When Bernie chopped his finger off...

(This was first posted before a Be2camp event I hosted in July 2010)

I had explained it 60 times already by 10am Tuesday so I thought I would put a quick blog together on the sling and the finger before today’s event.

Monday evening I was at a mates place and leaned back in my wooden patio chair to declare ‘Oh what a wonderful life!’ and it collapsed on me, that is the chair not my life.

In an effort to steady myself I made a grab under the seat and caught the ring finger of my left hand in between the part of the chair that was collapsing with velocity, propelled by my body weight.

Chair shut tight with the skin of my much crushed finger in it and the tip of my finger bone clearly visible. I said something that sounds like duck, truck etc. Then said Jesus very loudly, well we always turn to a maker no matter what our religious disposition. I quickly collected myself and looked at the damage and refocused on the inside of my finger, more impressively my bone. What a unique journey of inner self discovery this was becoming.

Next, like Neo from the Matrix jumping up after a thrashing from an agent, I leaped up, rushed inside grabbing kitchen roll to wrap it in, blood was gushing down my arm like a BP oil pipe. It was an interesting sensation but obviously had something of a timer on it. 

I have learnt from parachute jumps to pay attention to what is going on and be in the moment, Wordsworth talks about being ‘prompt and watchful’ and having visual access to my bone and all this blood was certainly unique and something to treasure. (Clearly I was getting light headed and starting to hallucinate.)

I arrived at the tap.

Cold water on.

Made a mess in the sink.

Cleared it up (I am a dream husband).

Looked at my hand, my finger and then admired my bone that was visible in the gap in my skin.

Then the water kind of pushed the top of my finger back on and it started to sting. Lots.

Then my mate Debs came in and went blue. She told me I was a brave little soldier; I got wrapped up to stop the flow and thrown in a car to the hospital.

I got dumped at the hospital and waited for Super Cool Wife to arrive. I was alone with 40 people in A&E in Whitechapel, switched on my ipod and started mind mapping in my notebook.

I was called through.

‘Name?’ ‘Bernie.’

‘Are you allergic to anything?’ ‘Yes – seeing my bone.’

The nurse undid the bandage, flinched and STRONGLY recommended I don’t look.

Suddenly a plastic surgeon appeared flinched and STRONGLY recommended I don’t look. He recommended going straight up to theatre where he could stitch me up, any delay and I might lose the tip of my finger.

He asked me what I thought, I said if I was going to lose the tip of a finger my right hand would be best so I could enjoy the awkwardness of people shaking hands and not knowing whether to mention it or not for the rest of my life.

By now Super Cool Wife had arrived and was having none of my ‘take a photo and let me tweet it!’ nonsense, she did take a picture but both the surgeon and her STRONGLY advised me not to look. She is a clinical psychologist so has some authority on how things affect us. Until now I was eager to see the new iphone 6, sod that, now I want to see the picture of my finger.

Up to theatre, lots of injections as I lay awake with people sewing my finger back together and really what a luxury it is. Amazingly helpful, considerate and reassuring staff, we all sang along to Paul Simon and Hall & Oates on Magic FM as they performed their craft with precision for 45 minutes.

If anything I am grateful for the experience, why? Because as the whole sequence unfolded I realised that I worry much more about what MIGHT happen and how I MIGHT react that the actually reality of what happens. Like the scene in the movie Amelie where she imagines being tied to a missile.

I spend HUGE amounts of time wondering ‘what if?’ When it happens I always know what to do, until this little drama I did not really acknowledge that in myself. I lay on the table in the operating theatre thinking, you know what? There’s a quick blog in this.

Have a remarkable day J