Healing Hand Journal #2: The Surgery

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Blog entry by chaneg posted 07-30-2016 06:18 PM 984 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: How I almost lost my fingers **Warning Graphic Images** Part 2 of Healing Hand Journal series Part 3: The Recovery ***Warning Graphic Pics*** »

I slept good on Sunday night thanks to the ice and pain killers. My wife slept on a sofa in the room with me. On Monday morning about 8:00 the trauma surgeon came in the room and told us that my index finger would probably have to be amputated at the knuckle. He seemed certain this would be the best option, because of infection risks, damage done, etc. He didn’t think it was a good idea to try to save it. Up until this point the only thing I had been told was that the tip of my finger looked dislocated according to x-rays, and I had not even looked at my fingers at all yet, or the pictures my wife took. I couldn’t bare to see them. So hearing that I would probably lose my finger was a shock and sent me into a little bit of a panic. I told him whatever he thought was best is what he should do. He also said I was 8th in line for surgery that day, and I would not be going in until the afternoon, so I had all day to stew on it.

So as we waited, and my wife tried to keep me calm the nurses kept coming in the room to take blood pressure and temp and all that good stuff. I noticed at this point when they were putting any medicine in my IV it was burning really bad. I am not a person who would normally bother the nurses so I was reluctant to say anything, but my wife convinced me to call them and say something. The nurse tried to do something to my IV to get it working better, thought she had it fixed, and about 11:00 that morning they came and got me to take me to pre-op.

When I was in pre-op a nurse came in to go over what was going to happen in the surgery, and said “we are working on your right index finger and thumb.” I showed her my wrapped up left hand and started to panic a little bit more. On top of this I felt like my IV was still not working right, so I was really freaking out that I will not be knocked out correctly for surgery.

I was wheeled back into the surgery room about 12:30, and it felt like it was 60 degrees in there. I started shivering like crazy, and was ready to go into full panic mode. They had the room all set up for the surgeon to work on my right hand, so they had to start moving everything around. One of the nurses began covering me up with very warm blankets which felt good. A monitor in the room was displaying my x-ray. That was the first look I had at it, and thought how did anyone think that it was dislocated. The bone in the tip of my index finger was at an impossible angle to the rest of the bones, as if they took the x-ray with the tip of my finger just flopped off to the side. The anesthesiologist came in the room and put his medicine in my IV ,and again it started burning really bad. I let the nurse know it was hurting, but she said that was normal. Another nurse put a mask on my head and the anesthesiologist started to ask if I am feeling sleepy. I said, “no”. He waited a few seconds and asks me again. I said, “no”. A few seconds later he flicked me in the forehead, I just flinched and stared at the ceiling. A nurse asked me if I’m feeling tired. I said, “I don’t really think so.” Finally the anesthesiologist starts inspecting my IV sight and determines it is not working correctly. So they start to put in a new IV which brought my panic level way down. I remember him asking one more time after the new IV was in if I felt tired. I don’t remember answering or anything after that until I woke up. All I kept thinking was, I wonder if I will still have a finger when I wake up…

I am not trying to make the hospital sound incompetent with this story. A couple little things went wrong that were corrected. At the time it was very scary and I just want to let everyone feel how scared I was. I am thankful to the hospital and all the staff and think they treated me great.

I will continue the story in a couple days and will have more pics of what my fingers looked like after the surgery. Thank you for all the positive comments I have received since starting this blog.

7 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2803 posts in 2796 days

#1 posted 07-30-2016 07:22 PM

Dang, I just read parts 1 and 2. That was some accident there, but it could easily have been a lot worse, could have been the whole hand.
I had a similar accident, which I don’t think should truly be termed accident due to all the warnings about power tool safety. Mine was with a router table mounted router which took the first digit of my index finger on right hand and made saw dust with it. All they could do for me was close up the open wound.
I learned my lesson, safety comes first. Bet you’ll get yourself several nice push sticks niw.
Take care, allow your woulds to heal well, then enjoy your woodworking while putting safety first.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Mean_Dean's profile


7017 posts in 3753 days

#2 posted 07-31-2016 01:20 AM

I’m wishing you all the best with this and your recovery!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View johnstoneb's profile


3131 posts in 2778 days

#3 posted 07-31-2016 03:51 PM

Than you for sharing this. It illustrates how quickly an accident can happen even to the most experienced. I had a similar accident on a drill press with a hole saw. Took 4 stitches. I remember thinking that was stupid and getting a rag to wrap it to stop getting blood on everything, walking into house and getting taken to the emergency room. My daughter has a friend who is a hand surgeon just shortly after my accident she had a cabinet shop owner get his hand in a table saw. She was able to save everything. He almost lost his livelihood.
Get well soon. Thanks for sharing.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View CaptainSkully's profile


1612 posts in 4164 days

#4 posted 07-31-2016 04:46 PM

I lost my middle finger and my index is permanently stiff and my thumb is mostly scar tissue from a kickback accident in 2008. I literally feel your pain. They reattached my middle finger because they could, then two months later took it back off. The medical bill was six figures. Going with the amputation first will let you get back on with your life sooner than later. You obviously aren’t having any trouble typing. Then comes the day when you start woodworking again and have to face the table saw. I was in cold sweats. Even though the accident happened while cutting the legs for my night stands, my first project was something simple: a mantle. I designed and built it and felt very accomplished after so many months of being an invalid. Then I felt able to finish the night stands, which completed the bedroom set. Oh, and I bought a fancy blade guard and installed it on my table saw.

The things that I got really tired of were people saying it could’ve been worse and telling me about their uncle who cut his fingers off. Good luck with your recovery and get back on that horse when you’re ready. I’ve made even more beautiful stiff since the accident because it forced me to slow down.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2613 days

#5 posted 07-31-2016 05:52 PM

When the nurse came to you and say they will be working on your right hand, yet there you are with your LEFT hand all bandaged up.. you SHOULD get anxious.

I’m currently waiting for the results of a stress test I had last Wednesday (wont get the results till THIS Wednesday) because I need to have my knee operated on. I have a small tear in the meniscus.

I have been jokingly telling my wife that on the day I check into the hospital for knee surgery I plan on using a Sharpie marker and writing on my left knee “NOT THIS ONE” and writing on my right knee “THIS IS THE ONE”... she is mortified that I might just do it! And stories like you are telling here are the very reason that makes me want to do this.

Thanks for sharing, and I hope you heal fully and soon.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View JKMDETAIL's profile


220 posts in 2261 days

#6 posted 08-01-2016 05:33 PM

On one hand I hate to read this stuff…...(no punn intended) But on the other if read this and don’t think twice the next time you step up to your saw something is wrong. Thanks for the reminder, it only takes the blink of an eye.

View Redoak49's profile


4354 posts in 2594 days

#7 posted 08-01-2016 08:44 PM

Hope the surgery went well…

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