Can I get a Thumbs Up?

I mentioned before that I’m hard on my right foot and my left hand. I wrote about how I ended up with two screws and a fused joint in my right foot. I should probably explain the left hand thing too.

Almost twenty years ago, I had the unique opportunity of learning the trade of saddle making. I love saying that. How many people do you know have learned the skill of making a saddle, from scratch? It was challenging and fun and I am very proud of that accomplishment.

I used to make saddles

The shop I worked in was where I dropped that five-pound mallet on my right foot, which started the cascade of injuries to that part of my body. It is also the shop where I injured my left thumb.

I was working on a saddle piece, cutting the backing away after I had laminated the front to it. The knife I was using had a rounded blade with the handle in the center. It wasn’t easy to push that blade through the tough lining leather, and I remember positioning my left hand to steady the leather. Only it was right in the path of my blade.

It took a fraction of a second for that blade to slip and slice my left thumb to the bone. It was pretty traumatic and I ended up needing surgery to repair the severed tendons. Reminder to self, don’t do that again.

Years later I started having issues with it. I’m not sure what was going on, but it felt like maybe the repaired tendons were starting to fail. I noticed that my thumb would just start falling away from my hand. It sort of stuck out more than my right thumb.

At the time I was living in Napa and working as an estate caretaker. That was a great job. I got to stay home and pretty much be a “homeowner”. I did everything from cleaning to yard work, and I loved it.

Napa is also where I met John. He loved helping in the yard and pruning trees and clearing the ivy and weeds that wanted to take over the place. We seemed to always have a project or two going.

One Sunday John discovered an irrigation leak. He set out to repair it, and as I was helping I thought if we put stakes around it, that may keep it from breaking again.

I ran back to the house, found some stakes but needed to cut them shorter. I picked up the skill saw that was already out from an earlier project and cut the first one down. I probably should have stopped there.

I held the second one in my left hand and picked up the saw to cut it. The next thing I remember is the burning sensation of my left thumb as I held my hand close to my body and yelled for John.

It’s been an adjustment having just nine fingers (only one of which is a thumb) but it’s who I am now, and I’m learning I don’t need to hide it.

Can I get a thumbs up please?

Reader Comments

  1. Barbie

    So many parallels in my life are written in your work! My daughter…one of my twins, partially amputated her middle finger on her right hand trying to “hurry” a hot walker she and her siblings were playing on…circling around like a fair ride…way out in the middle of the Withlacoochee Forest on our biggest ranch..seemed like it took hours for help to arrive….but that is a story for another time?.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Oh no! How old was she? Oh my gosh, it hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I’m sorry your daughter went through it too.

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