How I Spent My Saturday (GRAPHIC!!!)

So this story begins on Thursday. I was driving to a friend’s house when I hit a speed hump, and immediately after, my car starting shuddering and kind slowed down. I slowed and made it the remaining half mile or so to her house and checked it. The tires were all full, so I just left it and we took her car to our next destination. Afterwards, I drove it slowly home, and was able to deduce that either my exhaust had come undone, or I’d broken a motor mount. It was the latter.

My Golf. The engine should be parallel to the lines of the bumper, and not be sitting so low, seen best on the lower right corner

So I parked my car and drove my brother’s, since he’s in Australia. On Saturday, I got down to business. Volkswagen designed Golfs so that the passenger side engine mount was roughly above the engine, and the engine hangs from it, rather than resting on top of a mount. There were two bolts holding the mount in place. One bolt had backed out the whole way, while the other had broken cleanly in half. Over a year ago I had replaced my timing belt, and had to remove the engine mounts. I think I somehow didn’t tighten one bolt enough, and it loosened up, coming completely out. This put a lot of stress on the other bolt, so much that it eventually broke. Luckily, the engine is attached to the transmission (obviously) and there was strong bracing on the other side. When the bolt broke, the motor fell a little and rested on the CV axle.

This is the last picture of my left hand in one piece. Funny that I'm also holding a bolt that was severed by my car.

So anyways, I was able to get the bolts out fine. The motor mount itself appeared alright at first, but upon further inspection, It looked like it needed to come out too. On Volkswagens, this is difficult. Really difficult. After probably 45 minutes, I got the three bolts that held the mount out. The next problem was the mount itself. I jacked the car up, then down, and couldn’t slide it out (that sounds like innuendo). I lifted it again, trying higher, when the engine slipped off the narrow jack. As it fell, it pinched my left pinkie on the way down, between the motor mount and the motor, I guess.

I snatched my hand out of there, both of which were dark gray/black from grease and grime. Quickly viewing my pinkie, all I saw was blood, and white, which I correctly assumed was my fingernail (as in the nail bed… the part of your fingernail beneath/below the skin, further up the knuckle). Being an indebted college graduate and living at home,  I quickly roused my mom, paper-toweled my finger like a leftover biscuit, and put on a shirt (this is the south… we don’t wear shirts while working on cars. Some of us never do.) and left for the Emergency Room.

Both hands were this dirty. Disgusting.

Of course, she drove 5 over the whole way (too slow), and I actually got kind of lightheaded in the car, which was weird. Athens Regional has revamped their emergency room since the last time I was there (also from an automotive repair incident, but that’s another story.), and the wait actually wasn’t all that bad, especially considering that there was a football game going on at the time too. Probably the worst thing was sitting there looking like some muddy redneck.

I waited maybe 20 minutes total, and was taken back and seen by a few nurses, then the doctor. Basically, he did a rough diagnosis, and then put in orders. A bunch of nurses came and gawked, understandably, and I got two nice injections of Bupivicaine, which burnt like crazy for a few seconds. Then, they tried to wheel me in the bed thing to the x-ray room, but I talked them into letting me walk. I’m sure I got grease on everything.

Gross photo alert!

So the overall process was to clean around the wound, clean both my hands (so I could clean and deal with my ragged hand later… Or the cute nurse/tech just wanted to flirt with me [I had a Piggly-Wiggly shirt on and black grease halfway up my arms… doubtful]), and then clean the wound. They irrigated it with saline and then lightly scrubbed it with Betadine. Another nurse did all the actual “fixin’.” She essentially pulled my nail all the way out/off, put the nail bed back in (I guess? Maybe it stayed in or something), stitched that in place (this was the grossest part, obviously. I got to see my literal fingertip.) and then she cleaned my fingernail itself off and put it back in, to serve as a sort of splint to guide the new nail as it regrows, and I guess to protect my fingertip too.

Stitches and blood. I think I lost about two ounces.

So I got I think 4 stitches total, and they also pierced my nail before putting it back, to help it drain. They then put triple antibiotic ointment on it and covered it with tubular gauze. The device that the guy used was really cool. I told him it was elegant the way it was applied. I got a splint too, which doesn’t seem super necessary, since it’s just my last phalange/knuckle, but it does seem to help protect it I guess. I also got an antibiotic shot,  I think it was Ancef? It was offered “in your leg or in your butt;” I took the leg (the manly way, the other would apparently have been less painful). I felt like I was having a charley horse or cramp or whatever. I couldn’t lift my leg for about 5 minutes. It burned really bad for a good 2-3 minutes. I was then discharged with a prescription for Keflex and Lortab 5. Luckily, I have health insurance, but I had a $100 copay, and will also have to pay 30% once they figure out the actual cost. At the time it was estimated at $1300+. With so many people out of work or underemployed, I really can’t complain, but that was really expensive. And I totally understand why too. The service they provided was excellent, and I am grateful that they had it all together there. The nurse who stitched me up did a fantastic job from what I can tell. She said she was a perfectionist about it, and that was comforting. Aside from the fact that I may have a disgusting left pinkie from here on out, it was an overall good experience, considering what actually happened. I felt kind of weird and unsure if it actually warranted an E.R. trip, but after that antibiotic injection and all that technical looking stitching, I think it was. I didn’t have a before picture, but the after actually restored my finger to looking like a finger.

Anyways, my car is still broken. So is my finger. I’ll post pictures of the x-rays and anything else if I get ahold of them. I have to make an appointment with an orthopedist sometime this week, but things actually looked pretty good when I changed my dressing Sunday night. If anyone has some good tips on improving healing times, and quality of the heal, let me know! I’m taking a multivitamin, glutamine, lysine, niacin, and arginine to try and help. I might try colloidial silver soon. I just hope I can get it to heal up quick!

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5 Responses to How I Spent My Saturday (GRAPHIC!!!)

  1. That is the nastiest thing!

  2. rumpydog says:

    That really sucks! Hope you get things fixed up and your finger healed up too.

  3. Paul Miller says:

    I had this weak feeling in my legs reading the whole tale, I’m not sure why I started reading after seeing the pics; I must be a masochist. A few weeks ago I lifted some heavy broken glass that was in the back of my truck (I was supposed to hall it to the dump from my daughters apartment), it flipped in my hands and dug deep (((shivers))) into my pinky. I felt very faint and grabbed my sweater to mop up the blood and hold pressure, it hurt like an SOB. I’m sure I must have been so white I’d have appeared opaque. I feel faint just talking about it.
    I can’t stand the sight of blood, especial my own.
    So what about the Volkswagen?

    • LukeR84 says:

      Yeah, I don’t remember if I said it, but there was about a 3 minute period where I was feeling lightheaded on the way to the hospital. I was able to watch and stomach most of the procedure though. It was gross.
      I got my car fixed by a mechanic in the end. I hate it, but I really couldn’t afford to mess it up again (not that I really think I would, but working more or less one-handed would increase the likelihood). It wasn’t too expensive, all they had to do was finish the job. The car is running again, but it seems sluggish. Not sure where that’s coming from.

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