The One Where I Found Tall Man, or The Misadventures of a Tipless Finger

Almost 4 months ago I had a freak incident where my right middle finger was slammed in the bathroom door and the fingertip was severed clean off at the cuticle. It was a pretty traumatizing experience for me. Today my fingertip is mostly healed, so I would like to reflect on what the past few months have been like.

The ER is never fun whether it’s a fever that won’t go away or, you know a SEVERED FINGERTIP.

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I spared FB with my ER pics.

Not so here.

This is your last chance to look away.

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When it first happened I didn’t even realize my finger tip was gone. I was in shock at the pain and looked down and noticed it was gone. Still in the door. I retrieved it and somehow managed to text this to my husband who was at work to take me to the hospital (no the pic isn’t upside down the bottom part was my cuticle).

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After they soaked my hand in “monkey’s blood”.
Yes, I did take the tip with me to the ER.
In a Bowl.
On Ice.
Turns out fixing a finger tip is a little more complex then sewing a button back onto a shirt.
For shame.

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Post Vicodin (obviously).

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Christmas was the worst. Do you know how hard it is to wrap and unwrap presents with a hurty digit? On a more serious note, my grandfather passed away 8 days after my incident, on Christmas Eve, no less. It is so bizarre having to cope with physical pain and emotional pain at the same time.

Even though I am left handed,  I started to realize how much I truly have acclimated to using my right hand for most things aside from writing. At one point I actually started making a list of all the things that were near impossible since the incident but stopped around 11 because it was too depressing after a while. Here’s a sample.

  1. Opening a medicine bottle
  2. Opening an envelope
  3. Changing a diaper (the whole bathroom situation, really)
  4. Using a credit card reader
  5. Turning over the ignition switch
  6. Typing (10-keys were especially annoying)
  7. Showering (especially bathing my kid)
  8. Strapping in a car-seat
  9. Clapping
  10. Handshakes and Hi-fives
  11. Snapping your fingers

Funny thing, those last three.

In January I got the urge to snap my fingers when “Baby It’s You” suddenly got stuck in my head. It was incredibly annoying. Who doesn’t snap to that song? Seriously?

Then the whole church situation had me like…

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for a good while.

You never truly realize how much touching is involved in a church service until it becomes (literally) painfully awkward to do so. Handshakes, high fives, shoulder pats, corporately shaking you’re neighbor awake (I kid you not) before during and post service really get you thinking “Should we be touching this much in church?” and also “Am I buying enough hand-sanitizer?”

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I never really thought twice about clapping my hands in church until it hurt. I found myself compensating by trying to be extra smiley during worship because we all now that clapping hands and jumping around means you’re realllly worshiping (sarcasm, ha!)

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I couldn’t end this update without including some of the interesting dialogue from my husband who was completely supportive, loving and understanding through this whole healing process. My husband is also hilarious and is great at making connections with illustrations. So I wanted to share three comparisons that were mostly meant to make me feel better, but made me laugh instead.

When the incident first happened and we were driving home from the hospital, Angel says, “Hey Toni Iommi lost his fingers and it didn’t stop him from playing guitar! You can just put a thimble over your finger.”

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One day I was asking Angel for the car keys and he tossed them to me from across the room and I caught them with my left hand. Even though I am left handed, I typically only use my left hand for writing, so it doesn’t come naturally for me to throw or catch with that hand. Surprised at my reflexes Angel said, “Hey, maybe now that you can’t use your right hand you will be like daredevil and your left hand will compensate for you.”

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And more recently after I was mostly healed, my husband was like “Oh man I totally forgot about Frodo!!” Ironically I had my own little Gollum slam the door on my finger.

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The human body is an amazing thing. The doctor told me that it was unlikely my nail would ever grow back because my nail-bed was completely severed. During the healing process my nail-bed somehow shifted down my finger and today the entire nail has grown back. I still have nerve damage and dull pain from time to time but I have regained most use. We had a brief dumpster-side ceremony to say goodbye to my dearly departed digit. Seems silly, but in a way, a literal part of me died that day and it just didn’t seem right to not say goodbye.

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Welcome back, Tall Man.

♥ MM

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