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Damaged Goods

amputated finger

What with surgery, amputations and accidents I feel like damaged goods…

I’m back at the Wound Clinic in the Rose Centre for my final appointment regarding my fingertip and biopsies. With my finger bandaged like something out of Scooby Doo, life has been awkward and a little painful for the last few weeks.

I found it hard to sleep as my left arm felt stiff and swollen. All of my stitches ached a little and I couldn’t shower and had to get my partner to wash me slowly in the bath. Besides the ongoing depression and mood swings when I thought at any length about my situation, my son did manage to punch me square on my underarm stitches which was agony.

But with all of my stitches taken out, and my bandages and plasters removed, I have actually healed up well. And now it’s my final review.

Stiff Little Finger

My finger, unsurprisingly, looks weird to me. I haven’t had any of the phantom pain or feeling that some people have when they can still sense ‘feeling’ where the amputated limb or whatever used to be. Besides some sharp twinges, stiffness and soreness, it’s not been as bad as I expected. Functionally, I’ve been able to use my left hand pretty much as I did before my operation. I do drop the occasional thing and scratching with a full left hand is a truly peculiar sensation. I have to keep moisturising and exercising my finger to help the stiffness.

Aesthetically, it’s a completely different story. I’m finding it hard to adjust to my left hand looking abnormal. You can have customised finger prosthetics fitted that look really impressive and life-like, matching your remaining fingers’ skin tone, hairs, length and texture. So much so that you’d never know that the wearer had a finger missing. But you have to wait until your finger has fully healed to even consider getting one fitted.

Wearing black finger glove

Wearing black finger glove to hide my amputated fingertip

In fact, I’m finding it so difficult that I’ve taken to wearing a cheap black finger glove that I bought in my local chemists so that people won’t see my shortened finger. However, I think it might be drawing more attention than I want as it does stand out. So I’m in two minds as to whether to continue wearing it or not, or just to go au naturel.

I guess it will take time for me to fully adapt to my new hand.

Biopsy Scars

damaged goods: biopsy scars

Damaged goods: biopsy scars under my left armpit and elbow

With my large plasters removed, I now sport two angry red scars – one on my left elbow and the other under my left armpit. My arm is still stiff but the stiffness is abating incrementally day-by-day. The scars look much worse than they feel. But they are ugly. Apparently, so I’m told, it can take up to 2 years for my scars to settle. And I must cover them up or wear sunscreen on them as scars, especially fresh ones, are particularly susceptible to sunburn. And, as I have skin cancer, I don’t want to take any risks whatsoever.

But they too are coming along nicely. I’m to keep moisturising them.

Wound Clinic Discharge

As the nurse is happy with my progress, I finally receive a little good news.

I am discharged from the Wound Clinic. If I experience any problems, I can come back, but I don’t need to return for any more reviews. My next visit to the Rose Centre is for my dreaded biopsy results, which I’m shitting myself over.

As I wander out of the clinic and on to the bustling high street, I feel that everyone is staring at me and my wounds and missing parts. They’re not of course. Life trundles on obliviously for everyone else no matter what is happening to you and your life. Immediately, this triggers my depression and I feel really down and out. Can I ever cope? Will I ever move on mentally and live a more normal life?

After all, I am, now and forever more, damaged goods.


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