Monday, September 19, 2016

Proceed With Caution

It started off  with a sunrise bike ride on Wednesday morning, Sept 14th. And from there I honesty can't remember what I did until 1:30 PM - but after that moment in time I have a very vivid memory....

Proceed with caution  - this is a safety reminder .... Sewing machines are power tools with thread and should be treated with respect..
My Janome is red but looks  just like this

Pixxie, my Professional Quilt Model, approves 
I was piecing a customer t-shirt quilt, a king-size with 42 blocks! I like to assemble my quilt by sewing columns instead of rows, doing two columns at a time. I had made progress the night before having pieced the first double column and posting my accomplishment on social media. On Weds I was back at the machine having  had just completed the next set of columns  and starting to join the blocks on the final two when things got a little out of whack....

As a back story I have had problems with my foot pedal sliding around on the vinyl tile recently I bought a foot pedal anti-slide do-hickey at a local Quilt Show...well, the thing-a-ma-jaggy was staying put in one place on the floor but my foot pedal was still sliding on top of it....

I was talking to my youngest son (28) while piecing....that in and of it's self was not a distraction - I'm not know to be silent very often and I do go on a lot of retreats and sew while talking....if fact, I'm rather a smokin' needle as I sew really fast and accomplish a lot when sewing with friends AND TALKING....No, the problem came when I reached down to adjust that run away foot pedal!

Its like texting when driving, or reaching over to retrieve something that has fallen out of the passenger take your eyes off the road for a split second and I can guarantee you will swerve.....apparently when I reached down to adjust the foot pedal I must have "accelerated" and I ran over my finger! Honestly I don't remember any pain, maybe just a tad like knocking your shin against a cabinet - you know you hit something but you don't know what or how.

I look over at my finger and said "@%*! I think I just sewed my finger!" As I looked at it there was a broken part of the needle sticking out of the top of my finger. I reached to pull it out and found that it was actually broken at the top of where it entered...

We interrupt this tale for a very important announcement. There was no blood on the quilt - I'm a professional ya'know!

Actually, there was no blood at all - it was a puncture wound going straight through my nail and into my finger. Not near as nauseating as it sounds, trust me. And not even painful at that time. I turned my finger over and saw a little "hill-rise" where the end of the needle was trying to come out the other end. My first thoughts was to squeeze my skin and hope it would pop out like a splinter perhaps needing to use a pair of pliers to pull it out....then I came to my senses, figuring I'd probably die from an infection or something tragic like that, so I asked my son to drive me to an ER...

This is the photo taken during that ride - you can see where I didn't bleed at all. Amazing isn't it?

On the way to the ER

So we head towards one of those urgent care ER places....had been there back in 2013 when I had a run in with a mandolin and lost part of my right hand pinkie

Side story - this is why they call me the Quilt Rambler because I do tend to ramble on with back stories...and yes, I'm hard on my hands - my family doesn't trust me with sharp objects - previously  in 2004 I had  a serious accident with a rotary blade -  if you look closely in the photo you will see where part of my index finger on the right is missing - but hey, I'm only at 30% of damaging my fingers ....

Back to my story ....we pulled up to the strip center where the ER USED TO BE!!!! Where was it?!

I think that was my first phone  to the rescue - they had moved about a mile away! Onward!

Do you know how embarrassing it is to admit that you are a "professional" sewer/quilter with a sewing machine needle lodged in your finger? I had to actually explain the anatomy of a needle and draw out what part was well as explain that it was a titanium coated needle with two parts left at home and the sharp pointed part inside my finger. I was surprised they didn't take x-rays. I told them of my idea of just pulling it out from the other side and that seemed to make sense to them so my finger was numb and they started digging...with permission to make a cut in my flesh...this was the first I had bleed...and they couldn't seem to dislodge the needle...apparently it was in the the decision was made to send me to a hand info was faxed to an office near by but those doctors were in surgery and the ER then tried to find another doctor that would see then hours had gone by...

I have to interject that during this entire time I had people praying for me and God was answering those prayers, as I was calm, clear headed, and without pain.

God was also "going before me" and preparing the way, and blessing me along the way.

The ER informed me that they weren't going to charge me since they could do nothing to help me. What a blessing!

I neglected to mention that my son and husband had traded places with each other at the ER so my husband was able to drive me to see the hand surgeon. I was so grateful that he worked me in near the close of business.  He examined my finger and sent me for x-rays...after viewing them  he said that he could probably clean it up in the office but would rather do surgery to make sure everything was done properly so I wouldn't end up with a bone infection...I figured he was the professional so I would let him decide how he wanted to do his job. I was sent home with antibiotics and pain medicine with an early appointment the next morning at the hospital.

