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WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES (I TOOK THE LIBERTY OF BLURRING THEM THOUGH, SO YOU OUGHT TO SPARE A THOUGHT FOR MY EYES)
We've all made the claim that there's nothing worse than getting a paper cut, haven't we? After all, you're never expecting it and there's always a whole lotta blood knocking around after your hand always gets sliced open. Gross.
Well, try telling Melissa Norgart that there's 'nothing worse' - she severed a nerve and sliced through an artery when she accidentally plunged a knife into her hand as she tried to pry the seed out of an avocado.
The 46-year-old was horrified when the 10cm paring knife slipped and ripped into the flesh of her left hand as she prepared a salad. Anyone else shivering at the thought or is it just me?
"It went halfway through my palm. It made a sound like when the killer stabs someone in a horror movie," said Melissa.
Avocado-related lacerations - aka 'avocado hand' - are becoming so common that The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons recently called for safety labels to be placed on the fruit.
Melissa, a personal trainer and professional athlete, was rushed by her parents to an urgent care centre, where her wound was stitched up and she was sent home.
But mother-of-two Melissa, of Sanford, Florida, USA, was forced to call an ambulance 45 minutes later as the blood had completely seeped through her bandages. Blimey - and to think I shit myself the other week when my blood test plaster fell off.
Melissa was horrified as X-rays revealed she had sliced an artery and severed a digital nerve, leaving her middle and ring fingers without feeling or movement.
The professional athlete and fitness trainer underwent surgery to graft her damaged nerve back together under the care of plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Anup Patel, of Orlando Hand Surgery Associates.
Melissa said: "I was trying to get the seed out and I couldn't tap it out as usual. I picked it up in my hand and tried to pry it out and the knife went completely through the avocado and into my hand.
"It was a brand new paring knife and I should have known better. There was so much blood and I couldn't feel my ring and middle fingers.
"Luckily I have teenagers so they called my mom and dad and I was able to get to an urgent care clinic quickly. There they just stitched me up and sent me home.
"I was bleeding out through the wound. My bathroom was like a crime scene. They managed to stop the bleeding but X-rays revealed I had damaged a vital nerve in my hand."
Melissa was advised by Dr Patel to avoid the gym for five months while she recovered, which she said put pressure on her family financially.
She said: "I am an athlete and a personal trainer and I couldn't do anything for more than five months. Exercise would further exacerbate my injury. I was out of the gym for five months and that was super depressing.
"I was just off the back of successful competitions when this happened and then I was in a position where I couldn't train. I couldn't even do cardio. I wasn't even able to take appointments with clients. It was tough financially.
"My cast covered my hand all the way to my elbow. I was going to physical and occupational therapy for four weeks and my dad had to drive me everywhere like I was a little kid again."
Dr Patel, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon specialising in hand and upper extremities, says his practice has experienced an increase in knife injuries like Melissa's in recent years.
The doctor said: "We would see between five and ten cases of hand injuries caused specifically by avocados every year. In Melissa's case we repaired a digital nerve in her left hand using microsurgery.
"I have worked on cases where people have not only caused significant damage to the nerves and tendons in their hands, but also lost fingers in these types of accidents."
Almost a year after the accident, Melissa still experiences numbness in her ring finger but feels lucky to have returned to training in January.
Melissa said her kitchen is now equipped with devices to safely handle avocados, adding: "I felt stupid. I should have known better than to stab at it like that when I was in a hurry.
"My mom and dad have picked up all sorts of contraptions for me, like avocado cutters and safety gloves for cutting. My doctor said he sees so many of these injuries.
"I still have a numbness in my ring finger, it feels like it has been injected with novocaine [like] you get at the dentist. I am hopeful I will get the feeling back but I might not."
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