A bad day

Mine don't hurt at all now. Not even a little bit.
I watched a kung fu movie where the hero repeatedly spears his flattened hands fingers first into red hot gravel, and I did that for a while with warm soft dry beach sand. Toughened them up quick. Dried mung or aduki beans are good too, especially for learning where the new ends are (the painless but panicky razor cut feeling). I never used gravel though.
If it keeps hurting, or if you have difficulty doing things, find a doc who knows about tidying up the ends. I had some ends trimmed after a month or so. It's not straightforward, you have to consider the hand as a whole and what it is used for to decide where to put the scars, both the scars on the bone and the scars on the skin, and it's not a thing that the average doc will know about.
The average ER doc will try to save as much as he can - the specialist will try to create the best working hand he can. There's a big difference.
But do be thorough in choosing a doc, and do be a bit reluctant, nay squeamish, about having more bits chopped off - one chap I know had his nonfunctioning forefinger chopped off, it got in his way; he now regrets it, but you can't get them to put it back after.
The dexterity used to manipulate a tool comes largely in the wrist. Welding uses the elbows and shoulders too. The fingers do little more than grasp, generally providing only a small amount of movement which the wrist can duplicate.
For instance, assuming your wrist is okay, if you only have enough fingers left to grasp a pen after an injury, you can still write, you won't need to retrain to learn how. Your wrist can do all the movements without you even thinking about it.
Playing musical instruments without a full complement of fingers is a different matter, but hey, Django Rienhardt only had two fingers - if you really want to, you'll find a way.
I don't play - I can manipulate a bass guitar's strings, but I'm not very musical - but as I said before, people give me fiddly jobs to do despite having a lot of damage to my hands. I do piano finger exercises -
I - will - do - my - ex - er - ci- ses - I - will - do - my - ex - er - ci- ses -
to keep my fingers supple, and because I have extensive loss of touch sensation (but not pain sensation, that mostly came back) I have developed extra good hand-eye coordination to more than compensate.
Hmmm - having suffered all sorts of pain, and seen more, I've come to the conclusion that you should feel healing wounds, but they shouldn't hurt; and you should medicate accordingly. Don't take pain meds if you don't need them though, and don't take them long-term. And don't operate heavy machinery while taking percocets - oops!
I'm not quite sure what you mean - if it's that you might get addicted, be aware of that - sure, be very aware of that - but if it's that taking meds will cause more pain later, or make it hurt for longer, and that macho-ing it out will make it hurt for a shorter time, or hurt less overall - well if it works for you that's fine, but medically it's not generally true.
It's hard to tell how long crushed fingers will hurt for, it depends on what's happened at the ends, but I'd guess no more than a week. You'll get aches and flashes for quite a while when you bang them too, until they toughen up.
Reply to
Peter Fairbrother
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"Peter Fairbrother" wrote
I wish my severed sternum would toughen up. It has been 28 months now.
Reply to
Geez Ernie! I've run my fingers through table saws, milling machines. bandsaws, grinders, and bicycle sprockets. I've burned em,drilled em, and smacked em with a hammer more times than I can count. But miraculously I've managed keep all the significant digits.
What the hell could you have been thinking about, that could make your mind wander from a machine with that much power?
My best wishes are with you buddy. Mashing that many nerve endings must hurt like the dickens.
Get well, relax, and try to keep your mind occupied with things that don't remind you of your fingers.
Paul K. Dickman
Ernie Leimkuhler wrote in message ...
Reply to
Paul K. Dickman
Speaking from five years out, I'll tell you the sternum toughens up some, but it never gets back to where it was before they broke all those ribs.
Reply to
Rick Cook
"Winston" wrote
First, let me say that this is a thread about Ernie's experience, and not mine. I would go through my experience TWICE rather than go through what Ernie went through.
I was replying to the statement made that the pain will go away, and that it will all be a memory at some time in the future. I was merely stating that from my experience, my bones still hurt from heart surgery I had.
