My garage door has seen better days. It is manual and runs on a rusty chain and pulley and jumps the track with regularity. On Sunday the chain came off the pulley and jammed. Again. So I pulled out the ladder, climbed up, reached overhead, and wrenched the chain back on. And at that instant, the full tension of the righted chain caught three fingers on my right hand and crushed them into the pulley.
The pain was excruciating. So excruciating that I can't really remember it. I do remember immediately jerking my arm to free my hand. But it wouldn't budge. I tried again, and again, and again. No movement. I quickly lost all feeling in my hand. I yanked some more. Still nothing. I was feeling dizzy. My cell phone was in the house. I began yelling for help, but none of my neighbors were outside and no one heard me. I had no idea what shape my hand was in, but I knew that if I didn't get free soon, I was facing something very serious. And I would pass out. That movie that I could never watch flashed through my mind--the one where the guy had to saw his own arm off after getting caught in some rocks while hiking.
I yelled and yanked and yelled and yanked, And then, although I have no idea how I did it, my hand was free.
A first look proved that my fingers were intact but the tips of three were crushed. They were purple and bloody and misshapen. I could not tell if one was missing its nail or not. I began to feel woozy and staggered into the house. Not trusting myself to be able to drive, I dialed 911, slumped to the floor holding my hand above my heart, and waited for the ambulance.
Six hours and one hand surgery later, I was released a little after 2am. In the end, I am extremely lucky. As the blood began to flow, my fingers began to regain their shape and look like fingers again. Despite the lacerations, my tendons are all intact. One nail needed to be surgically removed (cringe) and the nail bed repaired (more cringe) but it is expected to grow back. Only one finger is actually broken. Its broken all the way through, but it is also expected to fully heal, and without needing to be pinned.
Upon posting this I will be researching new garage doors.
Stepping In and Stepping Back
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