IN NOVEMBER 2012 I was attempting to help my husband give our cat a worm pill.
The container slipped and she bit down on my left index fingernail.
It pierced the nail and I went to get a tetanus shot and antibiotics.
Two days later a hole was drilled into the nail to relieve the pus.
Another day passed and I was a the hospital in severe pain.
Numerous holes were drilled into the nail and I was put on I.V. antibiotics.
This still did not stop the pain and swelling.
The nail was removed and I was sent home with more antibiotics.
I think I had about six trips to the hospital.
I was told there was no infection, but by January the finger was bending.
I went to see a hand specialist in Brisbane and he said I would need surgery so he sent me back to Bundaberg with a referral to the hospital.
This was during the floods and I was not a priority and had to wait.
I finally saw two orthopedic specialist and they decided to send to see another hand specialist in Brisbane.
His first word to me were "Hi, my name is Kevin. What do you think of amputation?" I was shocked! I had been told I needed surgery not amputation!
He sent me back and I was told to come back in a month.
Again he stated amputation was my only option.
Well, I was not at all convinced that this was my only option and I told my husband I wanted to sell the house in Bargara and move to the US and find someone.
We put the house up for sale and gave the cat to some friends.
The house sold quickly and we had to jump many hoops for a visa, but we got to Florida to search for a doctor.
I finally found one who said he thought he could help me.
I had no insurance and had to pay out of pocket.
The surgery was on November 5, 2013 in Naples, Florida. I had the tendons replaced with cadaver tendons.
This was a very rare surgery and we didn't know how this would go. I had intense hand therapy after the surgery.
In the mean time the cat had been given to the RSPCA as the people got divorced.
Another friend in Bargara rescued her as they knew we were coming back.
We all had a very difficult 11-month ordeal.
The story is much longer and so much more could be said, but we are all finally back together.
The finger is about 95% now and I'm very pleased that I didn't lose it.
Was it worth the $100k we ended up spending?
Some say I shouldn't have done it... my doctors here are very impressed.
All I know is that I am happy to be back and I still have my finger.
All of this over a tiny bite to a fingernail by a cat that we had rescued :D
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