On June 19, 2002, I had an 8 hour surgery for a 5 way bypass and an aortic valve replacement. It was a wild ride, and the surgery site definitely feels better than it did. My scar is small by bypass operations standards at 6 1/2". When I got back to work, four others had operations, and some of their scars are 12" long. They cut the sternum in half, or they cut the ribs, I am not sure. But I just know it still hurts, and I have discomfort from it. I probably always will.
But you know how it is once you are addicted to steel and metals. You just gotta keep lifting them and making things from them. So, I still hurt. I definitely can't do what I once did, having this operation and three on my shoulder. So, I concentrate on smaller items, and get help when lifting big things. The hardest thing I can do is get up off of the floor.
But, I think people who work with steel are a little bit egotistical and even hardheaded, and I still do things that are marginal or outside my ability. Then I have to cut back for a few days or longer until I work out the kinks. A hot tub helps. Meds help. Time helps. Then I go outside and get back on that bull ...............
It's just that once you break something, or something gets sawed in half, it just ain't the same any more. Although, I did have a knee operation in '63 that I can say improved my knee, and I don't have problems with it any more. It doesn't hurt either, but that was to remove cartilage, and they didn't cut any bone.
All I know is that I feel a lot better otherwise. I would probably be dead now if they hadn't tuned me up. I couldn't walk a block, was gasping for air, and felt like a dog log. If any of you guys have heart problems, go get them taken care of. You will be amazed at how much better you feel. There are only three choices: live with it (not long), get it fixed, or die.
PS: When I got back to work, Ray, who didn't like doctors wasn't there. He didn't go to the doctor, and died on the floor at work.
Regards to Ernie: I hope you are topping that first hill on the road to recovery. You wake up one day and say, "I feel better" and then you go on to the next hill. I'm glad we can't totally really remember pain.
Reply to
I'm really sorry about your bad day. I hope you get feeling better soon. Any finger injury makes me cringe.
A number of years back shortly after graduating from The Detroit Institute Aeronautics with my airframe and power plant rating I flew to Saint Paul, Minnesota to work on the cargo door of a DC3. The door had been hit and the top hinge was sprung out causing the door to bind keeping it from closing. Looking the situation over I decided that a temporary reshaping of the hinge would allow the door to be closed in order to fly the plane back to our maintenance facility at Pontiac Airport in Michigan. The temp outside was about 10 degs F and somewhat windy. I took a two pound hammer from my tool box with my left hand. (I'm a lefty) I was balancing myself at the door opening with my right hand and holding the door open against the fuselage with it too. I took aim with the hammer, wound up to put as much of a hit as I could behind it. As the hammer is well on its way to hitting the mark the wind caught the door forcing my hand up right in the path of the hammer. It was like everything was moving in slow motion. I could see my thumb was now the target and I could do nothing to stop what was about to happen! Bam! I immediately broke out into a sweat having to take off my jacket, hat, and at last my gloves even though it was 10 degs out. I ended up blowing the left tip of my thumb apart. I managed to stick my hand in the snow near the plane and finally started getting cooled down. I called one of the pilots to come out and help hold the door so I could finish what I started. The second hammer hit did the trick on the hinge and the door would close. I flew back to Pontiac with the DC3. By the time we got back my thumb felt like it was getting hit by the hammer with each of my heart beats. I ended up at the doctors as soon as I could. He had to put in a drain hole into what little nail was left which was like getting hit by the hammer once again when all the pressure was relieved. Like I said earlier, I cringe any time I hear about a hand injury. My thumb is not in too bad of shape now though it took over a year to get some feeling back in it.
Take care Ernie,
Eric D
Reply to
Eric D
I made that statement. It happened to me. My pain went, 100% gone.
If it hasn't happened for you, perhaps it should have.
The pain should go away. If it hasn't after 28 months, you are doing something wrong. Get a better doc. Seriously.
I haven't had a severed sternum, thank goodness, busted lower vertebrae are my limit as far as maybe-real-nasty physical damage does, but one of my friend-girls from a long time ago has had four operations which involved splitting her sternum (and more), and putting her and it back together.
