I have to keep my finger in this tiny, stupid splint for six weeks!
I suppose, though, it could be worse. It could be my whole hand. Or a finger on my dominant right hand. Or my arm! OR MY NECK!
It all happened last Thursday. I was home, getting the girls ready for their evening bath. I had Penny undressed in my right arm and Beanut in her diaper in my left. The bath was run and the water was warm. Everything was going swimmingly.
Then Beatrice saw something so fun on the floor and dove for it. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but 1 year olds do not possess the world’s greatest self-preservation instinct. Luckily, I was there to get my hand under her to prevent toddler suicide. The bad news was that I got my left pinky under her sternum at just the wrong angle. It snapped.
The child was, and still is, totally fine. I caught her and she had no idea about the fate she narrowly avoided. I placed them both down on the sofa, set my broken finger back into place, and moved them to the tub. I sent Sarah the following text message:
She promptly called me back and I told her what happened as Penny and Bea splashed in the background. She promised to be home as soon as she could. I gave the girls a cursory bath, got them dressed, and set them up with some milk. I’d be lying if I told you I combed their hair, though. That really requires two hands: one to stabilize the squirming child and the other to operate the comb. Getting them dressed usually requires two hands as well, but I managed to pin them down with my forearm. No left hand fingers needed for that task.
By 6:45pm Sarah was home, and by 7 I was on the road to the local ER. They did a round of x-rays, determined that the photos were inconclusive, wrapped my finger in a splint, and sent me home. I was home by 9. It might have been the fastest ER visit I’ve ever had. Of course, they barely did anything and arrived at no answers, but, still, it was quick.
For a week, I’ve lived with the busted pinky. I’ve shoveled snow more than once. I’ve cared for tiny children. I’ve deboned chicken. All successfully, if a little slower than normal. Each day, I took off the splint for my shower and carefully redressed it afterward. I definitely splinted it more securely than the ER did.
On Thursday I had my follow-up appointment. The ER discharge paperwork told me I should have gone in on the 29th, but that wasn’t going to happen because A) a blizzard rolled through on the 28th and B) it was a Saturday. So Thursday it was.
I got another set of x-rays done and this time we were able to see the tiny bone fragment floating in my finger where the tendon snapped the bone. Pretty cool! I regret not asking for a copy of the images, though. Then the doctor told me that every time I take my finger out of the splint I tear through any new scar tissue formed and that if I want it to heal correctly—that is, heal in a way that allows me to fully straighten my finger—I need to keep it in the split for six weeks.
What a pain in the butt. At least the doctor cut the finger-length splint down to a knuckle-length splint to allow me to partially bend my finger.
So for the next six weeks I’m living with this adorable pinky splint that I need to keep clean and dry. I’ve ordered some extra-large nitrile gloves from the site that shares a name with a rainforest which will hopefully get me through six weeks of dishes, diapers, and cat litter. I already want to take the thing off and bend my finger. But I am going to be good.