Tag Archives: finger

Ageing Bit by Bit

I was tempted to title the blog Stiff Little Fingers. This would be accurate as far as my arthritis goes, but might raise false hopes in the hearts of ageing punks. I added the link as it’s one of those words that can cause confusion when written by an Englishman and read by an American.

What happened to suggest the title was that I went to bed last night, slept reasonably well and woke up with a little finger that wouldn’t bend. It’s ached for years, and often seems rather cold compared to the other fingers on that hand, but so does the little finger on my other hand.

I now have a ring finger on the right hand that is arthritic and a little finger on the left hand that looks like it’s starting to go.

It freed up while I was at work (sorting junk postcards this morning) though it returned in the afternoon when I drove to Grantham (I only did a half day in the shop today).

So, it started with one finger (I would link to that post but can’t even hazard a guess where it is), moved on to a knee and is now colonising another finger. At this rate I have about twenty years before all my fingers are useless. (Though if my calculations are accurate I will spend my late 70s only able to type slowly and operate doorbells).

As I’ve said before, I’d have taken more care of my body if I’d realised how long I was going to need it.

It’s happened already!

Do you remember me saying I’ve used a fingerprint as part of the set-up for my phone? And that I’d probably lose the finger now?

Well, I still have all my fingers, but…


Sorry it’s a bit blurred but I had to frame it to miss out the clutter on my desk and take it with one hand, so focus proved to be a step too far.

It was the result of a blood test rather than accident, and I really ought to have thought about it before letting them use that finger. It bled quite a lot, because they’ve pumped me full of Warfarin and the injections that I can’t remember the name of. (That’s a little inelegant, but “the name of which I cannot remember” seems worse). I had also bled overnight from the site of the injection I gave myself last night.

Annoyingly, despite the bleeding, the numbers indicate that I’ve failed to reach the necessary threshold. They have upped the dose again and booked me in for a test on Wednesday, because I clearly have nothing better to do than go to hospital for tests. No doubt they will want me back on Friday  too.

Having switched the phone off as requested when I entered hospital I had to restart it to call a taxi. This involved jugging stick, phone and bag as I tried to remove the plaster with my teeth.

The result of all that was that I managed to get blood on the sensor which, unsurprisingly, could not be persuaded to open the phone. Application of a handkerchief to both finger and sensor finally enabled me to ring a taxi.

I’m having a rethink on this fingerprint technology.


This knife of Sheffield steel (2)

So there is was, isolated, disorientated and vulnerable in a small cubicle – presumably to make me answer all their questions. The Big Man with entourage came, then the gormless medical student and, eventually, the Bandage Nurse.

I had an overwhelming urge to call her “Sister” on account of her air of authority.

By the time she’d finished the bandaging it looked like I’d grown one of those comedy fingers you see in cartoons. You could imagine that if she removed the bandage the finger would pulsate and light up bright red.

“You’ll have to hold it up,” she said, “to stop the bleeding.”

I humphed. It had now taken over four hours since cutting the finger and all I had to show for it was a bad attitude and a comedy finger. Did I mention which one it was? Shall we just say that passing Americans looked at me aghast, unsure of what they had done to merit such an insult.

Anyway, they let me out of the claustrophobic cubicles and moved me to a chair in a dingy corridor with light-absorbing paint and a line of gloomy people that made  American Gothic or  Lowry look like tourist posters. Apart from one bloke, who was doing a passable impression of an idiot.

“Of course,” he said, “i’ve to them all. haven’t I Grace, been to them all?”

His daughter smiled in embarrassment as she sat there, small, pale and clearly in pain.

Then he went on to name all the local casualty departments he’d been to (many now closed) and all the uninteresting injuries he’s had. If I say he was the sort of man who remembers the names of consultants I’m sure you get the idea.

“She’s put her hand in a riveting machine.” he said.

If I’d have lived with him I’d have happily put my head in one.

When he left, smiles broke out what had looked like a line of professional mourners suddenly looked like a line of contestants in The Price is Right, though one of them did have an offensively raised finger..


This knife of Sheffield steel

I’ve been writing about my arthritic finger recently, including a good helping of melodrama and a shameless bid for sympathy. However, this isn’t the silliest finger injury I’ve ever had.

I was once trimming some leaflets for Julia using a steel rule and a Stanley knife. In order to do them more quickly I started making the piles of leaflets higher, pressing the blade down more firmly and cutting more quickly. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

After spending a few minutes on The Stupidity of Husbands who Bleed on Leaflets (which would make a good title for a book on marriage) she decided I needed to go to hospital.

“Don’t be silly.” I said. “All it needs is running under the tap and I’ll stick a plaster on it. Oh!”

The “Oh!” represents the noise I made when the force of the water peeled the top of my finger back and left it hanging by a thread of skin. It wasn’t a very big bit, no more than a quarter inch at most, and it didn’t hurt.

First stop was the doctor. It wasn’t an emergency so hospital wasn’t an option. Wrong. Doctors don’t do stitches anymore and it apparently was an emergency. (As you can see from the fact I was later to go to hospital with a swollen finger I was to adopt this approach).

There was a woman in the emergency department with skinned knuckles. That definitely wasn’t an emergency. How I scoffed. In fact I scoffed for ages because there was a long wait and I had not yet perfected my A&E skills. I now take a book, maybe two. And I don’t take a drink – you won’t enjoy it because you’ll worry about needing the toilet and missing your name being called. After two kids who did aikido and rugby I’ve become something of an expert at waiting. I was also, briefly, a bit of a legend in the dojo. They were all worried that I’d be freaked out by Number One son’s cut brow and bloody appearance, but calmed down when I said I intended going home to select a good book and have a nice cup of tea before going for a three or four hour wait.

Eventually they took me through to a curtained cubicle where a man came in and asked when I’d last had a tetanus inoculation. I couldn’t remember so I had to take my trousers down.

Yes, I thought it was a bit strange too, more like a game of Forfeits than a medical , though in the days before they all had ID badges you tended to believe that all people who gave you orders in hospital were staff. Fortunately he put my mind at rest by stabbing me in the leg with a needle. It was larger than the normal syringe they use so 25 years later I’m still left with a slight doubt in my mind as to whether he was a nurse or a keen amateur injector.

(To be continued…)