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<   No. 4275   2020-06-12   >

Comic #4275

1 {scene: a car driving along a road}
1 Passenger 1: Are we there yet?
1 Driver: No, we're halfway there.
1 Passenger 2: Woah! Living on a prayer!
2 Passenger 1: Are we there yet?
2 Driver: No, we've only gone half the remaining distance.
3 Passenger 1: Are we there yet?
3 Driver: No, we've only gone half the remaining distance.
4 Passenger 1: Are we there yet?
4 Driver: Keep it up, and I'll turn this car around and go home!
4 Passenger 1: We'll never get there either!
4 Passenger 2: Gina dreams of running away...

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Welcome to unexpected guest week!

Today's comic is by Chris Burke, of the webcomic (x, why?). As you might be able to tell by both the above strip and the title of his own webcomic, Chris might be just a little bit obsessed with mathematics and making jokes about it. He writes about this strip:

This comic uses stock cars that came out of McDonald's Happy meals years ago, but I only opened recently because of my nephew. It's a Zeno joke, but it mixes in Bon Jovi, because I can't hear "we're halfway there" without that song in my head.

Check out his work, and a big thanks to Chris for helping me out!

As to why he's helping me out...

If you weren't aware of the news, I recently had a rather nasty accident, while cutting a cauliflower to prepare dinner. I'd not long before purchased a brand new set of kitchen knives to replace the rather blunt ones that I'd grown sick of trying to sharpen. They are much sharper than the old ones, and I still wasn't used to the need to apply less pressure. The knife slipped, and I ended up with a deep cut in my left hand.

My wife was out, and the wound was bleeding copiously, so I wrapped a cloth around it as tightly as I could and went to my neighbours' place to get their assistance. He drove me to the hospital while she tried to contact my wife. At the hospital emergency department, a triage nurse removed the cloth I'd used - now soaked with blood - and applied a temporary bandage to stop the bleeding. It had slowed enough that she was sure it wasn't a severed artery. After a bit of a wait, a doctor examined my hand. The wound was still oozing blood and was very deep. She decided that it would be best to consult with a hand specialist, and went away to do so. She returned and said that the hand specialist had recommended surgery to examine the wound carefully for any damage to blood vessels, tendons, nerves, etc., in case microsurgery was required to reattach things, as well as to clean the wound out thoroughly before stitching it up.

They scheduled me for surgery at 7:30 the next morning. In the meantime, the doctor disinfected and packed the wound, then bound my hand up and applied a plaster splint to the forearm to keep it immobile through the night. Then I was sent home, with instructions not to eat or drink anything (including water) after midnight, to prepare for the surgery, and to report back at 7:30am.

The next morning I returned to the hospital and was checked in for surgery. They were juggling schedules a little and I waited until around 10:00 before being taken to surgery. They did it under a local anaesthetic block of my left forearm, so I was conscious throughout the procedure, although they had a sheet up between my head and my arm so I couldn't watch what they were doing. The surgeon confirmed no damage requiring microsurgery, and cleaned and stitched up the wound. It required 12 stitches. They bandaged it up and told me to keep the bandage on and not get it wet for 12 days, when they had booked me for a follow-up to remove the stitches.

So at this point I realised I wouldn't be able to make any new Lego comics for some time. I announced a hiatus for when the current buffer ran out (which happened to be two days after the stitches came out - not enough lead time for me to make a new batch of comics, even if I could get back up to speed immediately). And then someone suggested it would be a good time for guest comics! So I put an open call out, and Chris leapt into the fray to assist. (Thanks again!)

Anyway, my hand slowly got better, although the thumb really started to hurt, and went partially numb, so I contacted the hospital after 8 days and asked if that was to be expected or if I should come in for an examination. They told me to come in. A doctor removed the bandages, and examined the hand and the wound. He said the wound looked to be healing normally. He checked sensation and motor ability in all my fingers and thumb. He said there may have been a pinched nerve caused by the tightness of the bandaging, which was making part of my thumb a bit tingly, but he wasn't concerned that there was significant damage. They rebandaged my hand a bit more loosely, easing the pressure on the thumb.

On the 12th day I went back for removal of the stitches. That all went routinely, and then a hand physiotherapist gave me instructions for massaging and exercising the hand to restore strength, flexibility, and reduce scarring. Basically I have to massage it firmly as much as possible over the next few weeks, as well as stretch all of the joints in all directions, even though it hurts like hell to do so. The massaging is to break up the formation of scar tissue and adhesions, so as to minimise any movement restrictions as it continues to heal.

As I write this today, two days after the stitches were removed, the hand is still very sore, but I have maybe 75% of the strength and dexterity back. When I push the hand strengthwise, it aches badly, but the physio said any and all exercise is good, so I'm keeping it up. I'll try to get a new batch of comics made before the guest strips run out!

If you are morbidly curious, and don't mind seeing photos of blood and gore, I have put some photos of my hand at various stages into an Imgur album. There are photos of the open wound, and they're very gory, so don't look if that sort of thing bothers you. But if you're okay with it, the photos are here.

For anyone wondering what this cost me, the good news is that Australia has a decent health care system. The total cost to me was $16.50 for a prescribed course of oral antibiotics following the surgery.

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My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
My blogs: (daily updates) | 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe (science!) | Carpe DMM (long form posts) | Snot Block & Roll (food reviews)
More comics I host: The Prisoner of Monty Hall | Lightning Made of Owls | Square Root of Minus Garfield | iToons | Comments on a Postcard | Awkward Fumbles
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