[Master’s Life in the UK] #1 Spending one afternoon in the hand unit during Christmas holiday…

Guinnevere Sung
6 min readDec 17, 2020


I graduated from my masters this September, and while I was sending all the congratulating messages to my friends and catching up with them, I just realised that I’ve never properly told the full story of myself about spending one afternoon in the hospital waiting for my left-hand nerve surgery during Christmas holiday. So I decided to write in down precisely what happened, who I met, and how I felt a year later.

I still remembered it was the night before I was going to Edinburgh with my friend for our Christmas holiday. That night, I decided to have a light meal, avocado spread on toast and some salad. When I cut avocados and took out the seed in it, I always like to mimic how the chefs in the TV or Youtube videos do. Make a cross on the seed and twist it to get it out. However, that night, my left hand was wet and I was holding half of the avocado with that hand. Instead of drying my hand first and then took out the seed, I just went on and carelessly cut the avocado. So the outcome was pretty bloody. I cut right on the side of my palm, between my thumb and index finger.

Yeah, that’s me, the same position, holding the AVOCADO!

At that moment, my brain literally went blank. I saw the blood flooding out my hand and it didn’t look like it was going to stop even I pressed the towel on my left hand. So I thought I probably really need some help. I ran to my room, took my keys and then ran to the reception to ask for help. Before I left the kitchen, I saw my blood scattered all over the floor. I thought, ‘oh gosh, I made a big mess.’

I ran to the reception, and fortunately, the reception was not closed. So I told the receptionist that I cut my hand and I showed it to him. He replied, ‘yeah, I think it’s a bit deep, I’ll call you an ambulance.’ So I sat there with the receptionist waiting for the ambulance (or later he told me, it was actually the uni security). I was pretty calm sitting and waiting. So the receptionist started a conversation with me saying that I was too calm about it. Then I replied, ‘I guess I watched a lot medical series and they were pretty useful now.’ And then we started to talk about the documentaries we’ve watched. He also talked about how crazy he was when he got his leg injured severely (the bone was revealed) and not staying one night in the hospital. Later I thought, probably he was helping me to distract from my bleeding hand.

When security guards arrived, I felt relieved. They brought a bag of medical emergency stuff and tried to find something that was appropriate to replace the towel I had been using. Then I realised, they were not medically trained, but at least they knew how to cover my cut in a better way. Funny thing is that one of the security was pretty scared to touch my wound so he asked me to cover it. But at the moment, I was a bit panic and told him that I was not able to remove my towel and looked at the wound. It really was a deep deep cut.

So I was sent to the A&E that night, and before the security dropped me off, they very kindly said that I was welcome to ring them if I need a lift after the treatment (that was one of the nicest parts of this memory). The nurse led me to do an X-ray and told me that I probably hurt my hand nerve, so I needed an operation the next day. That night, the doctor explained to me that I almost cut through my nerve (80%), which I felt unreal because all I could think about is “wait, I was just trying to cut an avocado!” Another funny thing about it is that, as the nurses and doctors were asking about how I got injured and I told them the story of the Avocado, they were all surprised and teased me with it. I myself found that funny as well and it made the accident not that bad an experience to me. (p.s. I actually felt a sense of warmth because of them since i was all alone in the hospital with a terribly injured hand, so I really appreciate them showing the warmth ❤)

The next day, I walked to the hospital and waited for the operation in the hand unit. It was a long afternoon and finally, after hours of waiting, I was able to be prepared for the operation.

When I lay on the bed, all the nurses came and checked on me seeing whether I was in a perfect fit both mentally and physically for the operation. The first thing they said to me was “Avocado, huh?” with a rather joking tone. And of course, I laughed. I thought, “now probably all the doctors and nurses in this unit knew I cut my nerve because of an avocado =)” They continued to talk with me asking me about my plan for Christmas holiday and I told them, “actually, I was supposed to go to Edinburgh this morning.” Then one of the nurses/doctors replied me, “you still can go tomorrow after the operation is done because you will need someone to help you with your daily life and at least your friend can take good care of you.”

A Big FACT!!! And that was exactly what I did the next day (I will write about my trips next time)

Back to the topic: Everything was set. They took me to the theatre and I saw the doctors waiting for me who explained how he would operate previously. They anesthetised my left-hand arm, so, fortunately, as a medical series maniac, I was able to watch the operation and I showed my passion to them. genuinely hoped that as well. Since I was not able to sit up and looked at the operation directly, I found the big operation light above me was able to function as a mirror reflecting vaguely on the ongoing operation. As I showed how keen I was to see the operation, the nurse/doctor around me adjusted the light for me (that was another warm moment I felt at that time).

While the operation was going, I heard the two surgeons (main and support) conversing about how “interesting” the cut was, because I did not cut through my nerve but yet with an interesting angle. That was the only remarkable conversation I overheard laying on the table. Later on, I saw them operating my hand through the reflection and saw them wearing those tiny little magnifying lens. That was so unreal to me in a sense that I felt like watching a medical docuseries or tv series in front of me and the patient was me. I knew it was a bit crazy to get excited about seeing the doctors operating, especially when I was the patient. But I literally was so grateful and happy to experience that in person while I was wide awake! (I told my fam and friends about this the other day, they thought I was weird)

But never mind, the operation went smoothly and I had to wear a cast for two weeks and also had to go to physiotherapy afterwards. (I will share more about the treatments afterwards in the near future, Ihope)

That was basically my full story of admitting to the hospital after cutting my hand instead of an avocado before Christmas. I was so grateful for all the medical staff and those people who saved my hand. I was a foreigner and they showed their warmth to me so I *never* (not a single shred of thought) felt lonely or devastated during all the process. Thank you so much ❤

And A BIG THANK YOU for all the medical staff and key workers around the world standing in front of us and defending our safety during this unprecedented time.