Pins And Needles

Every morning, my alarm goes off on my phone and I grab it and shut it off and spend the next five minutes lazily scanning the subject lines of my emails in a half-asleep haze. (Do you do this too? Reach for your phone upon waking? Do I need an intervention or has this just become acceptable behaviour these days, I can't tell. I stopped knowing what was borderline sociopathic and what wasn't when the guy next to me answered his phone in a movie theatre. This is how societies fall apart, people.)

Anyway, most of these email subject lines are innocuous things about the amount of money I could save at Piperlime or Michael's or Pottery Barn if I'd only buy that pair of fall booties/set of glue gun cartridges/perfect ikat throw pillow today, which is why the one that said MUM IN HOSPITAL stood out in such sharp contrast to my sleep-addled brain. I tell you, there is no triple-shot latte in the world that will wake you up as quickly as MUM IN HOSPITAL in your inbox.  And if you're not awake by that point, then "Hi, I'm in hospital in England, waiting to have emergency surgery" probably will. 

What had happened—and you're going to want to finish your lunch before you read this—is that my poor mother had stepped on a needle six weeks ago, shortly before she got on a plane to spend two months in the UK. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, but I am at least fairly confident that it was just a regular old sewing needle and not, like, a discarded heroin needle or something, although I admit that I am really only making an assumption about this part, because it happened at my parents' house, where I would like to think there are no discarded heroin needles lying around. So we have that, at least. If you must step on a needle, the sewing kind is better than the heroin kind.

Anyway, she managed to pull most of the needle out immediately after stepping on it, but part of it was stuck in her foot and wouldn't come out, and because she had a plane to catch and could still walk on it, and because the doctor she saw a little bit later said not to worry, the rest of the needle would just "work its way out," she just kept walking around like normal. On her foot. With a broken-off needle stuck in there. Are you making the face I'm making right now? There is a speech bubble right above my head that says OUUUUUCCCHHHH.

And then finally it was so painful that she ended up going to A&E, which is the UK version of the ER—and which, if you are as familiar with the long-running British TV drama Casualty as I am, you are going to imagine was exactly like an episode of that—where they said holy crap, madam (the madam part was because they're polite and British, although I may be paraphrasing this whole conversation), we need to get you into emergency surgery immediately.

So this is where we pick back up with the email. Which also included this horrifying attachment, the content of which serves as an excellent reminder that none of us should ever do any sewing ever again. (Or any heroin.)

In case it isn't clear from the blurry cameraphone picture, that is an x-ray of a foot with a needle sticking out of it. Or into it.

Anyway, she is out of surgery now—which was done under general anaesthetic and involved cutting through several layers of tissue, two details which make my shoulders involunatrily rise up to my ears in a shudder of horror—and she is recuperating nicely with some good drugs, under the care of my aunt (who, handily, is a nurse) and my sister (who, handily, was home to accept the delivery of champagne I sent, less to say "congratulations on the forcible removal of a needle from your foot!" and more to say "yeah, I think you might really need this." I even sent mini bottles so she could drink one a day and pretend they were medicine. What, it's way more useful than flowers.)

So that was exciting! If by "exciting" we are allowing a loose definition of "wow, I shouldn't have watched so many episodes of Grey's Anatomy where people don't wake up from general anaesthetic and then their relatives gather mournfully at the foot of their bed and say 'but she only went in for ______!'", which I am assuming we are. But all is well, thank goodness, and she is even going to get some pretty sweet crutches for the next few weeks, which I am sure will be super fun to use considering she is staying at the top of a hill and it is always raining in England. On the bright side: excellent upper body strength!

To wrap this up, won't you join me in wishing my mum a speedy recovery? While you're doing that, I have a miniature hotel sewing kit in a drawer somewhere that I need to go and set aflame. Hey, you can't be too prepared. Prevention is better than accidentally stepping on a needle, as the old saying goes. Or should.

