Busted hand

The shortest version of this goes like this: My dogs started playing, and it ended in collar strangulation, two rescued dogs, and a bitten hand. The (bigger, of course) dog got his jaw hooked under my best-buddy’s collar and they twisted the collar into a figure-8. I didn’t react promptly since all I initially heard was a yelp (very common in their playing, Terra is a wimp and knows that any sort of cry makes people/Teddy/whatever back off because they think they hurt her when they really did not), and I ignored it. Terra pulled her playmate over to me (I don’t know, 30 or so seconds later? maybe more?) and I realized what was going on. I have snap-on collars on both of them because I thought they were easy to get on and off. Nope, not really. Not when the snap is below one dog’s head and beneath another’s chin and both dogs are freaked out. Oh, and I was home alone, of course. For a few seconds I genuinely thought I was going to lose Terra. Her eyes went all glassy, she lost bowel control, and that’s when she bit and I got the collar off right after. I believe she intended to go after the Teddy, to try to make him let go. In any case, Terra was happy for a second after the collar came off, then she smelled my hand and the start of the blood, and she turned around, tucked tail, and tried her very best to fit underneath the bed. She stayed there for quite some time until my parents arrived and she couldn’t resist coming out to greet them.

The story is pretty common among collar strangulation stories. It seems, no real statistic on this it’s just from the stories I have read, 50/50 on dogs biting vs not, and 50/50 on if the dog survives or dies. Death seems to take place between 60-90 seconds after the onset of strangulation, so I think we were cutting it pretty close for a medium-sized dog.

This event took place six days ago. It was night time, so unless we went to the Emergency Room (not only *not* a real emergency, but the estimated cost would have been between $800-$900 for a few stitches) we had no immediate health care options. We cleaned it up and waited until morning. The doc at the urgent care office decided against “poking more holes in healing skin” since the wound was over 10 hours old. He was also considering that leaving it open would allow it to drain better, thus less a risk of infection since 80% of dog bites get infected. Can I say I really, really did not want an infection to start right over the tendons to my right-hand fingers? So I’ll have a scar. If it’s a big deal, I’ll slab some scar-away cream over it when it’s all healed up. I’m also on a heavy-duty antibiotic which even the generic was really pricey on. Comes out to be almost $2 a pill, and I shopped around for the best price, and the pill itself makes even the largest multivite look like a birth control tablet. It’s a little daunting to swallow and I’ve been popping antacids to help settle my stomach afterwards.

My paranoia about keeping everything super clean must be paying off, that or zucchini from my garden has untapped medicinal qualities, because it is now ready to scab over and I can do everything with my hand except wash my hair and work door knobs. The first night, the swelling and bruising over my tendons made it so that I had to use my other hand to open a closed fist. I was a little freaked about that. Thankfully, nurses are as common as engineers in my family and I was assured that as long as I could still move and feel everything, my hand was good. I took a few days off typing and writing. Even though I can write legibly with my left hand, I do not like how long it takes to do. (The last couple of posts were pre-written and scheduled to appear, just as explanation.)

That very fist night, I was reminded of a book I read while I was a child. It think it was by Patricia C. Wrede, but I’m not positive. I was eating a lot of books at the time, and was a major fan of her’s. The major hurdle of the book was that an aspiring harpist (I think it was a harp) slits her palm while helping her family gut fish in the village business. As the wound infects and her hand seizes closed, she believes she can’t play anymore, but a teacher/talent-seeker still believes in her and pretty much puts her through physical therapy so she can play at a (future) professional level. The book closed happy, but that initial thought, that initial realization that you may be physically hindered from doing what you love–that is a terror worth never repeating. And so I was determined to keep on moving my hand, to keep on doing the same things I always had, just with less force. This turned out to be a very good thing, because I had to get fingerprinted this week for my student visa application, and if I hadn’t kept my hand limber they may not have been able to take my prints. As it was I had a few twinges I didn’t tell them about.

I’m getting back into typing again, but I’m building up to it again as the bruising and swelling goes the rest of the way down. So…yeah. I’m just way happy that there hasn’t been a hint of infection so far. And I don’t regret saving my buddy/guard dog, though both of the dogs are now running around completely naked. Collars can go back on them when we need to be in public. Just like toddlers and clothing! (kidding)

Till next time,

~Me

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