I had lunch with a good friend yesterday, and as I told her goodbye and got out of her car, I shut the door on the tip of my left thumb. I didn't want her to worry about me, so I waved her on and was walking back to my office several seconds later when the pain hit. Dizzying, nauseating pain. Luckily the employee wellness center is near my building, so I literally ran there and presented myself and my injury to the nurse on duty. She put an ice pack on me right away, and had me elevate my hand to slow the bleeding--by the time I got there, my thumb was a nice shade of purple. What a weird sensation, though--part intense pain, part numbness. . .
When the doctor got there, she decided the thumb probably was not broken, but that we had to relieve the pressure from the bleeding between my nail and the nailbed. "We're going to make a small hole in your thumbnail," she said. She hauled out this oddball instrument that had a wire attached to the end of it, and I watched as the wire began to glow red hot. So "make" was a slight euphemism for, well, burn. "Will it hurt?" I asked, and then I realized it already hurt so much that I would not even notice a little burning.
In the end, though, the smell of my own burning thumbnail was what did me in. I was sitting down and the doctor was touching the glowing wire to my nail, and a tiny curl of smoke was rising, and next thing I knew I had to lie down, I was so woozy. I have never fainted in my life, and this is about the closest I've come to breaking the forty-five year streak. I suppose that the doctor telling me at the same time how I could make a hole in my own fingernail with a red-hot paper clip "if you ever needed to" DID NOT HELP.
About half an hour later I lurched home (the doctor called my boss to say I was not coming back to work), grateful that the throbbing had let up, but with a queasy stomach that has lasted all night and into today.