Fingernail---worth saving?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Jena, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    To those who have partial fingers...

    My finger has not healed well. I have a hook nail, which is pretty darn tender (after 3 months). I can't pick things up with that finger, can't do anything with it really. It also has become infected. I did a course of antibiotics and the doc wanted to see if the infection would flare back up after they were done. It is.

    I'm getting really tired of this stupid finger. My options are...continue to see if it improves, get more aggressive in infection treatment (could result in a hospital stay for IV antibiotics) and try to keep the nail or

    Have another surgery and remove the entire nail. The result would be a shorter finger than what I have now (probably 1/4 inch or so), but recover should be relatively short (compared to what it took the original injury to heal).

    Any advice on whether it's worth trying to keep the nail? Like I said I'm sick of the whole deal and am inclined to just have the surgery and be done with it (hopefully), but since I've never lived nail-less, I thought I'd see what anyone else who has would say.

    Thanks
    Jena
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Jena, I have a hook fingernail on my amputated finger.

    However, I never got infections in it. To be honest, I'd gotten blood poisoning maybe a year -- can't remember exactly when :confused: -- before I smashed that hand, and was told my recovery from the blood poisoning actually yielded me a lot of immunity from infection, at least temporarily. So, it's entirely possible I'm not a good source of info for this.

    Not to mention, I also have a ridiculously high tolerance for pain. :rolleyes: I know that finger hurt for a very long time --- it's 10 years later, and it still feels funny --- and I still don't use it. So ... I don't know.

    I do know I'm glad I have the nail, if that's any help.

    Sorry you're still having trouble with it. :(
     

  3. NancyinArkansas

    NancyinArkansas Well-Known Member

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    my hubby has no gingernail on one of his stub of a finger-it does not bother im and n o one notices-i am sorry for yourv trouble-it will get better-nancy
     
  4. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I had a mess of a nail that took about ten years to fully attach but looks normal now. It is more brittle than the others but not really a problem. I think they just take a long time to heal.
     
  5. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Lots of people manage without a fingernail, but a bone infection can take months or years to clear or may never clear. You can also have some serious complications from bone infections. But it comes down to whether you are willing to pay the price of more tx and possible hospital to keep the nail. Wish I could help you more.....
     
  6. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    I am not a medical practitioner, and this is a medical question. I do know that the skin which should be covered by a fingernail is VERY sensitive - very rich in nerve endings. I'd say, get professional medical advice. I might have lost a nail when I smashed my finger, and I'm real glad it turned out not to be permanent.
     
  7. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I lost the tip of one finger about 10 yrs ago. The sensitivity took a long time (years) to go away. Until a couple of year ago it would still hurt if I touched something the wrong way with it. I wouldn't want to be without some protection for my finger eg the nail! They do IV treatments for Lyme disease at home. Is it possible you could talk your medical team into something like that?

    I had been wondering how you were recovering so it's was nice to see your post. Sorry all hasn't healed as well as we had all hoped for you.

    Good and keep us updated,

    PQ
     
  8. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Jena,
    As I mentioned previously, I too belong to the group that could be nicknamed "nub". I have only a partial nail, half normal length and a bit wider than original, on one of my damaged fingers. It took my finger a long time to heal and I had to have some work done in the back of the nail in order to get the nail to grow without a major ridge. Given a reasonable chance of saving the nail I would attempt to do so. A friend of mine has a nub similar to mine but with no nail. He is constantly injuring his finger tip. I also know that you are active and you would be subject to injuring the nailless tip. The nails function is not appreciated until it doesn't exist.
     
  9. cloverfarm

    cloverfarm Well-Known Member

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    Our DD, who was in an accident and had a crushed/broken finger, seems to be at the opposite end of the spectrum. Teh doctors tried real hard (since she's a kid) to save all of her finger, pinned it back together, and were pleased that her finger is complete, almost straight and the nail is doing OK.

    We don't know what she will want to do as an adult so keeping all of it adn trying to keep it looking as normal as possible were very important.

