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Don’t play the Should Have / Shouldn’t Have Game, because you’ll lose

I took Dan to his first of what will probably be many orthopedic visits yesterday afternoon. The verdict so far is that he indeed did a number on both fingers (right middle and ring): no bone involvement, thank goodness, but deep gashes that include the tendons that run along the top of each finger. Thus far Dan does have some movement in each finger, so that’s good, but the damage and swelling is so bad right now that it’s hard to tell how much damage there really is. We head back next Tuesday to discuss whether or not to proceed with surgery.

For now, Dan’s fingers are individually bandaged and wrapped, and his entire hand is splint and wrapped almost all the way to his elbow – he only has his thumb available for use. And of course luck would have it that this happened to his dominant hand. Vicodin, ice packs, pillows, and sleep are all his best friends right now.

Pictures (warning: GORY) after the cut.
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“A freak accident”

Wiktionary’s definition of a freak accident is:

an incident, especially one that is harmful, occurring under highly unusual and unlikely circumstances

I think that adequately describes what happened to Dan last night, which has resulted in serious injuries to his right middle and ring fingers. It was a little after 5pm, and we were in the kitchen working on dinner in preparation for having everything ready at 6:00pm, when Jason would be joining us: a pot roast was in the crock pot, potatoes had just been put into the oven, and I was making honey cinnamon butter for yeast rolls that Dan was mixing the dough for. We had just gotten together the extra ingredients for a double batch and they were in our mixer – a 40+ year old Kitchenaid Classic Stand Mixer with the dough hook attachment and glass bowl (these minute details are important).

Maybe it was because there were only a few inches between the mixer and the edge of the counter. Maybe it was because we doubled the bread recipe, and it was a sticky, cling-to-the-dough-hook recipe to begin with. Maybe it was just our piss-poor luck. Whatever the case, while I was working on the butter and we were babbling about whether or not he should have added extra flour to the bread dough, the mixer vibrated itself off of the counter and onto the floor. It landed on its side but continue to mix on the lowest setting (stir) – the head was locked down, the dough hook was still securely attached and turning, and the glass bowl was still locked onto the base. Only the whole mixer was lying on the floor, on its side.

Because of the mixer’s cord being snaked behind our flour and sugar storage bins, the easiest and quickest solution wasn’t to yank on the plug to turn off the mixer, but to reach for the mixer itself and flip the switch off – I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. I can’t stress this enough: I WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING. It was on the lowest speed (stir), the head was locked down, and the dough hook attachment and bowl were both securely attached to the mixer stand. All that needed to be done was to reach for the switch on the side of the mixer to turn it off, and/or to flip the mixer over into its normal standing position and then shut it off, then pick it up and plop it back on the counter and continue on.

Since Dan was closest to the mixer when it fell, this is what he did, before either of us could say or do anything. But see my blog title up there, and the definition of a freak accident? Well, the very second he made contact with the mixer and moved to stand it upright and reach for the switch to turn it off, the heavy glass bowl unlocked from the base and swiveled around, and its glass handle got hit by the still-spinning dough hook attachment, which instantly shattered the bowl into thick chunks and drove one of them straight into his hand.

I didn’t see this happen, mind you. I saw the bowl shatter, I heard him yell, and then in the next instant he is holding his hand at face level and there is blood EVERYWHERE. There was a flurry of him saying, “this is going to need stitches”, me grabbing a dish towel and wrapping up his hand tightly, me shutting off the slow cooker and oven, us yelling for the kids and hustling out to the car, and then driving as fast as possible to the ER.

Fast forward four hours, several blood-soaked gauze pads, 30-some stitches later and a temporary cast/splint later: the two deep, awful wounds on Dan’s right middle finger and ring finger were stitched up, but only after being injected with Lidocaine (that was awful to watch, but obviously necessary). He was also given Vicodin for pain, and a Tetanus shot. They did an x-ray to confirm no random particles or bone damage. The bad news is the tendons in both fingers were damaged, so we’re leaving in a few minutes for a 2pm appointment with an orthopedic specialist to find out if surgery is going to be necessary to repair them.

Many thanks to Jason for understanding about our dinner cancellations (and helping with food for the sprogs since our dinner plans were interrupted), to my mom and brothers for coming to the hospital and picking up the kids and taking them home, and to Alyssa and my mom for cleaning up the kitchen!


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Home sweet home

This morning I picked up Felix and a big bag of medicine (antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, bladder relaxant, pain medication) & food (Hill’s Prescription Diet C/D dry and wet). He looked so much better than he did on Monday, and once we were in the car and I opened his carrier to pet him his Raptor Purrs (as I call them) kicked into high gear. He’s been home now for about seven hours, and has been hanging in our bedroom: eating, drinking, sleeping, cozying up to us when we go in to visit with him, and yes, peeing.

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Sick cat, sick kids, sick Jenn

Felix:
Felix was re-cathed successfully, but while his boy parts are inflamed on the outside, his urine is clear and flowing easily – so the consensus is that he’s still sore on the inside, but is otherwise “okay”. He is coming home tomorrow, and we’ll schedule PU surgery for two weeks from tomorrow. However, I’m only going to subject him to that if I can’t keep him peeing easily/frequently with no signs of struggle or discomfort via a very specific diet.

Sprogs:
After two visits to the doctor and one visit to Urgent Care that resulted in a visit to the ER, and three weeks of various symptoms, we’ve got a diagnosis for Alyssa: bronchitis. She missed one day of school last week, and three days this week.
Ryan missed yesterday due to an ear infection. The kids are getting the Germ Ball rolling early this year – we’re usually not making visits to the doctor for sick kids until mid-November.

Me:
I ran out of my Zoloft (I take 100mg per day) about five days ago, but between the kids and the cat I didn’t notice until this afternoon – 18 hours after headaches, constant nausea, and vomiting set in. I initially thought it was the weather, then perhaps the flu shot I received yesterday afternoon, and then I realized it might actually be withdrawal, or a combination of all three. Blech. I spent all of today in bed. Dan is on his way home from the pharmacy with Zoloft and anti-nausea meds.


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Felix update: still at the vet, but getting better

Because of Felix’s miserable ordeal with a urinary tract blockage, all six of our fur babies are going to be switched to a feline diet consisting of 75% canned / homemade blends / raw. Any insight/recommendations would be VERY helpful and VERY much appreciated. (Yes, I’m talking to the vet, and also Googling like crazy. Still, personal experience-based insights are always a great thing to have!)

Quick Felix update: he was un-cathed on Thursday evening, did very well on his own overnight, but was re-cathed early this afternoon due to exhibiting signs of another block, or significant inflammation in his urinary tract. The vet also gave him an anti-inflammatory and additional pain medication. Felix is eating and drinking well, and is alert (well, as alert as a heavily medicated cat can be) and seeking affection from the staff. The vet is optimistic that the second cath/UT-clearing procedure will be effective. But, on the off chance that it isn’t, he will proceed with a feline perineal urethrostomy – a procedure that physically shortens and widens the penis in order to create a wider urethra. (Would it be terribly un-PC of me to refer to Felix as our tranny AIDS cat? (I sincerely mean no offense to anyone of any sexuality, or to anyone with HIV.))

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(Cross-posted everywhere.)

(Obligatory SEO tags in the hopes of connecting with cat owners dealing with similar feline health issues: cat UTI, cat urinary obstruction, cat urinary block, cat urethral obstruction, cat UTI prevention food, raw diet for cats, homemade food for cats, feline PU surgery, feline perineal urethrostomy, FLUTD)


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