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Monday, April 1, 2013

The Real Finger Story

I was working an overtime shift at another station. The crew there likes to work out together. To get in their cardio workout they do basketball drills. Things like 20 lay ups on each hand while running back to the half court line each time.

So that morning  I joined in. I enjoy playing basketball but I'm horrible at it. So this was good practice at some of the fundamentals while getting in some exercise. Near the end of our workout a stray ball bounced my way. I grabbed it and tossed it back to my engineer. After that I noticed my finger was deformed and locked in a 90° bend at the second knuckle.

At that point it still didn't hurt. That wouldn't last. I asked my engineer to come pull my finger (no, an injury doesn't make me lose my sense of humor). He came over and gave it a tug. Not only did it not move, it now hurt. Undaunted by our initial failure we decided to try again. On the second try, success! My dislocated digit was relocated.

And as soon as I moved my pinky it snapped right back into that 90° bend. So I decided to do what any reasonable medic would do. I popped it back into place and taped it to my ring finger. What could possible be wrong with that? 

Over the next few hours the swelling and the pain worsened. Finally around 4 in the afternoon I decided I better go get the finger x-rayed. So we headed over to the local ER (also a trauma center) to get a looksee. After an hour the doc said my finger was not broken. All I had to do was keep it secure while it healed.


Several weeks later I was still nursing a painful and deformed finger. I checked with my own MD and he needed all of 2 seconds to diagnose my problem. A ruptured tendon. 

I had what is called a Boutonnière deformity.
Yes, that is my finger.
Several doctor appointments later I found myself laying on an operating table. This time I was not under full anesthesia. In fact, I was so lightly sedated that I was able to have coherent conversations with the surgical teams about Google and some of it's projects.

Mid way through the tendon repair the surgeon lowered the curtain that was blocking my view of what was going on. It looked really cool. The doc even took a picture for me. I've since learned that not all of my friends are as curious about what I look like on the inside. 

3 weeks later I'm on the mend. I still have a pin in my finger (which comes out in a week) and still have some pain but I think it's getting better.

© FireMedic and Firefighter/Paramedic Stories, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to FireMedic and Firefighter/Paramedic Stories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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