It was a cold, dark, December day back in 2004 and Blaine had just turned 4 in September. I think. Anyway....we were on our way home from church on this Wednesday night. I had just pulled out of the parking lot and was going through the light at the closest intersection to our church building. Not in a very good part of town in the dark, I might add. Blaine informs me that his finger is stuck in the seat belt.
"What do you mean your finger is stuck in the seat belt?"
"It's stuck in the hole. I can't get it out!"
I told him to try to get it out while I drove home because we were in a spot that I couldn't stop and help him. My first thought was we would put some lotion or dish washing soap on his finger and it would come off. Problem solved. We got home and I started pulling and he started screaming. Blaine the exaggerator was not exaggerating. It was stuck!
We tried everything we could possibly think of to get his finger unstuck. We tried lotion, dish washing detergent, WD 40 (which he said was cool because he smelled like a car mechanic?), cooking oil and more. We messed with his finger so much it started turning blue and starting to swell even more. We cut the seat belt so we could take him in the house since it was cold out. We filled the sink with ice water and took off his shirt. I gave Blaine a few measuring cups and some bowls and let him play in the water, hoping the swelling would go down from the cold water. We called a friend from church who is a paramedic and told him our situation hoping he could tell me what to do next. Should we call the fire department or take him to the hospital? His response was, "I'll be over in a few minutes."
Did I mention this is the finger that he sucked? That didn't go over well. All he kept crying was, "How am I supposed to suck my finger with this thing on?"
When Derek and Lisa (his wife) got to our house we tried even more to get that seat belt off his poor little finger. By this time it was past 10pm and he was getting sleepy. In fact, I have pictures somewhere of him sitting in my lap in the kitchen floor asleep with the seat belt dangling from his hand. Derek said that another friend of ours, Lonnie, had some bolt cutters that he thought might work. Stephen and Derek hopped in some one's vehicle and headed over to his house and borrowed them. Keep in mind, everyone that we have called has been asleep and woken up by our drama.
Derek tried the bolt cutters but apparently seat belts are made out of titanium and you can't cut that with bolt cutters. Every time he would try to close the bolt cutters they would slip off to the side like when you use a dull pair of scissors. He was afraid he would hurt him worse so he made a call to the E.R. to see who was on duty. He told us the Dr. that was on duty had been there for around 25 years and knew what he was doing. So he told them we were on our way. By this point Blaine was shirtless and freezing from his water being in ice water. We tried to put his shirt on him but he cried because the pressure from trying to get the shirt over the seat belt hurt too bad. So Stephen started the car, minus a seat belt, warmed it up for Blaine and then we bundled him up in a blanket the best we could and headed to the E.R. By this time it is close to midnight.
Of course the first thing we thought when we walked in was we would be sitting in the waiting room for hours. But they called us back as soon as we got there and we showed them our dilemma. Every person that we saw would say something like this, "Hey little man....heard you hurt your finger. Can I take a look? Oh wow! You have hurt your finger!" Duh. They gave us more ice and had him elevate his hand above his heart. Past midnight now and that didn't go over well either. Several more people came in one at a time to see.
By this time I felt like we should join the circus.
The Dr. tried some trick where he wrapped his finger in string and then stuck a big,, thick curved needle under the string. Somehow when he unwrapped the string it would pull the seat belt off. Didn't work. Blaine was screaming in pain and wasn't sitting very still. I can't blame him though...it did look painful. Then the maintenance man walked in and asked him if he could see so they could see what kind of tool he needed to find for the Dr. to use.
The Dr. was going to use the maintenance man's tools? A nurse came in and said the Dr. wanted to do a digit block. That is a nice way of saying, "Hey kid. We are gonna put a shot in your finger." This was supposed to numb the finger so he doesn't feel the dremel sawing off the seat belt.
