Accident/incident? Keep calm and carry on


Ironic as it is, I recently smashed my finger while putting a first aid kit into a vehicle. While preparing for a temporary duty assignment (TDY), I was transferring luggage from my personal vehicle into a government van to prepare for the drive to my TDY location.

How was I supposed to know that those middle seats were spring-loaded? Knowing that insignificant bit of information would have been helpful, but even better would have been knowing the fact that the headrests were also spring-loaded.

Imagine my complete surprise and sheer agony when I pulled the lever to slide the seat forward (to put the first aid kit behind it) and felt the head rest clamp down on my pinky. In fact, it literally clamped it into the seat itself, and until I pried the headrest up with my free hand, my pinky was securely trapped.

Once free, glaring at my bent and bleeding finger, I knew I needed to get ice on it quickly, as the swelling had already begun. Ever mindful of security, I first had to close up and secure both vehicles with the good hand, while holding the damaged pinky above my head to ease the throbbing, after which I quickly walked toward my building while searching for the door key.

My point in telling this story is to urge you to remain calm when faced with an accident or incident that causes you pain or distress.

Had I panicked, I may not have made it inside where I was able to find ice, or may have passed out from the look of my finger. There didn’t seem to be anyone else there yet, so I was on my own. But instead, I stayed calm.

Once inside, I iced my finger, which didn’t bring relief, but more pain.

Although I should have been on the road for my TDY, I knew I needed to make a visit to urgent care. In addition, I had promised to complete our submissions to the media contest before close of business in order for our reservists to earn some recognition among their peers.

I conquered the challenge of typing while holding my pinky in a cup of ice water, and although it took longer, I met my deadline for contest entries.

Off to urgent care…no x-ray technician on duty. On to another urgent care…x-ray technician to take the x-rays, but no radiologist to read them until Monday.

So, with my pinky doubled in size, black and blue and splinted, I made it to my TDY location where, between seminars, I sit in my room typing this and other content for this Beacon, sans the use of one pinky, to meet another deadline, and still waiting to hear if my pinky is broken.

To recap, I’ve learned that first aid kits can be detrimental to my well-being, headrests may be spring loaded, and an injury while on duty creates more paperwork than a Supreme Court legal case.

In spite of it all, I will keep calm and carry on.