When Sewing Machines Attack

Yesterday I was finishing up the quilting on a custom order with just a few inches of quilting to go.  Then I hear a clank, see the needle break, and look down to find a large piece of the needle lodged in my thumb.  Oops.  I looked at it for a minute in disbelief, wishing there was an undo button.  The needle exited my nail at a very different angle than it entered, and I hadn't a clue how it was going to come out.
the quilt
I called Phil, who was in the middle of a long training run without his phone.  Then I texted a friend, still sort of in shock.  Ice it, she said.  Yes, ice.  The ice numbed it right up.  I took another look hoping the ice had magically removed the needle but no such luck. 
the scene of the crime
I kept waiting, and decided to brush my teeth and get ready for a long day at the ER.  I sent Phil another message with a picture of my thumb and a simple plea - help!
hard to see her, but that black piece on the left is sticking straight out
He finally finished his run and came home mentally preparing himself to remove the needle with pliers.  He couldn't see the 90 degree angle the needle was protruding through, and once he saw this he quickly confirmed that we needed to go to the ER.

Fortunately it was a quiet Saturday morning there and it didn't take too long to be called back.  Everyone got that same look of horror on their faces when they saw why I was there.  They took some x-rays and decided that I needed to go see a hand surgeon at another hospital.  The dr then wrapped my arm up, which meant I could't keep it on ice.  Just a few minutes without ice made my thumb throb in pain, so I removed the wrapping and kept it on ice.
x-ray showing the piece at a 90 degree angle
the ER dr gave me a flipper
We got to the hospital and were ushered to my room - in the maternity ward.  I was hands down the skinniest chick in that area!  Apparently that's what was available and we were just happy to have a private room to wait in.

After a few hours the surgeon showed up, took a quick look, and told me the nail would have to be removed.  Then awhile later a nurse came in and had me throw on the attractive hospital gown and hop in the bed.  I was confused by this because my legs worked just fine and I figured I could just walk around - clearly this was my first time in this sort of situation.  They wheeled me off to the holding room where the anaesthesiologist asked me a few more questions.  Then I was wheeled to the theatre room (how fancy that makes the operating room sound!).  That was like a nascar event, several people all swooped on me at the same time inserting various things into various places.  They warned me the iv might sting when the needle pricked, but I figured it couldn't be as bad as the needle in my other hand.  Then they started counting down from 10, 9, 8...

And then I woke up feeling like I had just had the most amazing nap in the world.  My thumb was completely numb and I was feeling really good.  They wheeled me back into the room with a great big smile on my face.  I finally got to eat after a day of fasting.  After a few more nurse checks, I was good to go home.  Apparently during the surgery they removed my nail and then did another x-ray.  The needle had entered the nail, hit the bone, bent off of that and exited out the other side of my nail.  There was still a small piece of needle in the bone but the dr decided it was better to leave it there.
all smiles after waking up
Now my thumb is all wrapped up and will remain that way for a couple weeks.  I'll then have a check up with the nurse, and will see the dr in 6 weeks.  In the meantime, I'm going to buy a finger guard to install on my machine.  I don't need to do this all again!
my new thumb


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