Many dangers lurk during the Halloween season.
We worry about the risk of a child being hit by a vehicle while trick-or-treating.
We worry that poor visibility, ill-fitting shoes, or draping fabric could cause a person in costume to trip.
We worry that untended or poorly placed candles might cause a fire or burn someone.
We worry that some Halloween themes and costumes could scare younger kids.
We worry small children might choke on hard candy.
We worry about stranger danger while our kids are out canvassing neighborhoods for treats.
And I have always worried about the danger of someone being cut by a knife when carving a pumpkin.
|Pumpkins - waiting to be Jack - o'-lanterns!|
A Pumpkin Carving PartyThis evening my son left our house dressed like a cowboy (quickest costume he could assemble) and carrying his pocket knife, a sharp kitchen knife, and a pumpkin. A volunteer group he belongs to was having a pumpkin carving party.
I said goodbye, and reminded him (as I always do) to be careful. "Don't cut yourself," I said, as he walked out the door. Had he been younger, I would have elaborated about the dangers of pumpkin carving. He is 17 now though, and as competent at cutting things with a knife as I am. I refrained from further comment - I'm working hard at trying not to over-mother!
An Interrupted Phone CallA couple of hours later, I was chatting on the phone with a far-away friend. The call-waiting beeped, and I ignored it. Minutes later, my husband burst into the room I was in. With unusual bluntness he said, “I need to talk to you - now.” I realized he was talking into his cell phone to my son. I quickly said goodbye to my friend.
A vague thought flashed through my head. Something's wrong. Sure enough, my son's hand had slipped as he stabbed a hard section of his pumpkin, and his thumb had slid onto the blade. ... Lots of blood. ... Might need stitches. ... On his way to the Emergency Department.
Wait - what? Is he driving himself?? By this point I was grabbing my keys and purse and made an unsuccessful attempt to quickly tidy up my hair. I was out the door within minutes of the call.
A Quick Visit to the Hospital
We only live about 15 minutes from the Emergency Department. I probably got there quicker.
By the time I arrived at the hospital, my son was already in an exam room, and had been assessed by the doctor. I thanked the group leader and my son's friend; who had driven my son and his car to the hospital and were waiting for me to arrive. I signed the paperwork, then found the room my son was in. He was calmly holding a bloody towel to his thumb, but pulled it back to let me see. A nasty, nasty gash -- but it could have been much worse.
|I'm sparing you the gory picture, and cropped the wound out of this photo!|
Almost immediately, the doctor was back in the room. My son didn't flinched when the lidocaine was injected and the doctor closed the wound with stitches. Fortunately, it was his non-dominant hand that had been injured, and only soft tissue had been cut. The doctor was confident that my son would heal quickly and soon be playing his guitar again.
An Exchange of Photos
As the wound was being sutured, I sent my friend a text, to explain why I had so rudely ended our call. Before I did though, I saw that she had sent a photo to me, right after we hung up. Ironically, as she had no idea yet what had happened, it was of her son and his girlfriend - with a pumpkin they had carved!
I sent her a photo of my son's cut (she is a nurse, so she could handle it!) and a quick text explaining the circumstances. She couldn't believe he had already been admitted and seen by a doctor, in the short period of time since we had spoken.
Just barely an hour after my son had called us, his thumb was sutured, a dressing was applied, and we were walking to our cars. One advantage to living in a small town is that sometimes the E.D. is not very busy!
|If only he hadn't decided to add a final touch to the lid of his pumpkin, my son's thumb would not be sore tonight!|
So ... heed my warning - -
If you are planning to carve a pumpkin this year - just BEWARE!
|The Guilty Jack-O'-Lantern.|
A special thanks to everyone who helped my son after he cut his thumb this evening!
Have you ever been injured on Halloween?