Imagine working at your computer one December afternoon when your neighbor thunders onto your porch, leans on the doorbell, knocks frantically, and bursts through the door—all at the same moment—while pronouncing that your daughter needs to go to the hospital. Now.
Next imagine racing across the front yard in your slippers toward your neighbor’s truck because your daughter is already situated in his passenger seat obediently facing forward, in shock. Was she hit by a car—you’re not even sure although certain words are beginning to hover in the air next to you, like dog bite and face.
It’s not what you see next, but what you don’t see. The absence of a facial landmark. But you’re not even sure which one because you’re afraid to really look. All your parental life you’ve scooped fallen offspring from the floor fearful of bloody mouths or broken teeth and at quick glance this seems to be the actualization of every fear.
You transfer your daughter to your own car, walking slightly behind her because from that vantage point she still looks perfectly normal. But while attaching her seatbelt you steal another glimpse.
“There’s a hole,” you finally manage to tell your husband, who by chance was also sitting at his computer when your neighbor crashed into the day, but who is now grabbing at socks and car keys and packaged gauze and not necessarily in that order.
Moments later you are behind the wheel driving to the Emergency Room when instead you make a quick left toward your neighbor’s house, because suddenly you think where there’s a hole there is a piece. Throwing the car into neutral you scamper onto the neighbor’s front porch and stand over your daughter’s discarded coat and backpack. This becomes Center. You scan left of center, right of center, up from center down from center, and underneath a wicker chair you spot a shriveled orange rind, except it isn’t an orange rind.
Suddenly thankful you learned how to drive by watching after-school reruns of The Rockford Files, you screech in and out of driveways and careen back to your house where your husband flies through the front door. And here’s what he does while he’s in there for
an hour two minutes:
First he fills a bag with ice.
Next he puts the amputated tissue in a separate sealed baggie.
And finally he drops the baggie into the bag with ice to keep chilled.
These exact steps kept Bossy’s daughter’s lip alive until it could be reattached. Once at the hospital there was some confusion about whether it would be best to float the tissue in saline. Some argued yes and some argued no while Bossy peeled her eyelids back over her forehead.
Eventually someone filled a vessel with saline and dropped the sealed baggie containing the tissue down into it which
makes no sense makes all the sense in the world when you are about to embark on a two-week trip to Hades.
Other things Bossy wants you to know if you are ever in an amputation crisis:
- The patient and getting to the Emergency Room should be the priority. Recovering lost parts is secondary to their care. Consider phoning 9-1-1 and placing them in charge.
- Manage the injury’s bleeding but do not apply a tourniquet so tight that it damages the severed tissue. Elevate the injury if possible.
- Wrap the amputated piece in clean gauze dampened with Saline and then place in a clean dry baggie. Or don’t wrap the amputation in a clean cloth dampened with saline but still put the piece in a dry sealed baggie. Just don’t drop the amputated piece into water or directly into saline as it will erode the tissue.
- Keep the severed piece within proximity to ice, but do not situate it directly on ice which will destroy the tissue.
- Don’t believe Bossy, buy a book of Worst Case Scenario Survival Tips.