but calmed down when I said I intended going home to select a good book and have a nice cup of tea before going for a three or four hour wait.

Eventually they took me through to a curtained cubicle where a man came in and asked when I’d last had a tetanus inoculation. I couldn’t remember so I had to take my trousers down.

Yes, I thought it was a bit strange too, more like a game of Forfeits than a medical , though in the days before they all had ID badges you tended to believe that all people who gave you orders in hospital were staff. Fortunately he put my mind at rest by stabbing me in the leg with a needle. It was larger than the normal syringe they use so 25 years later I’m still left with a slight doubt in my mind as to whether he was a nurse or a keen amateur injector.

(To be continued…)

4 thoughts on “This knife of Sheffield steel

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