The Smashed Finger

It was a cold February morning in 1971. My dad had leased a truck out to a San Antonio Trucking Company with me driving it. I spend all week living in a small rundown motel that set along I-10 on the east side of San Antonio. The trucking yard was just down the frontage road. Most of the time I hauled equipment around San Antonio, but one afternoon I was dispatched to a steel company on north I-35 to load steel beams to go to Houston.

I got loaded and parked the truck in the yard for the night. I left out really early the next morning. I pulled in for fuel at a Texaco Truck Stop before I got to Seguin, Tx. There was a coating of ice all over everything. I could tell the chains were loose, so I tightened them all and when I got to the last one I had my left ring finger in the wrong place and the boomer clamped shut on it, just on the very end. I managed to get it out and headed on down the highway with a rag wrapped around it.

It really hurt but I had no choice but to get the load to a building site on Westhiemer Blvd. in Houston by 10:00 AM. When I pulled the rag off it had swollen to 3 times its normal size. Just a huge blood blister. I remember I couldn’t hold on to the steering wheel with my left hand because the vibration made it even worse.

I somehow made it all the way to Houston, unloaded and started back to San Antonio. Every time my heart would beat, I could feel it in my finger tip. I had little money and even less experience in going to a doctor, so I drove and drove.

I finally pulled into a rest area to figure out what to do. I knew I had to get some relief, so I pulled out my pocketknife, which was always as sharp as I could make it. I stuck the point in the underside of that finger and ripped about a one inch long incision all the way to the end. There was an unbelievable amount of blood all over the inside of the truck cab. That mattered little to me at that point. The second I did that I felt no more pain.

There was an euphoria that overcame me. I actually not only felt better, I was cheerful and sat there laughing. I guess it was such a relief that I felt. With the rag wrapped around my finger I continued on back to San Antonio.

The finger healed, but since that time my fingernail has always grown out split, leaving it being bothersome is all.

That’s the fingernail that is always split. (I didn’t want you to think I was making it up)

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