Ahh, there’s nothing like a thriller of a tale for Halloween, is there? This year’s Halloween top-ten list originally began with your classic blood and gore, shock-value injuries (you know, like joint dislocations and power tool accidents), but what we quickly realized is that most suffering comes from much smaller-scale, more routine accidents. And while these may be less dramatic than what you’ll find on the silver screen, they’re certainly nothing to scoff at. So today, we invite you to take a journey with Dr. Lloyd down the dark corridors of humanity for our Top Ten Most Terrible Injuries.
Prepare yourself – it’s unsightly.
So it was cloudy, and you thought you didn’t need sun protection? It happens all the time, especially this time of year during the biennial “Memphis Migrations to 30A” for Fall and Spring Breaks. Now, a first-degree burn is red and painful. But a second-degree or “partial thickness” burn? That’s red, blistering, can’t-sleep-because-it-hurts level damage that aloe alone can’t handle.
You’ll need to see us for second-degree sunburns, as preserving as much skin as possible and controlling the pain are priorities. If you dare.
#9. Road Rash
There’s just nothing quite like taking a spill off your motorcycle or super-fancy road bike and leaving a trail of tears and epidermis across the asphalt. And you ruined that brand-new race shirt, too!
We start by washing the area with sterile salt water, then use forceps and tweezers to begin picking the pebbles and dirt out of the oozing wound. These heal from the bottom up. And that takes a while.
#8. Razor Nick
Take it on the chin (or leg..or underarm): razors sure are sharp and scary. The recent trend in …ahem…“full body” grooming, though, has certainly raised the incidence of shaving-related injuries. And remember, soft, sensitive skin bleeds like crazy, so take that information as you will.
#7. Hammer Time
Under the heading of “no good deed goes unpunished,” smashing your thumb or finger while driving a nail through the wall frequently causes the invention of new cusswords and forced attendance in church the following Sunday to repent. The accumulation of blood under the nail is called a “subungual hematoma,” and the only way to relieve the pain is to release the pressure. So, we heat up the blunt end of a paper clip until it’s hot enough to melt through the nail… Never mind. You get the idea.
#6. Toenail Avulsion
Come on! Who hasn’t been running or riding their bike wearing flip-flops when you catch your big toe on the asphalt and peel the toenail off? A perennial favorite of inebriated fraternity boys and skateboarders everywhere, we often wind up having to numb up your toe to remove the whole nail. Here’s an insider’s recommendation: wear shoes!
#5. Rug Burn
The sheer mention of it, and you’re feeling your skin crawl right now, aren’t you? We’ll spare you the trauma and leave it at that.
#4. Pizza Palate
Who ever thought to give this one a name? All that gooey cheese, steaming hot from your favorite brick oven at a comfortable 650 degrees. (You read that right. 650. Degrees. Fahrenheit.) Take that first delicious bite and…yeeeehhhhhaaaaaaaaa! That’s going to be with you for a while.
Popsicles may help. Probably not much.
#3. Busted Tailbone
Here’s yet another favorite of elementary school kids and drunken frat boys everywhere. Pull the chair away just as your buddy is sitting down and laugh hysterically as they land on their bottom. The problem is, it ain’t so funny when the little pointy evolutionary leftover of a tail snaps right off. It’s a bone. It breaks. It hurts. There’s nothing to do but wait it out. And sit on a pillow.
#2. Corneal Abrasion
Your peepers are important, and the surface of your eyeball is exquisitely sensitive. Why? To encourage you to wear protective eye gear, of course. You’re laughing – but just get the smallest grain of sand or speck of tree bark in your eye, accidentally scratch your eye while asleep, or lose a WWE revenge match like Rey Mysterio, and we’ll see who’s laughing! Our favorite is an attack by flour tortilla (true story).
The good news is most scratches on the cornea heal with rest and time. Unless they get infected…
#1. Paper Cut
After polling our ZüpMed staff, patients, and Bryce, the UPS guy, we unanimously chose this as the most terrible of the terrible. How is it possible that an innocent sheet of paper can cause so much pain and suffering? The answer is complicated.
Observed under a microscope, the edge of a piece of paper is actually a sharp cutting tool, jagged like a saw blade. Plus, paper cuts usually occur on the tips of fingers, the second most sensitive part of your body. Add in that paper cuts typically occur at a shallow angle, reaching more of those pain receptors, and that the paper itself leaves behind tiny fibers and chemical residues, and you’ve created the perfect torture device.
And There You Have It
That’s our 2023 Halloween list. We hope you enjoyed reading about all the different ways even the most mundane daily activities can lead to agonies worthy of the Spanish Inquisition. Have your own favorites? Send them to [email protected]. And, please, be careful out there!