Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Pen marks the spot.
Late Sunday night I had a little accident.  While working away at a piece of presswood with my clasp knife to make smaller chunks for the fire, I must have accidentally pressed the clasp, with the result being the blade cutting deep into the center of my middle finger.

I knew it was bad as soon as I did it.  I immediately grabbed a clean cloth and tied it tightly around the wound.

My first thought: you ijit boy scout.  How the hell did you do that?  Did you forget how to hold a knife all of a sudden?  At least you're in Korea, and blaming it on being drunk will be a-ok.  But that passed when I considered the practical side of things:  it was almost midnight, and the closest hospital was a good hour away.  I was also quite drunk, so driving would probably not be the smartest thing to do.  Did I risk letting infection set in?  I figured I'd probably be alright overnight, as long as I kept it dry, clean, and tightly bound.  So I retied the wound with a strip torn off another clean cloth.  As soon as I removed the initial bandage, blood immediately covered my hand.  I saw a nice big flap of skin; I moved it to it's appropriate place and wrapped the strip around tight.  It was indeed a bad one, and I again considered driving into town, but decided that waiting the few hours until morning would probably be alright, as long as I kept pressure on the cut.

I slept well, all things considered.  It was all well and good that I had had plenty of painkiller before the incident occurred. 

Next morning, I drove into Heongseong, found a clinic, and went in.  The wound hadn't bled during the night, but when a nurse removed the makeshift bandage, the wound again began bleeding profusely.  She nearly went into hysterics when she saw it, which seemed a reasonable explanation for why she was working the desk instead of directly helping the doctor.  I said here's my ID card, can you please tell me where to go.  I got annoyed when she insisted on filling in all the paperwork first, and had difficulty dealing with my number and with typing in general.  Hey, I'm the one with the finger wound here, can't you fill that stuff out a bit faster?  Instead, I remained cool and when she finally finished, I headed up to see the doc.

When he looked at it, he uttered a long woooo.  When the doctor says woooo, you know it's woooo.  He said I luckily missed any tendons or major nerves, but I'd cut down to the bone and would probably lose sensation in the fingertip.  He shot me full of anesthetic, sewed it up, gave me a prescription for some meds, and sent me on my way.

After getting the prescription filled, I went back to the fam van.  Lo and behold, the van would not start.  The starter had been acting up lately, and of course it chose now to finally give in.  At this point, many people would probably begin committing random acts of vandalism to vent; oddly, I was incredibly cool, and instead of freaking, I simply called my insurance provider, who sent along a nice tow truck driver, who towed me to an even nicer car repair shop.  A couple of hours later, I was finally able to leave Heongseong.  The only upshot to the whole affair was when I saw a stunningly beautiful woman; she had an amazingly proportioned body, and had dyed her hair a hot flaming red.  I had many a sinful thought, which were excellent for taking my mind off the shitty day I was having.

I went back to the site.  Once the anesthetic started to wear off, the pain set in.  At first nothing too serious, but whenever I sat or lay down, the pain intensified.  The bandage he had put on it was tight, but as the bottom of my finger seemed to be turning purple, I wondered if it wouldn't be smart to loosen it up a bit.  Sadly I had nothing to replace it with at the time, so endured.  It truly was a zen moment.

I contemplated how best to break down the site: this would be a bit of a challenge, as it usually takes me about 90 minutes if I hustle.  With the splint on my finger, and warning jolts of pain shooting up my arm whenever I tried to exert the hand too much, I knew it would involve a massive headache to get everything all sorted.  This was when some friends called up and said they were on the way.

I figured at that point that no one was going to show, due to all the rain.  These guys are almost as crazy as I am, but I smiled.  Sure, pick you guys up at the bus stop in 40.

We stayed one more night, then broke the site down and headed back to the Wonj. They were as surprised as I was that I'd actually cut myself, especially that badly.  I said it was because of the liquor, and one of them laughed and asked if I was going native, using that excuse, and whether I'd be swimming out to Dokdo next.  All I could do was show humility, since I deserved to be mocked for doing such a stoopid.  The worst part?  I couldn't even drink.

Tuesday gave several hot sunny hours around noon, so everything was dry when we packed up.  Good thing I didn't stay until today, as it's been raining pretty heavy since the middle of last night.

This morning I visited another doc to get the wound redressed.  The pain immediately abetted once he took the old bandage off: it had been too tight, cutting off circulation to the point that I'd had two pretty craptacular nights of sleep, waking up every 20-30 minutes of so, walking around until blood flowed regularly again, then dozing another 20-30 minutes.  Weird dreams.

Anyway, I have to come up with a better story for work tomorrow, as I was supposed to be working from home, not hanging out in the woods sitting around a campfire getting hammered.  It'll probably involve something cooking related and being distracted by one of the girls.

Time for coffee.


Anonymous said...

IWD-Injured While Drinking.

Juls said...

Good thing is it's way too far from your organs.

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