Smashed finger quiets voice

This story may make you squirmy. Read with caution.

Since I often speak via fingers-on-keyboard, I’m somewhat limited right how. I bashed my right index finger today while prepping our basement floor for some replacement tile. I have a blood blister on the tip of it and half of the blister is beneath my nail, creating pressure on the nail.

I was just telling Sherry about my worst football injury, which I don’t feel was the concussion I got my freshman year. No, I feel it was the giant blood blister I got on the middle finger of my left hand the last game of that same season. Good thing it was the last game, too, because it would have been awfully painful to play any further games with the finger in that condition.

I was crack-blocking Frankenmuth’s stud middle linebacker from my split end position. Somehow, as I laid my left shoulder into his on the block, my left middle finger tip got smashed between our shoulder pads. Immediately, the entire skin surface beneath the nail blackened with blood and my finger screamed with pain at the slightest touch.

It only got worse that night… and the next day… and the next night… and the next day. I could hardly sleep at night because of the pain. And throughout those days, the slightest touch or nudge or brush against anything sent searing pain through the finger.

Concerned about how long this condition was going to last, I queried my coaches for some advice. “Lance it,” they said. “Heat up the head of a needle on a stove and slip it through your fingernail into the pocket of blood to release the pressure.”

Desperate measures call for desperate times, I suppose.

My defensive coordinator went on to tell a story of a guy who was in the same predicament I was in and resorted to the lancing solution. “When he poked the hole in his nail, there was so much pressure-release that blood squirted across the room,” he said. I concluded I might have the same result since I couldn’t imagine pressure being much greater; I was in some serious pain.

Supposedly, the heated needle should met it’s way right through the nail no problem. Prick the surface of the blister and blood should come forth.

So, Dad and I gave it a shot. Not sure if my Mom watched or not. You know how mothers can’t stand to see their kids in pain…

But things didn’t go so well for me. The lancing didn’t work as it was supposed to.

I’m still undecided if we used the right type of needle. We heated a needle with a flat head; maybe we were supposed to use a needle that receives a thread and is more narrow at the head. We melted through ok. It hurt because it required some force due to the head’s surface area. But when we got down to the skin, no blood came out. It hurt like a bugger, but no pressure release happened.

Being the amateurs that we were, we tried to melt a little deeper. Needle-bearing pliers in hand, Dad held my hand flat on the counter-top while he pressed the heated needle into the hole. I swear I could smell some burning skin. But no pressure release. I’m tempted to think we cauterized the wound rather than releasing it.

So, off to the emergency room we went. No more barbaric doctoring for me. They slipped a syringe through the hole we had created in my nail and drew the blood out of it. My finger immediately felt better.

I’ve heard of some using a drill press to do the job of creating the release hole. I think my brother may have even done the procedure on himself using a cordless drill; he’s pretty fearless like that. I’d worry about boring a bit too deep…

Sorry for the story. Just thought it would be fun to share. Anyone else have any tragic stories like that to tell?

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

11 Comments

Nathan

about 12 years ago

Four Christmases back, I got Christy something that came in a hard plastic case. We opened our gifts to each other at our house, then were going to go to her parent's place for breakfast and gifts. But she wanted to play with what I got her first. So I pulled out my trusty pocket knife, proceeded to try to slice open the plastic. But my knife was pretty dull, so I had to reposition my hand to get a better grip with all the pressure I was putting on the package. Then the knife slipped free. When I felt it hit, it felt like getting your finger hit with a hammer. So I did what came naturally, and shook my hand. And saw drops of blood hit the wall. I shouted something then (don't remember what,) squeezed my finger, and ran for the kitchen. I released my finger in the sink, and saw a lot of blood. By the time Christy came running from the bathroom, I knew what I had done. I had cut my left middle finger tip, front to back, from the tip over the top into the nail. And I could see bone in there. I held it tight with paper towel and ran cold water to numb it, and asked Christy to clean the blood off the wall. And floor. And fireplace. About the time we were planning on breakfast, I was at the hospital in my PJs, watching five stitches pull my finger back together. (By the way, that was totally cool to watch!) Christmas pictures from that day all included a drugged, glassy-eyed Nathan showing off the massive bandaging they put on my middle finger. Quite the comedy. It was over a year before I could play guitar even a few seconds, and basically 2 years before I could play for extended periods.

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Eric

about 12 years ago

I have several stories that have to do with getting my head bashed. I probably have brain damage. There was the time I was playing bike tag with Steve and in an attempt to hide from him, I dove off my bike into what I thought was just a patch of tall grass. The tall grass was actually hiding an piece of farm equimpment. Instead of sailing into nice, soft grass, I crashed head first into nice, hard steel. Then there was the time I was chasing a ball in the playground at Pigeon Elementary. The ball took a route that sent it under a slide and I followed it, but I apparently didn't duck in time or enough. Another time I was playing by the river that ran next to our church. A friend and I loved to take the big rocks by the banks and throw them into the river to make huge splashes. One of my friend's throws made contact with my head before it got to the water. And these were the type of rocks that you had to heav with a squatting motion and two arms like a shot put. Lastly, I have a 3-wheeler story (fortunately this one did not involve my head). I was riding around on a 3-wheeler one evening at dusk (so the terrain was hard to make out) with friends when I drove right into a drainage ditch. I saw where I was headed at the last second, but I could not stop in time. The ATV and I flew staight down and I bashed my ribs on the handle bar. All I suffered was a brush burn-like bruise. I can't believe that I wasn't hurt worse. The ditch was about 10 feet deep. We had to pull the 3-wheeler out with a pick up truck. Good times!

