Saturday, February 21, 2009

It was such a lovely day, I decided to go out into the garden and cut off a bit of my finger

Gorgeous weather in London today. Blue sky, warm sunshine, girls walking down the King's Road in short-sleeved T-shirts, that sort of thing. Just the sort of day to get out into the garden and start tidying up before spring really starts to get under way.
One of the jobs I had to do was to cut back my phormiums. The snow had flattened them, leaving many of the leaves bent, so they were flopping about all over the place. The biggest one is about eight or nine feet high, so that's a lot of flopping. Once the stems are bent, they'll never straighten up again, so the best plan seemed to be to cut them off.
I find the best way to do this is to hold the leaf taut and cut through it with a sharp pair of secateurs as low down as you can, so you don't leave lots of stumps that will poke you in the eye the next time you come to do the same chore. I use Felco No 7 secateurs (the ones with the rolling handle) and I always have them well-sharpened.
So there I was, happily chopping away, and taking out last year's miscanthus stems while I was at it, when I sliced off part of the little finger on my left hand. What was supposed to be a lovely afternoon in the garden turned into two hours in the local accident and emergency unit, thanks to my neighbours, who rushed me down there in their car.
What have I learned from this experience, which was totally my own fault? Well, I had a gastroscopy yesterday (nothing to worry about, just a double-check that everything was as it should be) which required being sedated. The hospital warned me not to drive, or operate machinery, or even cook, from which I should have deduced that using a pair of secateurs might be hazardous. If you are ever unfortunate enough to have a medical procedure which requires sedation, do not do anything for the following 24 hours apart from lie on a couch and have someone bring you grapes and cups of tea.
I've also learned that wearing gloves when you garden (which I rarely do unless I'm cutting back something prickly or it's very cold) might be a good idea sometimes. I would imagine that cutting a bit off your gloves is much less upsetting than cutting a bit off your finger.
So how is the disabled digit? Well, I turned down the offer of plastic surgery. (It involved cutting a bit off another part of my hand, which didn't seem to me to be what you might call a win, win situation.) I think it's stopped bleeding. And I can still type, as you can see. But I feel rather battered and bruised mentally and physically - not to mention incredibly stupid.