I don't remember exactly when that happened to her, but it started after when I moved 9 years ago, and a few yrs ago, after, we "did it" for the first-once-and-only time, and she had zero apparent discomfort. Quite the reverse, and energetic, too.
If you are reading this, hey!?!? More?!?
I'll also tell of an incident after I busted some vertebrae one time, and if a different "she" reads this, well okay, Hi.
I was laid out in bed immediately after taking a hit - at first I thought it would be okay, but then I found I couldn't move. She laughed about it and went out - I have some sympathy, it was New Years Eve - but then I found I _really_ couldn't move. At all. And she didn't come back for days!
After a while I managed to move my arms, and I threw a shoe through the window in hopes of attracting attention; but all I got was cold. I'm not telling about the next days, it took ages and involved things I don't want to talk about*, but eventually (~36 hours later) I got to hospital. Where they X-rayed me, and prompty threw me out, because by then I could move... No sympathy.
Was I Scared? Well, I don't anything to be scared off now, but at the time ... yes
Yes. It never is the same, and it never will be. But if it's usefulness comes from the brain behind it or the body supporting it, then it should mostly turn out okay. Which it usually does.
I have suspicions about long-term pain and sensitivity from injuries to the sternum. I don't doubt that it hurts, and if I was a doc I'm prescribe so, but the sternum should heal faster than that.
There are patent issues - I kid you not - about surgical methods of fixing the sternum, but it should never take more than a year - and more like 3-4 months - for all continuous pain to go, and for any transient pain to be immediately associable with current pressure/ stress/ activity in the area.
That can last a long time, but after a year of onerous exercise or similar, it should be completely painless. 100%.
I repeat, I am not a doc; but it seems to me you should expect better.
Reply to
Peter Fairbrother
Ernie is made of sterner stuff than most. I can't imagine that a little thread drift would offend him overmuch.
Ain't that right. Ernie? :)
Congratulations on your recovery! I hadn't been following your threads and assumed that you had been attacked by non-degreed individuals.
All my best
Reply to
And now the picture.
I found out today that I could get my X-rays on CD from radiology. I have posted the best to the dropbox
look for
formatting link
This was before any work was done They had to trim back the middle finger another 3/8" to have enough skin to close the end.
The index finger doesn't hurt as much as the middle finger. The index finger got severed. The middle finger got mashed.
I got the cast and bandages off today.
Not pretty and lots of really sensitive nerve endings Still, could be worse.
At least now I am qualified to teach high school shop classes.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
I missed the cause, I suppose a moments inattention is all it takes. Funny thing is all the google ads above the message for splints and bandages. Now you have the secret handshake.:)
Reply to
That's actually a rather cool image. Send it to CafePress - you could do warning T shirts 8-)
Hope the healing goes well
Reply to
Andy Dingley
Owww. These are the things I dread. However, it happens. Sometimes even to the best.
You are so generous with your knowledge and encouragement. I wish our generousity could instantly make it better.
Meanwhile, here's hoping for a speedy physical and mental recovery!
With all good wishes, David Todtman
Reply to
David Todtman
Hey Ernie, Have you experienced any phamtom pain yet?, pain in the finger tops you don't have any more. If so you will need to start desensitizing the stumps. Kinda like letting the brain know where the fingers end. I used a variety of sandpaper and tool edges. After a while you won't remember what it was like to have all your fingers. Are you going to be able to operate a mig gun as is or will you have to relocate the trigger?
Reply to
John D
Not to make light of your situation, Ernie, but I think your image will become a classic, posted near pinchpoints throughout the world
I remember that mashed feeling distinctly. The tip of my right middle finger is still somewhat numb from crushing it about 10 years ago.
Reply to
Jim Stewart
I suggest you hang a print of this X-ray on each machine capable of doing this kind of damage, as a graphic reminder to the students that this real, unforgiving world. (I don't think you will need a reminder yourself.)
Reply to
Leo Lichtman

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