Alan’s hand (not for the faint of hearted…)

Readers of Martin Banfield’s blog, Postcard from Timperley, will have seen that Ye Olde Slowman suffered a rather misery-inducing injury to his hand earlier today, attempting to climb over a barbed wire fence in the Borders.

A was almost over the fence when his foot, which was balanced on a piece of wire, slipped away below him, as a result of which he felt himself falling backwards. Instinctively he grabbed for the wire with his left hand, to stop himself from falling, but grabbing barbed wire with a hand when travelling backwards at speed isn’t a Terribly Good Idea (The Capitals Are Important Here, as I’m sure Alan would say), and the next thing we knew old Alan was lying on the ground with blood pouring from his left hand, and attempting to extract his first aid kit from his rucksack with the other one. Eep!

The slick rescuing machine that is the Borders (Peebles to Moffat) Assault Patrol slid seamlessly into action, though, and while some people bandaged the hand, and attempted to make the wounded warrior comfortable and warm, others quickly brewed a mug of something hot, sweet and restorative, whilst still others shot off down the hill to retrieve a car with which to convey the fallen Slowman back to civilisation. Yet another managed to gather up the panicky little dog and fasten her down, to prevent her from chasing the runner into Moffat.

Anyway, at the conclusion of the rescue operation Andy Walker and I drove Alan to Carlisle hospital, where they set about putting him back together again. He has a pretty nasty injury to one of the fingers of his left hand (photos below: don’t scroll down if you have any kind of iffy tummy…), but as I write he’s tucked up warm, comfy and sleeping, I hope, in bed there on Beech Ward. The injury wasn’t the sort of thing that could be stitched up in Casualty, and so tomorrow morning the orthopaedic surgeons are going to clean it all out, and check for tendon and/or nerve damage, under general anaesthetic.

Alan was very brave indeed throughout the whole miserable incident: at least a thousand times braver than I’d have been, in the circumstances. He managed to walk off the hill, and at the hospital he braved the insertion of one of those plastic thingies into the back of his hand (he doesn’t like needles), and a tetanus injection, and (worst of all) the removal of the bandage that we applied on the hill. I actually feel a little faint just thinking about it! Andy and I had to hold hands on the other side of the room just listening to the conversation from the direction of the sink 😦 A showed amazing fortitude, though. I was Extremely Impressed, and proud of him.

Ultimately, I have to wonder what purpose the barbed wire was actually meant to serve on top of the fence. Was it just there to make things difficult for walkers? If so, it really served its purpose today. I’ll be carrying wire cutters in future, and I cringe, now, to think of the times I’ve clambered over barbed wire fences in the past. I knew they were dangerous, of course, but it was all just a bit theoretical until I saw the state of Alan’s hand this afternoon. Thank goodness it was ‘just’ his hand; it could very easily have been even more serious.

We took some piccies in the hospital, and Alan said he didn’t mind me posting them here. Scroll down if you’d like to see them. (The last one’s a gory one, but it’s certainly a lesson to me about the kind of damage barbed wire can do in the blink of an eye.) The hospital staff were absolutely brilliant, btw: efficient, friendly, considerate and courteous. Many thanks indeed to them, as well as to all the Peebles to Moffaters who helped out earlier today ♥ ♥ ♥

Alan’s hand will probably be okay, but we won’t actually know until after his operation tomorrow morning whether he’s done serious damage or not. Any good wishes/positive thoughts you can send in his direction will be extremely welcome.

Waiting for the orthopod registrar


Post tetanus injection

About to go up to the ward

Here's what a momentary slip on barbed wire can do 😦

14 Responses to Alan’s hand (not for the faint of hearted…)

  1. george says:

    Ouch! that looks sore!

    Give Alan my best


  2. blogpackinglight says:

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  3. JH says:

    All the best Alan. Looks like the hand might be out of action for a few days so hope you’re right handed.


  4. Jonathan Quirk says:

    Nasty, very nasty. Good luck in theatre. Fortunately it isn’t your drinking hand.

  5. Mango Terrier says:

    OMG that looks Perfectly Horrid. Big licks from us all.

  6. Mike says:

    Hi Shirley,


    I’ve wondered about that everytime I cross a barbed fence. Now I know…

    Can you get lightweight wire cutters?

    Pass on my regards to Alan, hope it all comes good for him.


  7. Gordon says:

    So sorry to hear about Alan’s damaged hand. It looks pretty bad. Give him my very best wishes for a speedy recovery and tell him my thoughts and prayers are with him.

  8. Martin Rye says:

    Ouch. Say hi and hope he heals fast.

  9. Mike Knipe says:

    Aaargh. There’s no other word for it.


    I must say that Shirl’s bandaging was very skillful and effective. Lots of points and a gold star thingy for coolness in the face of grisly stuff….

  10. Gayle says:

    Earlier in the year, after the day of three electric shocks, I was heard to rant, on the subject of electric fences: “What’s wrong with good old barbed wire?!”. I now appreciate that a sharp shock on the upper thigh is the preferable option in the case of a slip.

    Hope the finger is now all clean and back in one piece.

    Managed to look at the photos over breakfast (seems I’m not as squeamish as I thought), and couldn’t help but notice the absence of Alan’s self-alleged Problem Belly (the capitals are not important here) in the photos either!

  11. peewiglet says:

    Hello, y’all ♥

    Many thanks for the lovely messages. Alan’s soldiering on: see my most recent posting for further details.

    Jonathan: funny, that… that thing about the drinking hand was the first thing Alan mentioned! (Well, I assume he was referring to his drinking hand.)

    Mango: thank you for the lix ♥ The nurses have sterilised them and they’re passing them across to Alan at hourly intervals.

    Ker-Nipe: thank you *blush* The idea of bits of finger hanging off makes me feel pukey, but it’s amazing what it’s possible to plough through when needs must!

    Gayle: I entirely agree re: the belly thingy! I’ve been calling him ‘Three Bellies’, but now I feel guilty. I reckon he may have been in there with the digital editor… *g*

  12. Ouch indeed! I fell ten feet off the top of a wet bus stop roof being an idiot in my early twenties and fell on my left hand wedding finger which had to have micro surgery to have it put back on. It sits constantly broken and at a daft stuck angle much too many peoples amusement. The missus giggled in our wedding ceremony when she struggled to get the wedding ring on too! Hope Alan’s finger recovers well, as long as it can still tie boot laces and pick up a rucksack I’m sure he’ll be okay!

  13. […] tales of great derring do in the snow, and I had learned a lot about the internal workings of the human hand and what to include in a first aid kit.  So I was very much looking forward to attending this trip […]

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