Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Ring finger incident, severed tendon

Cheers gals and guys, been away for some time now but I'm back again, not with a vengeance but just back for a short while.

As some of you may know I had a boating accident recently involving my right hand and a rescue boat. We were at anchor in Male atoll in Maldives and we were tendering crew to a nearby Island called Bandos (should actually be renamed Bandits as they charged exorbitant prices and silly fees with no benefits).

After operation

Anyway, as it happened I was coming back onboard and the waves were kinda high (1m/3'), I went full throttle and planed the boat so I was jumping from wave crest to wave crest at the same time holding down on the bench with my right hand. As I was passing our ships stern I jumped another wave again and landed askew with the bow facing a few points starboard from my original course, this was enough to make my own dynamic energy to protest and try to maintain original course, as a result I tried to hold on but the boats seat were of glassfibre and the edge was very sharp so I could feel my fingers being cut.

I let go with the result that the boat went starboard, I went overboard. In the water I inspected my hand and saw 4 of my fingers bleeding, I flexed the hand and it seemed to work alright so I tried to swim onboard, the current was very strong and I could not make headway. Luckily my Able seamen, Ossi and Oskar, onboard saw what happened so they took another boat tied to our stern and came to fish me up as well as catch the strayed rescueboat that was now going in circles. I was by that time bleeding like a pig. Mental note: Next time wear the stop cord.

As we came onboard I went to take a shower in order to get the salt water off and then opened up ships medical chest and took out a suture set and some desinfectant. Went out in the sunshine and showed Oskar how to stitch by doing the 1st stitch myself, then he stitched my middle finger, after that I taped my three middle fingers together and thought that was that.

I had no more time to think abt my hand as we received guests onboard for the next 10 days and then I was due to some off time in Sri Lanka where I was at the same time to renew my Medical certificate that had expired. On the same day I was flying I removed the stitches & tape and thought that something might be wrong with my ringfinger as I could not flex the outermost joint. Did not worry too much and I spent 7days in Sri Lanka (which is another story) and returned onboard to go and see a local Doc in Male.

The Doctor confirmed my suspicions that the tendon in my ringfinger was severed and said that it should be operated asap because the end of the tendon is receding as the time goes by. I reported to Captain Nicolas and we decided to postpone any operations as recovery time is 6weeks plus and we were due to receive guests in a day or so. After having guests onboard and again had a week downtime (no guests) I flew to Goa, India as hospitals in Maldives were not recommended. Our Laundryman Nandush was from Goa, he had organized a meeting with a local surgeon on the day of my arrival the 1st of April. No joke.

I arrived India good and well and Nandush was to pick me up from the a/p in Goa and we drove to the capital of Goa, Panjim. We visited Nandush apt and his family and we started with some local beers for breakfast as we thought I would only have a meeting with the Doc today and operate tomorrow. At abt 10am we got our stuff together and piled into the car and drove off to see Doctor Oswald. He had his own clinic in a colonial era Portuguese house that is beautiful. I showed the finger and the case became very clear for Doctor Oswald and he told Nandush to take me immediately to hospital as I had only time until the 4th of April.

Once in the hospital it became apparent I was going to be operated immediately, I was whisked into a room after my body temp and weight was taken and then I had to wear the hospital gown and nurses came and went all the time, one giving me pills, the other inserting trip line another putting medicine in the trip and so on. At the same time I was running to the toilet pissing out the breakfast beer. Finally at abt 3pm I was trolleyed into the operating theatre.

In the theatre were 2 Doctors and they started with local anesthesia, long needles with big syringes were pushed into my armpit and under my collarbone, all very uncomfortable. One of the Doctors were asking if I can feel anything I replied "yes, yes, don't cut yet" (more drugs) and finally they relented and said they would put me to sleep, drugs were put into my trip and I was breathing into a oxygen mask, last thing I can recall is that my brain is saying I can't breathe and I'm trying breathing but I can't feel anything and I'm feeling distressed.

Next thing I know I'm being patted awake and my bed is moving out of the theatre into the ICU. My hand is or rather my finger is hurting from the operation, I'm all dizzy from all drugs and the anesthesia so I sleep again and again. Mika the 3rd Engineer who is also on vacation in Goa visits me for awhile but I'm not that coherent so he leaves after a few minutes. During the night my finger is hurting even more, I guess all the painkiller are wearing off so I ask for something, the nurse injects Tramadol that is a replacement for Morphine. When it courses into my veins I start to feel nauseous and feel like throwing up for a minute, then the drug kicks in and I can relax, the pain is reduced to a numbing sensation in the background. I think I would make a bad junkie, all that stuff with needles and nausea does not appeal at all. Anyway, a few days go by I am put into an ordinary room, I start eating solid food, I am fed pills etc. on the 3rd I am discharged from the hospital to stay the last night in a hotel to fly off to Male via Bombay. Quite a boring trip actually.

Once back onboard I am wearing the whole hand in a cast, on the 8th I visit the local clinic to remove the stitches, wound is not healed enough so I have to wait another 5-7days. Luckily I got the cast off so I'm more comfortable moving around and boy were the other fingers hurting from the one weeks immobility, not a thing I can recommend. Anyway, we received guests onboard again, I am but a one armed bandit helping out here and there as I can't use my right hand. On the 15th I take the stitches off myself, feels good to heal, I finished off all the meds the Doctor sent with me. On the 31st we finally disembark all guests and I also pack my things to fly home for some physical therapy as the finger is frozen in nearly 90deg angle and is not moving at all, except inwards.

Once in Thailand I visit the best hospital in the vicinity, Sanamjan in Nakhon Pathom abt 20 clicks from my house. I go to the P.T. ward and am started to be treated with ultrasound, a very painful sensation to experience, like being hit on the finger with a hammer somewhat like that. The after that paraffin bathing, I have to immerse my finger in a tub full of hot paraffin 10x for 5 rounds. Not so bad, quite hot. After this I am getting finger massage and stretching, the stretching part was so painful on the first day that I wanted to cry. It still hurts now after 2 weeks of treatment but is not that painful. My finger is now nearly straight, it still is slow I need constant exercise and stretching and I think it will never be the same but only time will tell...

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