Tuesday, 3 September 2013

That Time I Broke My Finger...

So it's back to school time! September is upon us... the leaves are changing...

Ok. Not really. Where I am in the UK, the sun is shining and the temperature is in the mid 20s. It is really more beach weather than having to go into work and work in hot, smelly classroom weather. It is, however, American (and Canadian) football season so that got me thinking about an injury that happened to me when I was in grade nine (year 9).

A bit of a warning... this story is not for the faint of heart. If you aren't a fan of gory details then it's best to stop reading here.

So... grade nine girls PE class. We were taken out to the football field and told to play some pickup football by our PE teacher. I remember being told to not play tackle and that since we weren't wearing equipment we were only allowed to tag one another. Several of us were outraged! The boy PE classes were allowed to tackle when they played and, indeed, they were taught tackling strategies! We quickly realised that since we were girls we were being treated differently. Well... we were having none of that!

Some of us started playing rougher and rougher and were having great fun! One of my good friends tackled me down to the ground when I wasn't paying attention (the game was over at this point) and we got up laughing. It wasn't until a classmate went "AHH! Look at your hand!" and pointed to my hand, that I even begun to suspect that anything was wrong.

I looked down and sure enough... my hand was wildly disfigured. My middle finger on my right hand was unrecognisable as a finger. It didn't hurt at all but it wasn't pretty. After all the other girls crowded around me, and my teacher came over to check out the situation. He looked at my finger and then asked me to come with him to the office so that he could call my parents.

A little while later I was at the hospital getting x-rays and talking to the doctor. He showed me the x-ray and explained that the middle bone in my finger had been pushed over the bottom bone (closest to the palm) and had shattered the knuckle. The doctor explained that it was a pretty extreme break and that it would require a lot more than just putting the bone back to where it belonged. He wrapped my hand all up and told us to come back in a day or two so I could have surgery (I believe they wanted some of the swelling to go down first).

The surgeon placed a pin in the middle bone, sticking out the sides of my finger. The finger was the same, but with a big piece of metal now sticking out of it. A few days later I had to go to the hand therapy clinic (I know... there is such a thing!). At the clinic they made a special splint for my hand, which included a sort of plastic halo around my finger. On the halo, they hooked elastic bands up to it and to the pin in my finger. The elastic bands were supposed to work like braces on teeth. The pulling of the bands would slowly move my bone back into place. They hoped that this would allow the bones to heal better and ensure that I could regain the use of my finger.

I had to wear this contraption all summer. When I went swimming (which was often), I had to put plastic bags over it and keep it out of the water. Same thing for showers and baths. The pin and skin around was not to get wet! I must admit that I looked pretty ridiculous swimming with a plastic bag on my hand, but it was better than missing out on the pool and lake all summer.

Eventually my finger looked much better and new x-rays revealed that everything was where it should be and so the pin could come out. The doctor assured me that it is usually pretty painless, other than some pinching with the skin around the entry site. I lay down and she started to remove the pin. Instantly, my body went into shock. My hand felt like it was on fire. Searing, red pain flowed down my finger into the rest of me. The pain was overwhelming and as much as I tried, I couldn't speak up to let the doctor know that it hurt. After a few moments, my mom luckily saw tears slipping down my face and stopped the doctor. She halted and saw my pain and explained that there must be a nerve she was hitting. She quickly went to get some needles to numb my finger and once they kicked in, she removed the rest of the pin.

The surgery and months of enduring treatments finally worked. I could move my finger fine and other than some slight deformities (the tendon at the top snapped so the top joint is overextended and my knuckle is a lot bigger than the others) my finger works just like new!

My finger now- I promise I'm not trying to give you the finger!

So just another event in my weird (but wonderful) life!

No comments:

Post a Comment