You want pain? I'll give you pain! - I imagined my little finger saying to me.
This is what happened.
I was home alone with a deadline looming. I grabbed a spot of lunch and rushed upstairs to get the work finished. Well not so fast... I reached the first stair and tripped, and my pinky finger caught the corner of a wall with my full weight behind it.
I heard a distinct CRACK. But there was no pain. Then I looked at it - and it was sticking out like a sore... no - like a dislocated pinky. I knew I had to get to an emergency room quickly. Luckily there was no pain.
Then it hit me. Deep searing pain. Which just increased with the bureaucracy at the hospital. The relief when they injected a blocker was immense. Then I had a good look at it:
X-rays confirmed that it was not only dislocated but broken. The doc straightened it out and strapped it up. With the help of some powerful pain-killers I made it through the next week. But the orthopod had some bad news: my finger was healing in the wrong direction. So more x-rays:
Yup, the break had not closed. There was only one thing for it: the bones needed to be re-broken and pinned in the right direction. This required an operation which was quite interesting since I could watch the surgeon drill and pin the bones on the monitor. (Yes, it was a local anesthetic.)
You've got to be kidding!
Two weeks later I reported to the surgeon's rooms for the pin removal. I thought this was going to be a big procedure, probably another local. But I was caught unawares when the surgeon simply pulled out the pins with a pair of pliers - while I was sitting innocently in his chair! I couldn't believe it. Nor could I believe that it didn't actually hurt. I later found out that they deliberately don't tell the patient - because no one would pitch up for it.
If I thought I had felt all the worst of the pain, I had another think coming. The next step was to get my finger moving again. My hand therapist is a sweet woman who smiles and chats about interesting things (more about that later). She is also an expert in inflicting huge pain - albeit in the nicest way. So much so that I almost fainted.
She confirmed what I already knew: the pinky is one of the most painful body-parts to injure. It's not known why. She told me about another patient of hers: he was a skydiver who one day hit the ground hard when his main chute didn't open. After they scraped him off the ground, they found his only major injury was to his pinky finger. The first time this lady touched his finger he fainted and had to be revived. So tough guys get sore too.
Here we go again
Unfortunately all this occupational therapy couldn't get my finger straightened. The surgeon said he'd have to operate again, to sew the tendons back in place. The flexor tendons had dropped down and didn't have the leverage to bend the finger. This required another op under full anesthetic, and a day in hospital. And lots, lots more pain. This time I was put in a cast for two weeks. A few days ago I was released from it - revealing a fairly battered finger:
Then yesterday I had to report for another torture session with the therapist, and it was all it was billed to be - I once again almost fainted.
So why the Powerful Pinky?
One of the facts my hand therapist shared is that the pinky provides about 50% of the power to your hand in a fist. Try it: grab something heavy while keeping your pinky away - you'll feel weak. Like me.
But I'm getting better thanks to the wonderful medical team. I have more appreciation for my little finger now.
And I now always use the handrail going up and down stairs.