Saturday, June 19, 2010


My life is exceedingly strange.

I'm generally okay with that - it's never boring. But it does sort of beg a question or two.

Last night, Jen and Bill were kind enough to help me move my bed from the old apartment to the new one. The movers are coming in a week, but since I can't sleep in the old place without having some sort of allergic catastrophe, I really appreciate being able to stay in the new one without having to sleep on the floor (although, as I told my mother this morning, I almost think the little nest I've been sleeping on at their place is more comfortable than my bed...). So we get everything into the trailer, and are about ready to leave, and we're all sort of standing around the trailer when a woman I've never seen before comes out of my neighbor's doorway. She backs out, and is trying to shut the door when she falls back and bonks her head on the concrete. It was one of those moments where you see the inevitability of what's about to happen and are completely powerless to stem the flow of events. So, okay, down she goes, smacks her head, and starts SCREAMING, "I need 911! I need 911!!" I, of course, being as snark-tastic as I am, was like (in my head), relax, lady, you didn't hit your head that hard. But then she starts yelling, "my finger is off!!!"


She sits up, and is clasping her right hand in her left, and there's blood running down her hand because she's severed the tip of her finger. I ran in and got her some paper towels. She didn't want those. Bill sends me back in for a cold, wet rag, which I got, as well as a bag of ice and a couple of plastic bags (tip - never, ever put an amputated part in a bag of ice. Put it in a bag, insulate the bag with a towel or something, waterproof that - i.e., put that in a bag - and then put that whole mess in a bag of ice. Otherwise the digit in question will get frostbitten or macerated or something equally unacceptable). Jen called 911. Bill sat with her, held pressure, and tried to keep her calm. Jen and I had the enviable task, then, of looking for the finger amidst the bushes and pine straw mulch. We saw a piece of jagged glass on the ground, figured that was what had severed her finger, and so we looked and looked and searched and fussed in that general vicinity. No luck.

Finally, a little exasperated as to how the finger had come off anyway, I asked, "How in the world did you do that?" And it turns out she'd shut the door on her finger, which had sliced off the tip of it, down to the base of the nail.

First? Ouch. Second? I worked out the physics of that in my head. Severed while shutting the door. The tip of her finger wasn't in the bushes, it was in the house.

I looked at the door, and thought, aw, shit. My neighbor has these two horribly-behaved little dust mop dogs, who were at that very minute undoubtedly sitting on the other side of the doorway licking their little rat-dog chops.


Her mother says, let's look in the house. The bleeding woman on the ground is insistent that her finger isn't in the house. Don't go in the house! she says. I say, "Okay, well, can *I* go in the house?" But the dogs are going to get out! they say.

Lady, that's the least of your problems.

And of course, no one is considering that the neighbor routinely lets the dogs out, off leash, to poop all over the neighborhood and they always come back. Unless they come in my house, but that only happened a handful of times, I mean really.

Bill assured them that he and Jen have a dog who LOVES to get out and run around and terrorize the neighbors, that they can handle it. I, meanwhile, have headed into the house with the woman's mother. There is, of course, no finger in sight. Nor is there even a spattering of blood on the floor. Which, of course, you would expect if the finger was severed in the door.

I looked at the dogs. They...well, were just being dogs....

So then the paramedics show up. They go to bandage her finger, and the medic looks at me and says, "Ma'am? You might want to turn your head before I take this towel off."

I managed not to laugh at him.

So they get her all put together, send her to the ER in her own car, and the other paramedic and Jen and I are cleaning up, and the paramedic sighs and says, "Well, if you see a little dog running around with a finger in its mouth..."

Jen and I had already had the opportunity to look at each other and mutter under our breath, "Dog? Yeah, dog." So were both like, "well, yeah, they have two dogs, so..."

The poor paramedic looked at us and went, "Oh. Ohhhh...."

But, on the plus side, here are five things I learned from this adventure:

1. The bad mojo in the apartment that I've been feeling for the past year and am feeling even more acutely now is definitely not just mine. Which makes me feel better about leaving, that I'm not the source of the bad juju (and thus the wheel of fortune may be turning for me. Here's hoping).

2. My friends are awesome. (Okay, I knew this.)

3. My life is weird. (Yeah, I knew this, too.) As is Ms. Stumpy's, or at least it is now that she collided with my weird life and the Evil Apartment Building.

4. I consistently keep getting reminded that the universe is conspiring around us. Five minutes earlier, Jen, Bill, and I were all inside the house. Five minutes later we would've been gone. There were reasons we got there later than we wanted to. But we were definitely supposed to be there right then. Call it fate, karma, synchronicity, whatever you'd like, there are most certainly forces at work here greater than ourselves.

5. It turns out that when you freakishly slice off your finger in a door frame, there's no one better to have around than a doctor, a social worker, and a convicted felon.

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