One year ago today it was just another day. My wife and I had planned to go out on a Sunday to eat lunch and maybe to a park since the weather was unseasonably warm. As my wife was getting ready, I stepped outside to sit in the sun and do a little writing.
One step changed everything.
Somehow the sole of my shoe snagged the corner of a step which caused me to stumble into a fall. I’m still not sure how all of this happened but I rolled and during the process I put out my right hand to break my fall. The weight of my body fell on top of my hand as it rolled over to bend my fingers all the way back. I felt it and heard my knuckles cracking. Yes, it was gross. I was there and I have re-lived that moment every day since then.
I laid on the ground in shock. I was afraid to look at my hand as I feared that I would see bones sticking out of my hand. Blood was everywhere. I managed to drag myself inside and call out to my wife to take me to the emergency room. I have to give her a lot of credit for her taking charge and not panicking.
I spent the rest of the day in the waiting area of the emergency room. There was a lot of waiting as I sat there wrapped up for hours. I later watched the first half of the Super Bowl while getting stitches in two of my fingers.
I will spare you the photos. You’re welcome.
It took about three months before I could use my fingers normally again and six months before I could make a fist.
It was such a freakish accident.
One step. How could one single step cause this freak accident?
I will be honest and tell you that my fingers don’t feel the same but I am glad I can use them without pain. The one finger that didn’t need stitches always feels like it is jammed.
Naturally I learned a lot about fingers after my accident. It is good that fingers aren’t complete bones or I would have really been in bad shape.
I learned that to properly heal injured fingers, it takes rest, ice, compression and elevation. I was also able to get some compression sleeves for my fingers from physical therapy. The compression sleeves really helped with being able to use my fingers while they were healing. Above everything else, the best thing I did to heal and recover was to take time off from work. I did not go back until I was ready. I know some people who have had worse injuries or medical issues and they go back to work in a few days. That’s silly. Work will get done. Healing properly is much more important.
There is a reason they call it being a patient – you have to be patient. This isn’t one of my best virtues. It is hard for someone like me who is independent to surrender to needing help to do the simplest tasks. You have to let people help you. It is frustrating but it takes time.
The physical part has healed better than I expected. The mental part took a while. I am very careful taking steps now. I read how some celebrities such as Carrie Underwood came back from their own freak injuries. The mental recovery was just as important to the process which is another reason to avoid rushing back to work. When you go back to work, there is no mercy. They expect you to be all the way back. There is no harm in taking more time than you need.
Another thing that I remember from this day last year is that when someone describes a shot as feeling like a bee sting, you had better hold onto something because it’s going to hurt. Especially if the shot is between the fingers. I can still feel it.
I’m also glad that all this happened before COVID hit us. Unfortunately COVID cut my physical therapy short so I had to continue at home.
So in case you wondered – yes, you can actually bend your fingers all the way back and still be able to use them again. I didn’t stick the landing on my fall but I am glad I still have all of my fingers.