I wasn’t thinking about COVID as I trimmed the shrub line at the far end of my yard. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon earlier this month, and I was near the end of the project—but I decided to make a few last cuts. My mind was already thinking about the next project I’d tackle that day and cross off my list.
I still wasn’t thinking about COVID when I caught the tip of my finger with the pruning shears. I felt immediate pain, glanced at my injury and was disturbed by the large amount of blood that began pooling in my hand. I really couldn’t get a good look at my finger, but I knew it was bad. I dropped the shears and ran to the house.
I chose to drive to Two Twelve Medical Center in Chaska, because I was pretty confident that my finger could be cared for in an Urgent Care setting. Though not knowing the extent of my injury, it’s also reassuring to know that if I needed a higher level of care—it’s all there in one location. My son joined me for the short, 20 minute trip from Waconia.
Now, maybe I’ve misled you a bit about my reference to COVID. There was a brief moment in time that I thought about it. I recall seeing a freestanding sign immediately when we entered the building. It directed COVID patients to the left—to separate them from other patients. I didn’t give it a lot of thought as I was preoccupied with my finger and getting checked in as quickly as possible.
It didn’t take long for Erin Bischoff, PA-C, Emergency Physicians and Consultants, P.A., to join me in the treatment room. She greeted me, asked questions about the accident and proceeded to unwrap the big wad of toilet paper I had grabbed to stop the bleeding. At that point I was feeling pretty relieved to trust my care to a professional. She’d know how to repair the mess I had created.
Erin explained that I didn’t need stiches, which actually wasn’t good news. It meant that there was no flap of skin remaining to reattach to my finger; I had completely cut it off. That news hit me pretty hard and now my provider was dealing, not only with my injury, but a pretty distraught patient. Erin was amazing. Calm, compassionate and understanding. She explained how she was going to inject the area around the injury to numb it and then seal the wound with a gelfoam pad. She explained how the pad would act as temporary skin, and stop the bleeding while my injury healed. The pad would disintegrate as my wound healed.
As my finger continues to heal more than two weeks following the accident, I’m feeling pretty optimistic it will have minimal long-term damage. It could have been much worse, but the point to this story isn’t really about my bloody finger; it’s about my visit to the ER during the COVID pandemic. My experience and the care I received was completely the same as I would expect at any other time.
Yes. COVID patients are immediately separated upon entering the building. Yes. My provider wore a shield and mask. But none of that impacted my care and I felt completely safe during my visit.
Never was I concerned about potential exposure to COVID—even for a minute. In fact, all the safety precautions taken here and at all health care facilities likely make it even safer than other places you might visit. Bottom line, if you need care at a clinic, hospital or ER, don’t delay treatment and unnecessarily jeopardize your health.