Elementary school kids love to play various games during their snack and lunch breaks after class. In the third grade tag games were the hot thing to do during recess. Personally I hated playing tag games because I was never the fastest girls, and I always seemed to end up getting tagged. I was “it” for hours! One day my friends and I decided to switch up our usual routine of playing tag and chose to play Cops and Robbers instead. As fun and easy as that sounds, to this day I am still scarred from playing that game.
Excitement rushed through me when I was chosen to be on the Robbers team. That means I got to hide, and I had always had a unique talent for finding creative hiding spots, so I thought this was the right fit for me! As the Cops began their countdown, all of the Robbers quickly dispersed throughout the playground. On the farthest end of the field I spotted, what I thought at the time was the perfect place to hide. It was a huge tree that had roots jutting out of the ground and multiple little bushes all around it.
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I saw my chance and rushed over to the tree and nestled myself between two trunks. As the minutes continued to pass by, there was still no sign of any cops in my area, so I decided to risk taking a little peek. I stuck my head out from behind the tree, and not one, but two cops spotted me. They immediately started to run my way! As they got closer I was forced to run away from my brilliant hiding spot and broke out into a full sprint away from the cops. In a matter of seconds both of the cops were right behind me and to try to get away a turned to the left.
If only my feet moved as fast as my mind. My right foot caught onto one of the giant roots sticking out of the ground and pulled my entire body down to the earth. As I hit this ground I instantly heard a loud “snap” and felt a sharp pain in my right hand. It sounded as if someone had just snapped a branch completely in half. The pain was so excruciating that I immediately pulled my hand close to my body to try to stop the intense pain. In tears and too afraid to look down at my own hand I begged Jessica, one of the cops who was chasing me, to look down at it.
When I told her that I thought I had broken my hand, she automatically thought I was just being over dramatic. I knew it was really bad when I uncovered my hand and her face instantly turned as white as a sheet. Fearing the worst, I looked down and saw one of the grossest things I had ever seen in my entire life. My ring finger was in the shape of a lightening rod and my pinky was dangling off to the side of my hand. During all of the commotion, three yard-ladies made their way over to me and took me into the school nurse’s office. They kept trying to get ahold of my parents but their phones kept going straight to voicemail.
I was stuck in the nurse’s office with a tiny little ice pack that sat on my hand for over three hours. Making things even worse, one of the yard-ladies who barely spoke English, sat with m wiping my tears and kept repeating, “It’s, okay, honey bunches”. I was so relieved when my mom finally walked into the nurse’s office to save me. The second she saw me my mom instantly came over and looked at my hand. She was shocked by how bad my injury actually was. After she made sure that I was okay, she checked me out of the nurse’s office and thanked the yard-ladies for being there for me.
I don’t think I have ever seen my mom drive as fast as she did when she rushed me to the hospital. In the waiting room at the hospital I couldn’t help myself from starting at my fingers. How did my once straight fingers turn into giant, puffy zigzags? Would my hand be disfigured forever? I couldn’t help but wonder. According to my doctor, along with the multiple fractures to my fingers I also had a type of injury called a proximal interphalangeal joint dislocation in both my pinky and ring finger. I had landed on my hand at a ninety-degree angle causing my fingers to dislocate and break in several different places.
After explaining my injury, the doctor showed me the X-ray of my hand to help me understand exactly what had happened. In the human hand, there are four bones in each phalange. I had managed to fracture three and dislocate two. In my ring finger, I severely dislocated my proximal phalange from the metacarpal and fractured the metacarpal. And in my pinky, I slightly dislocated my proximal phalange from the metacarpal and fractured both the proximal phalange and the metacarpal. He then explained that he could simply “pop” my pinky back into place and a team of redd blood cells would rush to the injured area and help my bones heal on their own.
But in order to heal the trauma to my ring finger, I was going to have to have three, two-inch pins surgically implanted into my finger. According to the Wheeless Textbook of Orthopaedics, the method that my doctor was going to perform is called traction. This method invovles the use of pins in the shape of a “7”. The long body of the pin would be the part that would be inserted into my finger and the through my bones to heal the fracture and keep my bones from continuing to re-dislocate. The pins played an improtant role of stabalizing my bones.
In order for this technique to work, each pin needed to be inserted in at three different angles. Two pins were put in on the left side of my finger and the third was placed into the right side. By doing this, each pin would be holding the bones in place at different angles allowing them to heal back together. The purpose of the pins was also to help my bones so they would heal straight and not crooked or continue to re-dislocate. The next day I walked into the hospital gripping my mom’s hand as tight as I could. She brought me into the hospital room and laid me down in the bed.
After kissing my forehead, she told me she would be there next to me when I woke up. However, the second she left the room I was instantly overwhelmed by fear. There were strange smells and scary looking instruments all around me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Finally the nurse came into the room and told me to just relax and that everything was going to be okay. She then told me to count backwards from ten. While I was counting she placed a little mask over my mouth and within seconds I was drifting off into my own little world.
The next thing I knew I was awake in a hospital room with my mom holding my hand just like she was before she left me. it was as if nothing had even happened. I looked down to see if I had just been dreaming, but sure enough there were three tiny objects sticking out of my finger and my hand was wrapped up in a cast. The pins looked as if a person had just shoved three push pins into the sides of my finger. My surgeon came back into the room and said that the surgery went well and he would see me in two months to take out the pins.
As promised, a couple of month later I was back in the same little hospital room and he removed the pins from my hand. After another two and a half months of intense physical thereapy twice a week, the long healing process of my hand was finally over. The experience I went through of healing my fingers through surgery and regaining the strength of my hand through physical therapy sparked a new passion in my life. To me it is mind-boggling how the human body is structured and how it works. I can now say that because of this experience I have discovered the path I want to take throughout my life.
I know that I want to pursue the field of physical therapy in college and one day open up my own physical therapy practice. My goal is to help other people work through their injuries and prevent more injuries from occuring. That small, yet impactful moment in my past has inspired my future. To this day, whener I look down at my hand I can see the three little scars on my finger from my surgery. Every time I reminisce about how I got those scars and am constantly reminded of my first time breaking a bone and my only time playing Cops and Robbers with my friends back in the third grade.