    For an active adult, it's a whole different outlook. Like someone else mentioned, is the bone infected? If so, and the infection cleared up, would that make a difference? But if the injured finger is affecting your work, that would get real old, real fast.

    Can it wait until winter when you won't be so busy? (We tend to put off a lot of things -- after harvest and before planting)

    Hope it continues to heal ...
    Ann
     
  10. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    I have a cousin that had a finger bit off by a horse. They tried to save it, but had to sew the 'nub' back on funny. He's got part of a finger nail where the pad of your finger would be.
     
  11. coso

    coso Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was a senior in high school. Me and my cousin were building fence. He was on the tractor and I was running the postdriver driving wooden post. I bent over to move a rock and hit the lever with my shoulder. Half of my little finger was on top of the post. That thing was flat as a pancake when I pulled the glove off. We took off toward the house on the tractor, transferred to the truck and drove a couple of miles to the house. It finally started bleeding (thought my cousin was going to kill us both with his driving before we got there). Thing was broke thirteen different places from the tip to the knuckle joint. They wanted to take it off and I threw a fit. They told me that I'd never bend it and that I would never grow a nail on it, if it made it at all. The skin was split on the inside of the hand and you could see bone. Never the less they left it on for me. All that was done was my little finger was taped to the finger next to it. The skin turned black. I peeled it off and had baby butt pink skin for awhile. Any way I still have a finger it bends and a nail did grow back on. It's not pretty if you look at it very close but at least it's there and it works.
     
  12. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Both Cyngbaeld and agmantoo have good points, although they point in different directions.

    You absolutely don't want a bone infection to set in.

    However, I've banged the tip of my amputated finger and, even with the nail on, NOTHING has EVER hurt that bad! :no: It hurts worse than the original amputation (of course, I didn't feel that at all --- thank you, Great Power that Be, for shock! :haha: ).

    So, there it is. I'd talk to your doctor and go from there.
     
  13. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    It is a sensitive area. Some years ago I was putting up a stud wall and as I was nailing it in place the wall tipped just in time to bring my finger in line with the hammer. It smashed my middle finger tip on my left hand. It hurt badddd all the way to my shoulder. The doc x rayed it and said it was in too many pieces to do anything with. (He was a little green around the gills when he said it :haha: ). He gave me a splint and that was that. Now I can't tell it was ever broken. But it sure hurt for an awful long time. I can't hardly imagine how much pain you've been in, Jena. Much less to go on working the way you have. ....
     
  14. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    Well....the infection has not totally come back. It doesn't look good, but it doesn't look too bad. I saw the doc today and he said come back next week to see if it goes one way or the other.

    He also gave me a manicure :) He filed that hook nail way back and it sure feels better, though it is ouchy from being messed with. He had been telling me to do that, but I didn't realize he meant that far back.

    The x-rays don't show a bone infection, but he is still concerned that there could be one lurking. If it's all good next week, then I'll keep it for now. If it's not, then I'm still keeping it for now because I cannot do another surgery before November. I guess I would if I had too, but I just got things back somewhat in order! My birds are all gone by November, cows come in for winter feeding and crops are in. Much easier.

    If he wants IV antibiotics, I'll just hook the bag on the tractor and go! I got the umbrella thingy...won't that work?

    We'll see and thanks for the tips (HA what a pun). It helps to hear from those who are living with it.

    Jena
     
  15. outcast farm

    outcast farm New Member

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    Jena,
    I've been without the end of my right thumb for just over 10 years and i've never really missed it. (I still have the joint, but not much past it) The Dr's took the nail and nail bed out right away when they amputated the end of the thumb, to save me the kind of trouble you have been having. On the flip side, my uncle has a thumbnail that he mashed badly with a hammer 15 years ago, it still hasn't grown in properly and gives him grief all the time. I think I'm better off without the nail...but that's just my 2 cents:) Hope you heal up!!

    Zach