the shattered remains of my left pinkie tip

This happened back in 2003. It’s the kind of thing that happens to me.

All I wanted to do was remove a bush from the yard. I’d started by clipping off the branches so that I could dig near the bush’s roots. The branches were pretty stiff down where I cut them and I didn’t cut them low enough. I was using a short-handled spade to do the digging and the stubs of the branches kept hitting my hands as I tried to dig. I kept digging anyway.

This is when it happened. I was trying to cut a root with the spade. One of the branch stumps caught my left pinkie tip and mashed it against the spade’s handle. It hurt a lot. I started toward the house to see if I needed to fix it. I was removing the work glove with my injured pinkie in it as I walked.

My pinkie nail was mostly detached from my finger but not the way that you think. The nail was still sorta connected to the end of my finger. It was the root of the nail that was sticking up in the air. My stomach wobbled a bit and I said “damn” quietly.

This surprises most people who know me because I’ve a bit of a reputation for using more colorful language.

When I got to the house, I met Pam and Morgan. Their stomachs wobbled a bit too and Pam took me to the patch-em-up place.

When the doctor came back with the X-rays, he announced, “You did it all right. The bone is completely shattered.” When we looked, all that we could see were a bunch of small specs where my fingertip bone was supposed to be. Apparently, there is no fixing that.

They taped my fingernail back to act as a splint while the swelling went down. They also pumped me full of antibiotics because bone innards aren’t supposed to be floating around your bloodstream or something.

Over the next few weeks, my fingernail grew back and that’s what keeps the shape of my fingertip. Paradoxically, it’s my right pinkie tip that has arthritis and hurts all the time.

I’m not sure if there is a point to this other than don’t let me near gardening tools. Pam isn’t buying that one though.

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