Friday, November 02, 2007

Fingers, hospitals, scissors, tears

Yesterday we went back to the hospital to have Una's cast removed. It was quite frightening as they were cutting it off, I was scared of what they might find under there. Una, who played happily with Fred in the waiting room, running around like a crazy child, freaked out at the giant scissors and cried more than when it happened (well maybe not, but she cried a lot). I think it was also what they were cutting away that upset her - she has become quite used to her cast and I think she saw it as a part of her being taken, in the carpark as we were leaving she said dolefully 'I wost my wittle fumb'. But perhaps she has worried about her finger too and was alarmed at losing the protection. Looking at the rough drawings in blue ink of her angle her finger was on made me shudder. Even the nurse sucked air through her teeth when she saw it. And when one nurse called it an amputation, my blood ran cold.

Anyway, it looks like her little finger is going to be fine. They soaked the bandages off and had a good look, though Una kept wanting to plunge it back into the soapy bath, hide it away. They bandaged it up again and Una was still not comforted, though she calmed down as we left the ward and was running and laughing in the hospital corridors. She's still favouring her left hand, she holds the other arm crooked against her like a broken wing, as if the cast is still there. Martin thinks it will make her left handed.

She'll lose her nail. I wonder how she'll feel about that when it happens. And then she'll grow a new one. Bodies are magnificent.

We all had a good look at Martin's brother's finger on Saturday night, he did the same thing at 18 months in a folding chair. It was reassuringly ordinary. It is strange to think how families connect up, not just through genetics but through stories. Una's accident recalls and rewrites the story of Peter's finger which I've heard many times, being part of the family lore it is told over and over, though I think Saturday night was the first time we'd all connected up that story with adult Peter's finger. Now the stories belong together, injuries almost thirty years apart, laid side by side.


  1. Remember the Scissor Man from 'Strumplepeter'? The one who used to snip off the thumbs of thumb-sucking children? I reckon every intelligent child with a bit of race-memory is afraid of a grown-up with a pair of scissors.

  2. Or is it Strumpelpeter, Struwwelpeter or Shock-Headed Peter? You know who I mean.

  3. Poor Una. Poor wittle fumb. So much limb trauma. I wonder if these will constitute her earliest memories?

  4. Anonymous3:35 AM

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