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Oct 26, 2012

Totally wishing your mum well!!

That x-ray is crazy!!!

Oct 26, 2012

I had an eerily similar experience a few years ago. It happened four days before my wedding. My broken off needle piece was entirely in my foot. The urgent care clinic doctor refused to even try and take it out. My regular doctor the next day said we had a 50/50 chance, slapped some local anesthetic on it and did manage to get it out. Otherwise, I probably would have had the same surgery as your mum. It was pretty traumatic, but it healed up pretty quick and I did manage to walk down the aisle ok. Hope your mum's recovery goes well!

Kristin H
Oct 26, 2012

Good Lord. Best wishes to your mum! Once I was making shish kabobs with bamboo skewers and missed, so a sliver from the skewer ended up in my finger. I got a lot of it out, but a piece stayed in and actually did work its way out -- through the other side of my finger! -- about a month later.

Oct 26, 2012

Oh my. Hope she has a quick recovery.

Oct 26, 2012

This is exactly why I own no needles. Get well quickly, Holly's Mum. Champagne is most definitely medicinal.

Oct 26, 2012

Ouch! Get well soon, Holly's Mum!

Oct 26, 2012

Best of luck to your mother for a quick recovery! The mini bottles of champagne are a nice touch, Holly. And why is the image of this needle in your mum's food give me goosebumps and the slice my husband put in his hand last week (which I WATCHED HIM DO) and the subsequent 20 stitches not even phase me?

Oct 26, 2012

GAH Now there is a good reason to never, ever (dammit, I can't use that phrase now without hearing Taylor Swift in my head) learn to sew. Get well soon Holly's mum!

Oct 26, 2012

I'm going to think of this story every time I see a needle now! Those evil little things! Best wishes to your mom! :)

Oct 26, 2012

I'm just happy the word 'septic' didn't appear anywhere in this post.

Glad your mom is on the mend, and has your aunt, sister, and champagne to take care of her!

Oct 26, 2012

I am wishing your Mum the speediest of recoveries and I hope she gets to enjoy some of her time in England.

I'm also vowing to be much more careful with my sewing supplies.

Oct 26, 2012

Holly's Mum, best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Oct 26, 2012

Wishing your mum the most speediest of recoveries.

And I reach for my phone and read emails in my sleepy haze, too. It isn't just you!

Oct 26, 2012

Holly's Mum - Holly's loyal and numerous readers demand that you recover quickly and completely! Oh, and that you enjoy the champagne she so thoughtfully sent.

Oct 26, 2012

I think champagne is an excellent choice of get well present! Your poor mom!
I had a similar (kind of?) thing happen to me this summer. I was enjoying a burger at my parents barbecue (that my CHEF father made!) and all the sudden it felt like I had glass in my throat. I can kiiiind of be dramatic so everyone kind of assumed that I just ate a sharp burger that cut my throat. Hours later, I went to the ER, they took an x ray, and it turned out to be a piece of the steel bristle from the grill brush! Note to everyone, throw your grill brush away! Use a paint scraper and a piece of cloth instead! Anyway it was such a freak accident type situation sort of like this. The doctor tried to shove a metal contraption down my throat while I was AWAKE and I ended up instinctively shoving her away. I ended up in tears for having pushed a doctor and still having metal lodged in my throat! They ended up having to put me under and take it out.
Wishing your mom a speedy recovery!


OH my goodness I winced out loud! I hope your mom recovers quickly!

Oct 26, 2012

Your Mom has my full sympathy. A few years ago I exploded a Pyrex dish in my kitchen (what? accident!) and then the next day stepped on an errant shard of Pyrex (it flew through TWO ROOMS) and ended up in the ER in downtown Chicago to have it...removed. It was not a pleasant experience, nor were the stitches I sported for some time after.

Oct 26, 2012

Get well soon, Holly's mum! Make everybody wait on you hand and FOOT!