Now we are really feeling like a freak show! The shot thing didn't go over well either. Neither did the dremel thing since when they started sawing, sparks started flying. You know...metal on metal. Blaine screams even more. Apparently the digit block only numbed the one finger and the sparks were burning the other fingers. And did I mention that me, Blaine, the Dr, and the nurse all have on the cool glasses that they wear on HGTV? Yeah...it was awesome. And I am holding my fighting, screaming kid down. Since it was burning him he obviously wasn't sitting still enough and the Dr. was afraid he might cut his finger off so he stopped. Good call. He explained to me that they need to start an IV and give him something called Ketamine (spelling?). Anyway, he explained that Blaine would appear to be awake, eyes open, could hear us, but wouldn't care.
Now it is about 3am and they are getting him prepped. They made me leave the room to do the IV, which he wasn't excited about, but they told me I could come in and stay with him while they removed the seat belt. By this time my husband has gone back to the waiting room and sent Grandma in cause he can't handle it. Sissy boy. I went back in with Blaine and he was lying on the bed with his eyes open wide and staring at the ceiling. The nurse told me he did fine and told me to put my lovely HGTV goggles back on. They needed me to help watch and make sure the dr. stopped sawing when he got close to his finger. No pressure. They had two other nurses in there with us...one to watch his vitals and the other watched, like me, from another angle. It took less than five minutes to get the thing off.
Now remember....it is early in the morning and this had been on his finger since around 9pm. Needless to say, I had not gone to the bathroom since before church services. I wish they had told me how humorous this was going to be after they doped him up because I think that was the closest I have come in a long time to peeing my pants. He would lift his arm up like he was reaching for something. I would push it back down. Then his leg would go up. Someone would push it down. Then the arm, then a leg....we did this for about twenty minutes.
"Mmooommm......I loooove youuuu sooooo muchhhh. You're the besstttt mmmoooommmy in the wooorrrllllddd." This is what he did as the medicine was wearing off. Over and over and over. By this point I am afraid me and my mom are gonna wet our pants. The nurse tells me that I shouldn't let him try to walk and he would probably be awake the rest of the day. That was great seeing how I had been awake for 24 hours by this point. They had me carry him out of the room and he got to choose a stuffed animal to take home. He picked this crazy looking bee with a Winnie the Pooh looking head. I tried to steer him to a cuter one but that was the one he wanted.
We said our goodbyes to all the people that helped us, knowing we would be talked about for days to come. When we got home, I made a pallet in the living room floor so he would watch TV and I could possibly sleep. But Blaine had other ideas. He seemed to be amused by trying to run through the house and not be able to. He would take off across the room with his slurred speech...then fall on his face. Then he would laugh hysterically. It was funny the first few times but being one to not function well without sleep, it got old real quick. I would get him to lay down and watch TV and then I would fall asleep. Then he would jump up, run, fall down. And of course that would wake me up. Then that would repeat itself again. And again.
The heat from the sawing (remember metal conducts heat) left a burn on his finger. It blistered all the way around his finger where the seat belt was touching and he had small burns on his other fingers. He decided that afternoon that he wanted to put his hospital bracelet back on and when he slid it over his had it burst the blister. So then we had to keep it bandaged to keep away infection. He still couldn't suck it so he started sucking the finger on the other hand. But he didn't like it. Then when the blistered finger healed all the way he said the scar felt funny and he stopped sucking his finger.
He asked me one day a few months later when the scar would go away. I told him it would get lighter but it would always be there. He cried and cried. He thought that when it healed it would go away completely. Poor boy. A year or two later I was tucking him into bed and the freaky bee was in his bed. He chucked it from his top bunk and told me he hated the ugly thing. I asked him why picked it if he didn't like it. He told me he didn't care....all he wanted to do was pop those bubbles floating in the air! That is why his arms and legs kept going up. I started asking him what he remembered and he said it hurt bad but he didn't care because of those cool bubbles.
When he went to the dentist the next month he was telling the dentist about his finger. The dentist looked at me and said, "If this ever happens again, not that it probably would, but if it does, I can cut that off with one if my tools and it won't burn him. We have a tool like that but because of the water it keeps it from getting hot."
So...moral of the story? Don't stick your finger in a seat belt and if you do? Call your dentist!