Saturday, December 12, 2009

Like a Sore Thumb...

On Tuesday I suddenly had this terrible stinging sensation under my thumbnail. Throughout the day, I lived with the pain which came and went in waves. That night I fell asleep quickly as usual (I have no problem sleeping!) but awoke some hours later with my thumb throbbing with the worst pain I have experienced in years.

I turned on the bedside lamp and saw it was 2.20am. I squinted at my thumb: not much I could see there that should be causing me so much trouble. I rubbed a little Zambuc ointment on it - I believe this marvelous Australian invention to be the cure of many ills. I eventually fell asleep again. I woke in the morning and my thumb was still throbbing badly.

Over the next two days I tried everything I could think of. Immerse the thumb in water so hot it was almost boiling. No relief. I tried packing ice on the painful area. Nno let-up. In fact, the pain worsened. I then strapped up the thumb firmly. I almost lost my thumb this way; it turned blue!

On Thursday I phoned my friend who also does my nails on a regular basis. I asked her remove all the colour and gel from that nail and buff it down as far as she could. She also clipped the nail as short as possible to prevent me bumping it against something.

That evening I felt as if the pain had abated slightly and fell asleep without much trouble. In the early hours of the morning, I was awakend by the throbbing pain in my thumb! It was 3am and by now the pain was so bad that I contemplated phoning the doctor. The only thing that stopped me from doing this, was the area of the pain. Who on earth phones their doctor in the wee hours of the morning for a pain in the thumb? Perhaps some would, but not this gal! I stoically bore the pain (aww) and eventually managed to catch an hour's sleep before I had to be up on Friday morning.

As soon as the surgery was open, I phoned and made an appointment. It was set for 11.30am. When I arrived at the surgery, I was met by Henk, our family doctor. The first thing he said to me was that he is so pleased that his wife, Ida has started blogging! He reckoned she learnt it from me and she was really enjoying the interaction with people from all over the world. (Ida regularly comments on many blogs and there are many of you who know this dear young friend of mine through Blogger - you can read about a post I did on Ida here)

When we got down to the reason for my visit, I told him that I had a sore thumb and I was actually quite embarrassed to bother him with this puny ailment. He looked at my thumb and immediately said I had an abscess under the nail! He says that this would drive me crazy with pain if it's not dealt with (I believe him!)

The bottom line is he had to give me two local injections to deaden the finger. The injections were horrifically "burny" (to borrow a phrase my three-year-old grandson uses for spicy food!) and then he had to drill a hole in the nail to drain the abscess. Ooh boy, not for the fainthearted! While he was busy swabbing the drainage hole, I said I wish I could get my camera out of my handbag and I'd photograph all the action. (I'm never without my trusty little Sony - as my husband always says: Jo, you never know when you come across something "bloggable"! Ha) But in retrospect, I think the images would not have been suitable for viewing. Henk then said I should photograph the hole he made when I redo the dressing in the morning. But even that is too gory for publication!

Suffice to say I walked out of the surgery with my thumb taped up (see photo above) and a prescription. He prescribed antibiotics for possible infection and painkillers for the ... um ... pain! All the while I was trying to work out how I was going to make my lunch, dinner and generally how I was going to cope alone at home with a "gammy" thumb on my right hand.

I'm only pleased that I have had this done. At least I'm getting a full night's sleep again.


  1. Oh, no. That sounds very painful. Glad you finally got it drained. An abscess anywhere is no fun, but under the nail must be the worst.
    Hope you're feeling much better by now.

  2. Ouch! That sounds bad. It is amazing how much we use thumbs until you have one that doesn't work. Pulling up underpants is one hassle to start with. (I had a tendon repaired in my thumb year ago but I still remember) picking up a knife or fork is another. Hope it heals soon.

  3. Oh Jo. So sorry for this to happen to you. I'm glad you finally decided to go to the doctor though. I'll say a prayer for you to heal quickly.

  4. Ohh - painful!!! >_< !!!
    Hoop jou duimnael word gou beter!

  5. Janie, I always consider myself to have a high pain threshold (I believe most women have) but this pain was one for the books er - one for the blog! Thanks for you concern. It is much better today and improving all the time.

    Hey, diane; that's exactly the problem. So many things are almost impossible without the use of the thumb. I am able to use it today although its still covered and sensitive.

    Thanks Jackleen;) yes you know how long we women put off going to the doctor! Thanks for your prayers. It's much improved already today

  6. Hi Ida Dankie dis tonne beter al vandag! Geniet jou vakansie. Sien uit na die fotos as jy terugkom. Geniet jou tyd saam met jou geliefde! Blessings. Jo

  7. So glad you got it seen too. Right hand too...I sympathise, GG

  8. That sounds soooo painful, Jo - I had an infected toe nail once & it was some of the worst pain I'd ever experienced before. Hope you feel better soon !xx

  9. Get well soon,I hope you have much better,I wish healty days.

  10. Hi GG, thanks - yes, I think at the moment you can relate to the discomfort although yours is so much more serious. Good to see you.

    Hi Lynda;) aha! a toe nail. That is more painful I think - more chance of bumping the injured toe or it being stood on. Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Ilhami Uyar thanks for the healthy, good wishes. Good to see you again.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo