There I was, two hours into my 8th session with a client. We were working in the basement and making great progress! That is, until I pulled a rookie move. I reached into a box of painting supplies and cut the heck out of my right ring finger on a razor scraper.
Apparently the guys who had painted his house some time ago "cleaned up" after painting and rather than removing the 4" long razor blades from the paint scrapers and storing them separately, they threw the scrapers with blades intact, into the bottom of the painting supplies box to lie in wait for a chance meeting with my fingertip. Suffice it to say I left a bloody mess on the basement floor and a lovely crimson trail up the stairs as I sprinted to the kitchen sink.
Thankfully, I had organized his kitchen cabinets several weeks prior so he was able to quickly put his hands on the first aid supplies and a vial of Chinese powder called Yunnan Baiyao which helps stop bleeding. The thing was bleeding like a mofo too, so I'm really glad he had some! (My client is an acupuncturist so he has a variety of Eastern medicine stuff around the house.)
I held a clean towel on my finger with pressure for fifteen minutes, changed the towel, added more Yunnan Baiyao and continued to hold pressure on it for another twenty minutes praying that it would stop. Partly because I didn't know how much blood I could lose and still remain standing but also because I reeeeeally didn't want to have to delay my mountain weekend with a trip to the urgent care for stitches.
My client’s lovely wife is an M.D. so we called her and she confirmed that we were doing all the right stuff. After about 45 minutes the bleeding stopped and I was able to remove the towel, properly bandage it up and be on my way.
Mistakes I Made:
1. Not wearing gloves. I’ve been in business since 1998 so I know better. I should ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES when working in the basement, attic or garage! What a stupid rookie mistake. I do wear gloves about half the time and this time I didn't. My mistake was being careless and cavalier. While I’m usually on high alert for critters, spiders, snakes and bugs, in a split second I realized I was not expecting a razor blade. Gloves are my friend every time now and they should be yours too.
2. Not having a first aid kit in my car. What are the odds that the one time in fourteen years in business that I sustain a severe cut I'm with a client who just happens to have magical Chinese bleed-stop powder on hand? This was a good lesson that I should be carrying a first aid kit of my own. If you don’t have one in your car, get a good one.
Things I’m Thankful For:
1. Organization. Well gosh, if there’s ever a story that illustrates the real world benefits of getting organized it’s this one! Had we not organized his entire kitchen several weeks prior, he would not have been able to find the first aid kit or the Yunnan Baiyao powder. Oh the irony. We had a good laugh about that as I was bleeding into the kitchen sink.
2. Keeping my perspective. It could have been MUCH worse. When we brought the box of painting stuff upstairs to examine the offender, we discovered there were TWO razor scrapers in that box, so I was very lucky to have hit just one of the blades and not both. I’m also fortunate that I was reaching into the box fairly slowly and tentatively and that my hand went in at a 90-degree angle to the floor, which put my fingertip straight down onto the blade. Had my hand been moving laterally and faster, I could have sliced OFF my finger.
So although I cut myself pretty badly, in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatoes and I’m grateful that it happened the way it did. Otherwise I might be minus a finger and have to hunt and peck forever instead of just a few days!