When Bernie chopped his finger off…

(I posted this before a Be2camp event I hosted in July 2010)

I had explained it 60 times already by 10 am 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 leant 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.

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 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 leapt up, rushed inside grabbing kitchen roll to wrap it in, blood was gushing down my arm like a BP oil pipe.

It was an unusual 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 at 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 pushed the top of my finger back on, and it started to sting.


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 then 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 to be seen.

‘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 suggested 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 she 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 3, 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 actual reality of what happens.

Like the scene in the movie Amelie where she imagines she is 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 acknowledge that in myself.

I lay on the table in the operating theatre thinking; you know what?

There’s a quick blog in this.

6 thoughts on “When Bernie chopped his finger off…”

  1. Bernie, for someone who once hated writing things – you sure have a way with words, I have been sitting reading this at lunchtime and have been laughing my backside off – this is a hilarious piece of writing – well done – I am going to tweet everyone I know about it – see you in about half an our for our meeting.

  2. Bernie, a wonderfully descriptive blog post, I was able to picture the scene. I have read somewhere that FEAR is a False Expectation that Appears Real and that 90 odd percent of the things we worry about never actually happen so your last couple of paragraphs are great for bringing that to the fore.
    On another topic, my Uncle lost the top of one of his fingers in an accident; it was always a great icebreaker…
    Wishing you a speedy ‘repair’

  3. Bernie J Mitchell

    Comment! I was reminded today of ‘TCUP’ that Johny Wilkinson practices when scoring – ‘Thinking Correctly Under Pressure’ 😉

  4. Bernie, only you could find something so amusing in nearly loosing the tip of your finger.Look forward to shaking hands later at #be2campeast ;-0 That should give you something to focus on in stead of the ‘what if’!

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