(sorry, couldn't resist ...)

Oct 26, 2012

Well! Clearly my curtain sewing project is far too dangerous to start on this weekend. I think I'd be better served by finding some champagne to drink instead. Thank you for the bonus free time, and I hope your mum is on the mend ASAP!

Oct 26, 2012

Yikes that is terrifying! Get well soon, Holly's Mum!


ACK ACK ACK!!!!!!!

Um. Sorry.

Get well soon, Holly's mum!!!

Oct 26, 2012

Dear Holly's Mom, here's hoping you feel better soon. When you get ready to kick the habit, use the other foot. (Heroin joke alert!) (Don't blame me, Holly started it!)

Oct 26, 2012

Yikes! The closest I have ever come to that (and really, this is no comparison at all) is having one of my dog's hairs lodge itself into my foot. I have no idea how it happened but I would examine my foot which felt like it had a sliver or splinter or wood and see this inch-long black line. I couldn't figure out what it was. Finally, I took a needle and dug in a bit to pull out a dog hair! I gave him the stink eye. It's not enough that I have to vacuum it up constantly, it has to now lodge in my skin??

Healthy wishes to Holly's mom!

Oct 26, 2012

Oh my gosh that sounds horrible! Hope she makes a speedy recovery. What a terrible way for you to wake up in the morning. Definitely a sign for me to stop checking emails on my phone while still in bed!

Oct 26, 2012

Oh no! Poor momma! Wishing her a speedy recovery and hoping she won't be on crutches too long! (However, she should keep up the champagne medicine indefinitely, I think.)

Oct 26, 2012

Aieeee (The "suddering out loud" comment above -- yes, that!)

As someone with a sewing project currently strewn around in the dining room, the carpet of which undoubtedly has received a stray needle or pin in the process, I thank you for this cautionary public service announcement, Holly!

Speedy hoof-healing thoughts heading your mum's way from here.

Oh, and does one "send" champagne? Is that something which is possible to do here, or only in England? More likely, did you employ the services of a friend to make it happen? come to think of it, I once commissioned a Reuben Sandwich to be delivered to my father by the retired minister who lived down the street. Took a hefty donation to his church to accomplish that, but I believe it was enjoyed by all parties :-)

Sending many get well wishes to your mum from Nashville! Hope she's also getting to eat lots of delicious Cadbury chocolates [especially Maltesers and Flake, which are my favorites!] with the lovely champagne you sent!

Oct 26, 2012

I'm kind of curious how your mother made it through airport security with the metal. I guess it was small enough but the xray doesn't look so tiny. Ouch!

Oct 26, 2012

Best wishes for a swift recovery!

Oct 26, 2012

Just curious - how do you procure champagne for delivery to another country? I have a hard time getting anything delivered to family/friends here in the States. Also, if you want to REALLY want to possibly enjoy football - come back to SC and let us show you and Sean a fantastic weekend in Clemson! We promise it is AWESOME!

Oct 26, 2012

an extra want to - sorry

Oct 26, 2012

Oh, Holly's Mum! You are brave and wonderful! When I am unwell I demand that people do my vacuuming and bring me tea and violets. Feel free to insert your own demands and get well very, very soon!

Oct 27, 2012

Get better soon Holly's mum all the way from Oz! As a nurse I see all kinds of crazy Xrays but that one definitely made me shudder.
For some reason reading this post reminded me of an episode of Absolutely Fabulous where Eddie goes into hospital to have an acupuncture needle removed from her toe and Eddie says something like "but I have only ever had cranial acupuncture"!! Ewww!

Angie Orth
Oct 27, 2012

That's an intense x-ray! Glad your ma is on the mend =)

And yes... I now wake up in the middle of the night expressly to check my phone/texts/FB messages/Tweets. I forget everything I read while in this haze and then it's a big surprise a week later when I realize how many messages I inadvertently ignored...

Oct 27, 2012

Get well soon Mrs. Burns!

