The Powerful Pinky

in life •  last year

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:

Dislocated Finger

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:

X-Ray

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:

Free Pinky

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.

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Youch, youch, youch!! What a marathon to go through. Glad you're breaking on through to the other side now - and using the handrail 😜

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Things like this hinge around tiny moments. Something you do every day, in a familiar place, and then it goes wrong. I guess navigating stairs is like sailing - always have three points of contact

Lawzy!!! That is one nasty happening! My nephew was in a bus accident (so sad, a young man committed suicide by driving head-first into a school bus). As a result, my nephew, sitting in the back seat, flew the furthest and ended up with three pins in his hand (no pinky though ;-) ). He is also dysphasic (on the Autism spectrum) and things are very matter of fact to him. When the doctor pulled out the first pin, his eyes widened like saucers and he was very stoic. Apparently was quite painful for him! Of course, the doctor, a tiny woman, had to brace her foot against the bed to pull...

So very glad you mighty pinky is on the mend!!

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Thanks, @dalerog. Apparently, the pin-pulling-out thing is usually not that painful (although it's certainly unpleasant). But patients regularly pass out when it's done. Suicide by smashing into a schoolbus? How horrific. Committing suicide is one thing, but to deliberately harm others doing so is unforgivable.

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That's what Shane (my nephew) said. He said: "Why would anyone DO that?" I like to think the boy was not thinking... or that he figured the bus was so big, no one would get harmed. We'll never know...

That's gross and awesome at the same time!

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Amazing how those two things often go together

Whoah! That x-ray of the fracture is insane! Are you left-handed? How did you type this post?! haha.

I just tried tried making a fist without using my pinky and you were right- I had no idea the importance of our tiniest fingers.

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Yup, amazing isn't it?

Omg that looks like a painful break! Hope your healing well!

OUCH! Hope you have a full recovery. I can't even image the pain you had to experience.

That finger looks sore, hope you will be 100% soon.

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Thanks, @rynow, I'm sure it will

You weren't joking about the fist-clenching part. Taking the little finger out of it makes it so weak! Glad you made it through it all

Ouch!! I could feel the pain just reading you!! My son went trough something similar at 5 years old, but it was his elbow... When the nurse took out the pin without saying anything I tought she was crazy 😝 My son yelled so loud but not from the pain, but by surprise!! Sending you my sympathy for your pinky ;)

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Thanks, @jamisa - it is pretty gruesome, isn't it?

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Yeah! He's now 21 years old and still remembers it like it was yesterday

Phew what misery! I can imagine you should feel pretty disabled when you can only use 50% of the power in your hand, not to mention being extra carefull not to harm your pinky finger again.

Tomorrow when I sill grab the handrail of the stairs at work, I will be thinking of this story!

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Two things really made me feel disabled: cutting meat (very hard to hold the fork) and typing. I didn't think I used my little finger much for that, but it became very difficult and I made (actually still make) lots of mistakes. When I had the cast on typing was so slow I investigated Google Docs speech to text - very impressive.

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Nice! That is how something good can come from something bad like this! :-) hope you re 100% soon!

Please follow me, i will follow you back

You know, there are better ways to get attention in your posts! (Just kidding, great post, interesting facts...)

Ouch ! good luck with it