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Bending Your Knowledge Of Medicine Until It Breaks

, , , | Healthy | June 22, 2021

I went on a winter holiday in Austria. It was my second time snowboarding after finishing my lessons the year before. On the afternoon of our third day there, I was exhausted and I tried to push myself up from a sitting position but fell right away. I felt a small snapping sensation in my right ring finger, but I didn’t think much about it.

Thirty minutes and two ski lifts later, I realized that my finger was swollen. I decided to go back to our hotel. I asked my cousin — a med student — about what I needed to use to reduce the pain. She tried to feel the bone but couldn’t because the finger was very thick already.

Cousin: “Can you bend your finger?”

Me: “Only like a third of the way.”

Cousin: “How painful is it out of ten?”

Me: “I think six.”

Cousin: “I think you just sprained it. Just use the ointment to reduce bruising, wrap it with elastic sport tape to keep it still, and you should be okay in a few days.”

Me: “You don’t think it’s broken?”

Cousin: “You would know it if it was broken. You would feel more pain.”

Me: “I don’t have to go to the emergency clinic here, then?”

Cousin: “Nah. It’s too expensive here. You can wait until we’re back in Amsterdam.”

Me: “Okay.”

A few days after we were back, almost a week after the accident, I had to go to Indonesia. By then, the swelling was gone, but the finger was still crooked and couldn’t bend. I decided to go to a clinic there.

From the x-ray picture, they saw that I had a hairline fracture close to the second joint of my right ring finger. Unfortunately, it had already been too long, so the bone already started healing itself, in the wrong position. Now the finger is forever crooked.

When I told my family about it, [Cousin] received a lot of teasing, and the story is retold every winter holiday. She did not choose orthopedics as her specialty.