Sunday Mailbag- How’s the Finger?

October 26th, 2014 | Posted in Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag!

Q: How’s your finger healing? I have to imagine that was a little scary… did it limit your work and are you having any lasting effects?

A: If you are not a FaceBook friend of mine, you are probably wondering “what did you do to your finger?” Well, here’s the story… Warning: graphic photos to follow.

Late last month The Lovely Anna, The Animated Elizabeth and I took a short trip down to my old hometown of La Crescent, MN for my 30th high school class reunion. We stayed with my dad and step-mom’s place in nearby La Crosse, WI. The morning of my reunion, I was having breakfast when my dad mentioned he wanted to get rid of his old, large, tube TV in his basement and get a new flat screen. The Lovely Anna turned to me and said “Go move that TV for your dad, that’s what those muscles are for.” So, down I went with my dad to try and get this thing up the stairs and into the garage.

Tube TVs are huge and very heavy. This was a 36 inch behemoth which weighed over 200 lbs.¬¨‚Ć My dad is 73, and while he tried to take one end of the TV he just couldn’t do it. We had to put it down at the bottom of the stairs going up from the basement. Rather than doing the smart thing and waiting until dad could find someone else to come and help, I just lifted the entire TV and carried it up the stairs myself.

For the record, I handled the weight just fine. I routinely deadlift well over 300 lbs in the gym. The problem came about as I was going out the door into the garage. I could not see my hands as the TV was too big and was right in my face. On the way through the doorway, and smashed my right hand between the TV and the door lever.

I yelled “OWWW!”

My dad yelled “DON’T DROP THE TV!!!”

I’m just kidding about that last one. Dad was much more concerned about my getting blood on the rug… he was getting rid of the TV.

Anyway, Everyone tried to help me with the TV, but you don’t exactly help anyone with a 200 plus TV in their arms unless you can actually take the TV from them, which no one could. I slowly went down to my knees and put the TV on the floor. Then I looked at the damage to my right hand. What I saw was about a 3/4 inch gap in my skin just above the knuckle of my right index finger. Interestingly enough, there was no blood at all. I could clearly see into that gap. What I saw was my knuckle, and one dark red ribbon-like thing stretching along side of it. That was a tendon.

We were off to the hospital 2 minutes later.

If you have a strong stomach, click on the “read more” link and you’ll see some pictures.


The wound never did bleed all that much. I took the above picture after having soaked it in some soapy water while waiting for a doctor to have a look. That’s about all the blood there was. I was told that this was not a laceration, where your skin is cut by some kind of edged object, but a “burst”, where the pressure of the blow to the finger split the skin like a ripe melon. This type of wound often doesn’t bleed all that much right away. It sounds bad but in reality it was much better than a slice, which would have cut tendons and other important stuff. The burst only affected the skin, my tendons were undamaged. No broken bones. I got eight stitches. Then I went to my class reunion and self-medicated with a special hops and barley based tonic.


It’s healing fine, thanks. It barely even slowed me down. In fact, I inked and colored the Santa illustration I posted a peek at on Friday while those stitches were still fresh and I had the finger wrapped up so I couldn’t really bend it.

Here’s the finger today, 24 days after the accident:


No mobility problems, it’s just a little stiff from the scar tissue, which will slowly loosen up over time. No lasting issues, back to 100% functional. Thanks for asking.

Thanks to R Griffen for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!


  1. Jules Faber says:

    Phew. Glad you’re back to tip top shape, Tom!

  2. gerry mc caffrey says:

    glad to see you are making a good recovery tom


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