Oct 27, 2012

Get well soon sweet mum of Holly!!
As an aside and not to disparage - that is a large needle for being only half of a needle, Holly! What kind of sewing do you crazy Brits do?? Or is this perhaps a heroin situation??? back to our regularly scheduled comment -
I think that sending champagne for anyone on the mend is fantastic! Never would have occurred to me that was possible.

Oct 27, 2012

Holy cats! This is so weird because I have a crazy paranoia about accidentally dropping sewing needles on the floor and then stepping on them. I just finished sewing a sock monkey costume for a friend's baby, and the concern over needles on the floor/pins left in the costume has made me a wreck.

At least your post confirms that I'm not totally insane to be such a freak about these things!

Speedy recovery to your mum!

Oct 27, 2012

This is crazy! I'm glad your mother's surgery went well and that she's already in recovery mode. I'm sure she really appreciated the bottles of champagne (I know I would have).

Get well soon Holly's mum!

Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 27, 2012

Denise: I sent it through Marks & Spencers! They're a UK-based department store with a food hall, so I was able to order (and pay) online and have it delivered to a UK address.

Savvy in San Francisco
Oct 27, 2012

Wow! I hope she feels better soon! That's crazy!

I do the same thing every morning with my phone, except I allow myself 20 minutes and it starts with only one eye open like Popeye because it's too bright to have both open!

Oct 27, 2012

Your poor mum!! Would you believe the same thing happened to my mother when I was 10 or 11...and she wound up in the hospital on Christmas Day? To make it worse, I was fairly sure it was a needle I had dropped (I was into cross-stitching at the time). I still am paranoid when sewing a button about making sure no needles go rogue. Sadly, the champagne get-well was beyond my skills then. Wishing her a speedy recovery!

Oct 28, 2012

The EXACT same thing happened to my dad--apart from jaunting off to England for two months in between the needle-in-the-foot and the surgery. Hope your mom has a speedy recovery!

Oct 28, 2012

OMG, this is like one of my worst nightmares! Ever since I read A Separate Peace in middle school, I have been terrified that any splinter or other foreign object will be travel to my heart and kill me. In high school, I stepped on a shard of glass and couldn't get it out. It was embedded in my foot and I could see it but I couldn't extract it. I was convinced I was going to die like Phineas. Thank goodness the doctors were able to remove the needle from your mom's foot. How scary!

Oct 28, 2012

Goodspeed for a quick recovery for your "Mum"!

Oct 29, 2012

I have a story a bit like this where my house rabbit managed to get a sewing needle (that I had mislaid whilst mending some clothes one day)stuck in his cheek, he bit off the bit that came through his cheek into his mouth, swallowed that and was left with some in his cheek that got horribly infected and half a sewing needle working it's way through his digestive system. When this all became apparent at the vet's I felt so horrible that I had caused my bunny so much pain. He recovered well but I have not used a sewing needle since (this happened a good 5 years ago!)
Glad your mum is ok, wishing her a speedy recovery.

Oct 29, 2012

Aww, poor Mum! Crutching put it nicely, a BITCH! But it does beef up your arms! I had to do it for 4 months one time after an unfortunate bike accident in Hawaii. Hope she recovers quickly. Good call on the champagne! ;)

Oct 29, 2012

Champagne was brilliant. Best wishes to your Mum for speedy recovery!

Oct 30, 2012

Oh my gosh! I hope your mom is recovering quickly!

On another note...where do you send champagne from? do you have a special site that you use...or company?

Oct 30, 2012

blessings to your mom!

Oct 31, 2012

Kellie: I sent it through, a department store in the UK. In the US, though, I've heard is good.

Camels & Chocolate
Nov 05, 2012

I about passed our just reading this (that should be an indicator of my level of squeamish-ness). I'm so glad Alison is OK, and I wish her a speedy recovery and lots of champagne and cupcakes!

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