Can you lose a finger from a ring?
A ring I had nearly cost me my finger.
I never really considered that wearing a ring could potentially cause me to lose a finger. The last thing any writer wants is to lose a digit on their writing hand.
The injurious accessory was a haematite thumb ring which I had not worn in a long time.
I misplaced this several years ago and thought I had lost it, but after recently relocating from Perth to Melbourne, my partner found it amongst our belongings.
When she presented it to me I was delighted. My mum, who had recently passed away, gave me the ring about 15 years earlier.
Unfortunately, in those years I had gained a fair amount of weight and the ring no longer fitted onto my thumb. Determined to wear it, at least temporarily, I tried the ring on every other finger until I found one that fitted. And then I couldn’t remove it.
And trust me, I tried everything. All sorts of lubrication to try and slide it off, raising my arm in the air to try and ease the blood flow, ice packs to reduce the swelling, the dental floss ‘trick’. Nothing was going to move this thing.
I left it overnight in the hope that the swelling might go down enough by the next day for me to remove it. No. The ring was well and truly stuck.
Starting to panic slightly, I then made a few last ditch attempts to shift it. However, determination and brute force was not going to work here and actually made the situation worse. The swelling had now increased to the point where I couldn’t even turn the ring on my finger.
A stubborn stuck ring ended up in a trip to the hospital
So I was left with only one option. A visit the hospital emergency department.
I was a bit sheepish and felt pretty daft when I spoke to the gentleman at the triage. Apparently this happens to people all the time though and he was confident that the nurses would be able to remove the ring without cutting it. Great.
However, by the time I was seen the swelling had worsened. The nurses took one look at my finger and said that the ring would have to be cut. It was the ring or my finger.
They brought out a special ring cutting tool, but when they positioned this against the ring, they realised it wasn’t going to work. This ring was quite thick and wasn’t made from a soft metal like gold or silver, but the mineral haematite, which is about as hard as a steel file.
The hospital staff ended up having to call their engineering department who sent two people down to assess how they could remove this.
Time was of the essence, as the swelling in my finger was still increasing and the ring was beginning to cut off my circulation.
Eventually, they located a circular diamond drill piece that could just about cut through the ring.
Cold water had to be poured to stop my finger burning from the heat being generated by the drill.
If I had left visiting the accident and emergency department for any longer, I could well have lost my finger. Thankfully, I got there in time and the hospital staff knew what to do. It was a close call.