December 20, 2010

Don't Run with a Chainsaw

Yet another visit to the orthopedic surgeon today. We're still a bit muddled as to what to do, as this situation is not one he's seen before. So off the films and reports go to UF to some bigwig, where our doc will confer with him and we might be asked to make a drive so said bigwig can see for himself, as to how to proceed next.

To cut or not to cut, that is the question. The doc doesn't want to cut unless he has to. That's cool. We, however, have kind of resigned ourselves to the inevitability.

Would be nice if it didn't happen... but we're prepared mentally if it must.

Sitting in the waiting room... was really dang funny.

We walked in and took our seats in the back of the room, passing by men on both sides. They all looked like honest hardworking men; I'd say laborers.

I was reading when I heard one man say to the other, "Cut 'em all off. I cut off all four fingers with hedgeclippers..."

That made me raise my eyes and look over. Can you frickin' imagine?

He continued, "Yeah, the doc got 'em all reattached and they're good as new. Four months ago. It didn't hurt or anything... must've been the shock your body goes into."

The guy next to him said something I couldn't hear and finger cutting guy replied, "I was on top of a ladder. Instead of hitting stop, I hit the gas. Cut this one clear off... the other three down to the bone."

At this point, I cringed and said, "Oh My God. I think seeing my finger laying in the grass would have pulled me out of shock..."

He laughed and said, 'Nah, it wasn't like that. It was hanging there..." at which point I laughed a horrified laugh and sarcastically said, "Oh yeah. That's TONS better..."

My son was laughing. I was aghast.

The man continued to the guy next to him, "There is this guy who cut his arm with a chainsaw. Came in the same day I did..."

Yet another man across the way was in on the conversation. "My hand after years of abuse had crumpled up into a fist. I couldn't open my fingers. Look at this... look what the doc did..." and he moved his hands open and closed and acted as if he was playing the piano. "This other hand? I used to have to soak it in hot water and pry the fingers open. I give it 6 months... it'll be as good as new..."

The men continued their bonding experience when in walked a very thin man, all of 5'6", probably my age. He walked to the window to check in and I heard 'Fingerless Jose' say, 'That's him! That's the chainsaw guy!"

Chainsaw man walked in, quietly found his chair while fingerless man said, "Hey! How did it go?"

Evidently chainsaw man had literally nearly cut off his arm at the forearm with a chainsaw. He unwrapped his arm, from elbow to hand and showed everyone and said, "Three fingers... I have feeling and movement. I pray for the other two..."

Most of the men in that room? They do not play well with lawn equipment.

I felt like I was watching some weird rendition of that scene in Jaws where they are all under the ship comparing scars and stories.

A lawn man's horror movie... Good Grief

Posted by Boudicca at December 20, 2010 09:40 PM

I feel sick now.

Happy they are all having good results.

But I feel sick now!

Posted by: Sissy at December 20, 2010 10:31 PM

It was so awful, I had to laugh at times. I mean... it was BAD.

And let me tell you, Ringo felt BLESSED. In the end, what he had may be worse than what happened to those guys (we may have permanent immobility), but it wasn't near as gruesome. Blech.

Posted by: bou at December 20, 2010 10:34 PM

Oh yeah, that feeling and movement of fingers thing.

Reminds me of when I broke my elbow in '68.

Something (either the break or the surgery) nicked the nerve to my little finger. It had that nerve block feeling for a bit over a year.

Fortunately the nerve bundle wasn't displaced and it was able to grow back. It took the longest time (1" a month) before the little finger became fully functional.

Posted by: The Thomas at December 20, 2010 11:39 PM

I think your son will develop a healthy respect for power tools. This was probably a good thing :)

Posted by: PeggyU at December 21, 2010 12:30 AM

If the doc can fix all those horrible injuries, he should be able to repair a little bitty broken wrist.

Just Damn!

Posted by: Dax Montana at December 21, 2010 01:49 AM

I'm starting to wonder, after listening to the conversations, if he wouldn't have been better off chopping something off. Hey, at least it would have been cut and dry as to what was going on!

He sheered off the head of the radius, broke the ulna, stretched the medial nerve across the broken bone and dislocated the wrist.

In the beginning he had no feeling in the tips of his fingers, palm of his hand and thumb.

Week 2: Feeling in the tips of the fingers came back.
Week 4: Feeling in the palm came back.
Week 8: Full feeling was back in his thumb.

Still no rotational movement.

About 3 weeks ago, he was at school and he hit a desk with the back of his hand while walking out of class. Boom! lost all feeling in his thumb again.