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Nathan

about 12 years ago

I think I rolled a 3-wheeler more times than I can count, and took them unintentionally airborne several other times, but I never got injured on them much. I think I got a bruise once when playing tag on them, and a friend didn't stop in time to not hit my leg with his front tire.

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Joel and Eric's Mom

about 12 years ago

Eric, You forgot about the time we were at Roger and Teresa Shank's home in Hagerstown, MD. You were leaning over their front stoop railing and fell right on your head onto the sidewalk. I didn't sleep much that night. I wanted to make sure you didn't have a concussion. I thank God you are still with us. You had more than your share of accidents, the active, no-holds-bar kind of kid you were. Your first stitches were at ten months when you tottled into the living room and fell into the edge of the TV. Off to the doctor's office where they put you, screaming and flelling(sp?) your arms and legs, into the Pappoose(sp?)board so they could stitch your head. You didn't liked being restrained.

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Joel

about 12 years ago

And then, of course, there was the horseshoe that just about tore through Eric's cheek. I don't remember it (I actually don't even know if I was born or not), but I do recall the stories.

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Joel

about 12 years ago

Nathan, your story reminds me of the time I sliced my fingers on the green bean can. I was twisting the lid from the remaining connection left by the can opener. When it came free, my left index and middle fingers were slashed by the sharp metal. It was such a clean cut, it didn't bleed profusely, but it was deep. No bone showing... but deep. I immediately applied pressure to the tips of my fingers to keep the cut closed, called out to my roommate and asked him if we had superglue. We didn't, so I asked him to go by some. He returned and I superglued the two slices shut. Probably could have used stitches, but it worked. I get a little numbness in the tips from time to time, but nothing like you experienced. Sorry about the bum Christmas!

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Nathan

about 12 years ago

It was fine, I really don't remember that Christmas much due to all the drugs they gave me. And because of it I started really focusing on sound, bringing my skill up to where I had always wanted it to be. But I still can't play much more than an hour at once, or 90 minutes in a given day.

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Joel and Eric's Mom

about 12 years ago

Joel, it wasn't a horseshoe, it was the post that they throw the horseshoe onto. Andrea, Cathy, and Chris were pulling a young Eric along Wurst's backyard in a wagon when the wagon toppled over and a horseshoe post somehow went into his mouth and deeply bruised his right cheek. No broken teeth, no blood just a very ugly bruised and swollen check. You were a toodler at the time. You can see the evidence of the accident on the Maust family photo taken at Karen and Dave's wedding. God protected that little boys teeth. nose, and eyes. I call it a miracle!

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april

about 12 years ago

ok - yall are having way too much fun sharing your "stories." lol. I "threw" one of the 45lb barbell weights on my foot in the 8th grade. luckily I retracted my foot quickly enough so that instead of shattering all the bones of my foot, it only affected my big toe. From the time the weight struck my toe til I reached the locker room where I could remove my shoe, I counted 10 seconds. My entire sock was drenched in blood up to the ankle (and can you believe I was wearing keds?? I mean - who wears keds to work out in??) I pulled off my sock and realized that the toe had pretty much been squashed like a ketchup packet. So of course I tried to hide it by sticking my foot BACK in the shoe (insane, because though I was bleeding from the gash that split the toe all the way around, I was still dealing with the crazy pressure buildup under the nail). Anyway, the emergency room confirmed the break, gave me one of those wooden shoe deals, and sent me home. The next day the pressure was so bad I couldnt walk so my parents took me to the family doctor where he proceeded to unfold a paper clip, hold a lighter to the end, and pop that sucker straight through the nail. The blood came gushing out and though thte initial shove KILLED, wow did I feel good after that. And my left thumb has too opposing diagonal scars now (one more and I'll have a triangle). I was teaching and the s-cord that connected the computer to the TV was disconnected and had been stepped on, so I busted out the scissors to "pry" the metal apart (the kids were giving power point presentations) needless to say, the scissors slipped and there was a bit of blood splatter. I immediately covered the thumb and tried to hide it from the kids. Used a lot of paper towel and scotch tape. No bone (thank you Lord) but I could see the fatty tissue beneath and had to use those butterfly bandages to keep the skin together. So a year later I was cutting glass to make a mosaic and the piece I wanted to break was too small for the pliers. So without thinking I decided to hold it down with my thumb while hitting the glass with the end of the pliers. mmmmm....bad idea. This time I actually had to pull some glass out of my finger. No bone but lots of blood and of course, fatty tissue. There, Im done with my stories - had to represent the females out there, we too have injuries, but hopefully the rest of my gender isnt quite so dumb about it all.

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Joel

about 12 years ago

Wow, April. Those stories are amazing. Thanks for sharing. I can't believe your family doctor used a paper clip. That is really funny.

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sherry

about 12 years ago

okay, okay. well, does the story of me playing "circus" with my mom's sewing sheers count? i was "juggling" them. i don't remember them hitting me, but i do remember going into the kitchen to ask my dad for a juicebox and him practically fainting. I was five and blood was pouring down the side of my face. I guess that's what happens when scissors hit your temple. i got to stay home from kindergarden for a few days and i remember laying in bed and asking my mom to see the mirror because my bruise changed different colors everyday.

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