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.

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