When I got home I wanted to see the leftover parts of the needle.

I don't know if Superior Threads would consider this a positive endorsement or not - but this is a testimony on how strong their needles are. Had this not be titanium coated it's very likely that it would have shattered or splintered into small parts potentially causing more I didn't get to see the x-ray I didn't know if the tip was intact but I knew it was lodged in my bone.

Again, I have to give God the glory as I was not experiencing any pain! However, I didn't sleep well awaiting surgery the next morning. It had been about 35 years since I'd had my one and only surgery of having my wisdom teeth removed.  I honestly didn't know what to expect.

God minsters to me a lot through music and of course reminders of verses I've committed to memory. Thursday morning we had to be there at 0600 knowing that surgery would be after 1000 as the doctor was squeezing me in after two previously schedule major hand surgeries. It would be a long wait, but again I was grateful that he had agreed to take me on as a patient.  After lots of paperwork I found myself getting a little nervous in the waiting room. I had brought my iPod and this song ministered to me.

"Strong Enough" by Matthew West

You must
You must think I'm strong
To give me what I'm going through
Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I'm wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own
I know I'm not strong enough to be
everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us
Well, maybe
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out
I know I'm not strong enough to be
Everything that I'm supposed to be
I give up
I'm not strong enough
Hands of mercy won't you cover me
Lord right now I'm asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Cause I'm broken
Down to nothing
But I'm still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don't have to be
Strong enough

While listening to this song the nervous twitch in my leg calmed as did my soul. I was in God's hands, He had provided a hand surgeon to take care of my hand! I could breath again.

Moments later I was transferred to pre-op, so much better to wait there stretched out in a bed in those oh-so-fashionable hospital gowns than in a crowded waiting room! I was visited often by nurses and the anthologists telling me what would be happening. It was then that I learned my bone was fractured...and I learned that instead of general  anaesthesia they were going to use a Bier Block (pronounced beer) which would shorten my recovery time and allow me to go home sooner! You should google this - I found it very interesting!

The worst part about this whole ordeal was the IV's. I have very small veins and it is a  minimum of two pricks to find the vein. Thankfully they numb the area before attempting...needless to say 4 days post surgery these are the only areas of discomfort. Did make it hard to grip the steering wheel driving myself to church on Sunday...Sigh...

So I'm told the surgery was only about 10 minutes long...he did remove a bone fragment....I'm still waiting to see the actual x-rays and hope to be able to view it on my follow-up visit next week. In the meantime I've got a splint and a honkin' bandage that I'm tempted to draw a smily face on or at least a quilting feather design (grin). I have continued to be pain free and am praising God for that! So many have said they were praying for me and believe me, I like the way that makes me feel!

I've also done a little research on others who have sewn through their fingers - most are on the fleshy side and it passes straight through or they are able to remove with pliers...and from their descriptions it must have been excruciating. I don't know why mine hasn't hurt - maybe because it hit bone? I don't know. But I looked up the anatomy of a finger and found it fascinating. I am so hopeful that I will get to see my x-rays of "what used to be there".

Some would assume that this is a common occurrence among sewing machine operators, but I beg to differ! It was an accident, if it had been done on purpose it would be sad indeed, but accidents do happen no matter what your profession.

OH! I almost forgot...when I was joking around prior to surgery with my nurses and doctors I told them to watch for the thread and tell me if it was still in the eye of the needle (grin).  After surgery they presented me with the needle point in a little jar as a souvenir and confirmed there was thread!

All parts of the needle are accounted for

I came home and decided it was TV and bon bons for me...actually TV and dark chocolate (grin). I don't remember much of Friday...did manage to get a little quilting in on Saturday by finishing the piecing of the t-shirt quilt and now have it on the longarm frame to quilt...after quilting a little baby quilt too..I think I was an over achiever and found myself napping on the couch after worship on Sunday and finishing off the evening with more TV  - not my usual that's for sure - I really don't like just laying around...

So the moral of this story dear friends is  don't forget that your sewing machine is a power tool not a toy! We get so comfortable with things that seem routine and forget to respect the seriousness of what we are doing - whether it be driving, sewing, or even preparing meals. One friend at church liken my story to sin - that we get numb to the sin around us and forget to be cautious, don't always flee temptation and then end up hurt! But isn't it a wondrous thing that God is always there to rescue and restore us!

I'm thinking I need to get back to the basics!
...this is a sewing uses very very sharp needles....

Thanks for listening! karen

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