Self-taught butchering had a hard lesson for us this last weekend when we went to teach a friend of a friend how to process one of her ducks. Upon the first meeting, this poor girl we helped had to call 9-1-1 and help clean up after the oops that resulted in Nate losing most of his left index finger. Props to her, though, for still trying to process that duck by herself after the ambulance left. I’m not sure I’d want to see the insides of anything after seeing the insides of a person’s hand – especially one that was opened along with the neck of the duck.
Brutal, I know, but c’est la vis. Nate opted not to have the surgeon attempt to reattach his finger. Apparently reattachment is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Most of the time people end up with stiff limbs that are never as useable as they once were, and there is always a possibility for trouble down the line, not to mention extensive therapy and the giving up of some of life’s luxuries that just didn’t seem worth having a finger that is there almost entirely for the looks of it.
My good decision to marry my awesome husband was confirmed from the moment that the cleaver hit the chopping block, having taken his finger with it. Nate was more collected than I was, though I suppose I wasn’t crying hysterically. I just wasn’t as together as my First Aid training and past first-on-scene experiences would have made me think I could be. He refused pain medication in the ambulance and only wanted what was absolutely necessary for the surgery in the hospital. On top of that, he was almost nothing but jokes. Humor helps with coping, but I can only imagine how terribly some people would react in such a situation. While I’m sure there will be moments of depression and misery about missing his great little philange, he has had a great attitude and felt worse when he thought the duck went to waste about the creature whose life was possibly wasted than he did him losing a finger. A noble perspective, I’d say.
I also have to mention that his surgeon Dr. Ian Smithson, was phenomenal. His student who helped stitch up Nate’s thumb, Raj, was great as well. They both had a great sense of humor and given the circumstances that landed us in there, we actually had a pretty hilarious time while the repair surgery was happening. In the interest of old-timey thankfulness, I think I may bake some cookies for the EMTs and Firefighters that showed up and maybe send the surgeon a thank you card, because for the first emergency room visit I’ve ever attended to personally, it was much more pleasant than I would have anticipated such a thing could be.
Despite one of the EMTs comment to Nate that, “Well, I guess you won’t be doing that again,” Nate does plan to keep butchering meat animals. We probably won’t use the same method, for obvious reasons, but just as most people don’t give up driving after a car accident (even relatively serious ones), he doesn’t plan on giving up something that he not only enjoys, but sees moral and ethical importance to. Don’t expect me to use a cleaver to off anything’s head anytime soon, but I’ll be teaching a class on how to slaughter rabbits for meat this coming Sunday. After this last weekend we decided to add a safety section at the beginning of the class. We at least know what not to do, right?