The neurologist says carpal tunnel, something our super fantastic ortho guy said he thought had occurred as a result of the injury, from day 1. So that may have to be surgically relieved anyway.

But the MRI... you can't see the ligament, so now there is this question as to if there is ligament damage. The bones... did not heal correctly.

It was set in the ER and when we went to this doc, he looked at the Xrays and said it was a GREAT set. The only thing he would have done differently is put him in a cast past his elbow, as opposed to the half cast. I was like, "Hey! Change the cast!" and he said, "Nunh huh. I'm not touching that. It was a bad bad break. Leave it alone..."

But... the bone shifted and I think its because of the half cast the ER put on. The ortho doc was right not to touch it. It was too temperamental, but if the ER had put on a full cast, the bones may have healed congruently.

So that's where we are. Honestly... I think he's trying to NOT do surgery, because if we go that route, we're now going pins.

This really needs to heal itself. Because he still has growth plate open, there is thought the bones may shift as a result of growth, but nobody is sure.

Meanwhile, my son with the crazy long wingspan and short body is horrified his arms may still grow. Something about knuckle dragging...

If anyone can fix him, its this guy. I have complete faith...

Posted by: Bou at December 21, 2010 08:05 AM

South Florida. Definitely something you would see in South Florida. Ugh.

Posted by: vwbug at December 21, 2010 08:30 AM

If anyone can fix your sons hand, he IS the one! Ha ha been in that waiting room! so true so true!

Posted by: jd at December 21, 2010 10:28 AM

JD- I absolutely know he can fix it. It's so funny, but this weekend my bil asked me if we were going to get a 2nd opinion, suggesting we go down to Miami. I said, "Nope. This guy is the best and I know it." Then yesterday when he said, 'Look, I'm sending this film to UF so I can confer with someone up there...' it sealed the deal. I loved the fact that he is considered one of the best, but still wanted to talk to someone else that HE respected.

And better still... my son is absolutely NOT worried about this at all. He said to me, 'I'm not stressed because I know he can fix it.' He has complete faith in him... so in his eyes, "Its not his job to stress over it. It's Dr. A's."

Posted by: Bou at December 21, 2010 11:35 AM

Oh and Bou, that elbow break was the first one my ortho doc had seen. He saw three more in the next month or so all from motorcycle accidents (mine was a bicycle, over the handlebars).

Posted by: The Thomas at December 21, 2010 12:12 PM

If they are going to be doing carpal tunnel surgery you want to ask about laser surgery for it. Much better and quicker recovery time.

Carpal tunnel surgery, the old way, can take months with one not being able to lift anything over a gallon of milk.

And working in the auto industry, one sees people with missing fingers all the time. (Prototype and Tool & Die jobs are quite dangerous) It's really nothing uncommon, I am surprised Mr Weenie still has all his fingers. He's come pretty close 3 times, only losing 1 small tip of a finger.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at December 21, 2010 01:26 PM

Thomas- Actually, he's seen this before... just never on a teenager. He told me this is something he sees with middle aged people. I just hope it never happens to one of his kids.

QW- I think he does laser. He's cutting edge. And my son hasn't been able to lift a carton of milk since August 13. He has no strength or mobility, so anything to not make that worse would be GREAT.

I'd not thought about all the machinists who lose fingers, but now that you say that, my grandfather was a machinist and he lost part of a finger.

Posted by: Bou at December 21, 2010 07:15 PM

What did I miss? What accident?

Posted by: Denny at December 23, 2010 04:56 PM

Denny- You have to wait for your Christmas letter now! heh heh heh!

Posted by: Bou at December 23, 2010 05:56 PM

My father had a finger cut off several years ago - he was mowing his pasture and after putting the tractor in neutral he climbed down to pick up some debris he didn't want to mow over. The belt on the tractor chose that moment to shred whipping razor like strips out from under the mowing deck. He is lucky it only got a finger. It was left hanging by nothing more than a strip of skin. My mother was totally freaked and my father sort of shocky so I got to hold the finger in place while waiting in the emergency room. As the woman was asking questions to fill in necessary forms all my father kept answering was thank goodness it wasn't his trigger finger. Made the hospital lady a little nervous - giggle. Fortunately I was able to tell her the name of his blood pressure medication (which started with a P) as he kept saying it was Prozac (which of course it was not) - this was at the same time that there were several stories on the news of people on Prozac getting nutty and shooting up places... hence her nervousness at his trigger finger comments. Yup, my dad is red neck to the core.
Doc fixed the finger right up -

Posted by: patti at December 24, 2010 12:46 PM