Biting nails is very common among many people, and is considered a normal tendency. What people do not think of are the risks and dangers that come into play when you gnaw down in this part of your body. Infections and diseases that could lead to severe injury or death may arise. Although that may seem difficult to believe, it is very true. The reason why I can relate to this nail biting “disorder” is because I used to be addicted to it.
It was the winter of my freshman year in high school and I woke up in excruciating pain. I glanced over at my throbbing finger only to realize that it was swollen. Worried and hesitant I knew I had to show someone. I waited a while in hope of the swelling going down; but when I hopped in the shower I noticed a red line going up my arm, as if it was a river. I panicked and began to run downstairs to show my mom the horrific infection that was spreading up my arm sporadically. Once she looked she immediately decided to rush me to the “Medical Express”. After spending nearly an hour at Medical Express, the decision was made that I needed to go to AI DuPont hospital because of the incapability of vacating the infection without the proper equipment.
When I arrived at AI DuPont hospital I was frantic and paranoid. Going into the hospital unknowing of what the infection would be declared as was frightening. Out of curiosity I googled some of the symptoms and the answers I found were terrifying. This was in fact one of the worst things I could do; I entered the brand new environment of the hospital unknowingly, worried, and paranoid. When I was brought to the back the doctor examined my finger and soon came to the conclusion that it was “Cellulitis”.
Cellulitis is a quite serious and potentially deathly bacterial skin condition that anyone can be a victim of. When I had received the news of what I was suffering from the worst was still yet to come. The doctor had told me that he would leave a numbing cream on my finger for forty-five minutes. I was relieved that the doctor had put this cream on to relieve the pain, but what I did not know was what would follow afterwards. Once the forty-five minutes had passed the doctor reentered the room. My finger, feeling slightly better, was still pulsing like the beat of a drum. The doctor then pulled out his tray of equipment and sat right by my side of the hospital bed. He had asked me to lay my hand on the tray and put a paper towel underneath of my palm. My blood pressure rose once the doctor had revealed the immensely keen blade. I knew what was going to happen, my finger was going to soon be sliced to release the “pressure”.
As the blade soon began to pierce my skin my blood pressure, which was extremely high prior, had dropped. I turned as white as a ghost and nearly fainted. The numbing cream worked little in my favor and barely affected what I felt. When I told the nurse I felt sick he rushed to get me a Gatorade in hope of causing a spike in my blood pressure. The pain soon began to subside, and my blood pressure started to stabilize. I asked the doctor, “was that the worst thing that was going to happen to me?” in hope of never feeling that tremendous amount of pain ever again. He replied with a simple “yes” and I was exhilarated, but there was something else. I was required to stay overnight in an isolated room, considering I technically had an infection. The next day as I was checking out of the hospital the doctor had told me that I nearly lost my arm and if I didn’t come sooner the infection may have spread to my heart. This is when I came to the realization of how one little hangnail could cause me losing my arm or potentially my life.
Ever since that day in January I have put my fullest effort in spreading awareness of this infection and explaining the harmful effects that are to come with it.