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Am I a Klutz?

Somehow, I’ve ended up in the ER in most every city I’ve lived in. Not for anything serious, mind you. It’s a little embarrassing actually.

I came home from college to my hometown of Greenwich, CT, and played outdoors paddle tennis for the first time. Within a few minutes, I had struck myself in the face near my left eyebrow with the paddle. Off to Greenwich Hospital to get stitches. I still have the visible scar today.

While in business school in St. Louis, I tripped while jogging and tore the skin off my right knee. I limped over to the nearby hospital and was cleaned up and bandaged. No need for x-rays or sutures. Not sure why I thought a visit to the ER was necessary or appropriate. The attending doctor shooed away the nurse and took care of me, then asked me on a date! Yep, times were different back then.

I was preparing potatoes au gratin and slicing the potatoes really thin by using a mandoline for the first time. Sure enough, I sliced the pad of my right pinkie off. I bandaged it up with many layers of gauze and got through the evening with our guests, but at bedtime discovered the wound was still bleeding and drove myself to the ER in nearby Highland Park, IL. The doctor put a special mesh cover on the wound and assured me the pad would grow back. Amazingly it did!

Most recently, I went to a delicious dumpling restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown, and as I was removing my cardigan, my left index finger struck the wall and promptly started bleeding. I had sliced a c-shaped section off my knuckle on a razor-sharp metal divider strip on the wall. The staff jumped into action as my finger bled profusely. After washing it in the bathroom sink, I put multiple Band-Aids on tightly, provided by the restaurant. One waiter showed me the cuts on his hands from the same metal strip. They felt very badly and gave us a free appetizer and 15% off our meal.

It wasn’t until bedtime, 5 hours later, when I removed the tight bandage and the wound immediately started gushing blood, that I realized I may need stitches. Off I went to the ER nearest our home in Lakeview. It was the Saturday night before Halloween and I was hoping to make it there before the likely rush of costumed injuries. I did have the place to myself, although the medical staff was not thrilled with me remarking on how quiet it was. Two stitches later, on my way out, a band of very inebriated people were rushing in with a girl who had fallen on the sidewalk and hurt herself.

What do I make of this? Maybe I’m a klutz. Not very coordinated. I am not sure how to explain this. I have tremendous respect for ER staff who have to contend with minor injuries like mine and do so with patience and compassion.

YOUR TURN: What about you? Have you ever had to visit the ER for a small injury? Tell me I’m not alone! Please share your stories in the comments below.

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  1. Catherine Sweeney

    I used a can opener to open a can of cat food. This was before they made the pull-tab types. It didn’t open all the way and I cut my finger trying to force it with a fork. It bled profusely and needed stitches at the emergency room. An enemy from high school was the ER nurse at the time! I bought a pair of really flat sneakers. Every time I wore them, I tripped and fell. I never put two and two together that it was the sneakers because sneakers are supposed to be good for you, right? I thought I was just clumsy. I was wearing Birdies when I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and went into one of those slow-motion falls where you take steps but are falling forward. I landed on a fence that opened over a set of concrete steps. I feared an injury that would be horrible, but luckily, I swung over the stairs and back to the sidewalk and recovered. Unless I keep my eyes down, watching the sidewalk, I could step on a pebble that will turn my ankle or cause me to fall. I don’t think you or I are klutzes, I think poor workmanship is to blame!

    • Hélène

      Thanks for reading and commenting Catherine! Now I know I am not alone. And I like where you’re going with this. Poor workmanship indeed!

  2. Maryann Lombardi

    I had to go to the ER once when my great dane bit through a ball I was holding and happened in bite through my finger as well. It was not mine (of the pups) finest moment but I got to see what the inside of my finger looked like which was something I really never needed to see 🙂 You are not alone

    • Hélène

      Yikes that sounds painful! Thanks for reading and sharing your story.


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