Infected Finger Incident

September 4th 2011 ^

I cut my left index finger somehow. Slightly painful, but it was only a little cut so I thought no more.

Early hours of September 5th 2011 ^

I noticed that my finger was swollen, and its knuckle also. It was slightly more painful to bend my finger.

Early morning of September 5th 2011 ^

swollen knuckle, red line along tendon
I noticed that there was a red line between my swollen knuckle and my wrist, following the line of the tendon. It was hot and tender to the touch.

Late morning of September 5th 2011 ^

red line snaking up my arm
I noticed that the red line had now gone past my wrist and was snaking its way up my arm. It was very warm to the touch. I started to get a bit worried about it. It varied over time in how angry it looked; the picture on the right was taken when it wasn’t very visible.

We had a grocery order arriving between 1pm and 3pm and I hadn’t had any sleep, so I decided to get some sleep and see what it looked like after the order had arrived.

The order arrived near 3pm. The red line on my arm had faded to almost invisibility. Unless you were looking for it you probably wouldn’t have spotted it. My finger wasn’t so sore any more either. I decided there was no need to worry about it.

Evening of September 5th 2011 ^

We had dinner and started to watch a movie. My arm got more and more uncomfortable, the red line was showing more than ever, and I noticed that it was now just starting to go above my elbow.

At this point I decided that I did actually want to see a medical professional. Having recently seen what happened with Maria’s foot I had a bit of the fear.

We made our way to Ashford Hospital NHS walk-in centre, which is a short bus ride away. It’s open until 10pm seven days a week, with last consult at 9.30pm. We arrived at about 8.20pm and I described my situation, only to be told that they were not seeing anyone else that evening. I was given the choice of out of hours GP or accident and emergency.

I called the out of hours GP number. A callcentre operative took my details and a doctor phoned me back within about 15 minutes. He said that I should have someone look at my arm, and arranged an appointment with a doctor based at West Middlesex hospital. It was the last available appointment, 9.30pm, and I wasn’t sure we could get there in time. I knew there was also an A&E at West Middlesex though, so I figured that if we missed the appointment then I would just go to the A&E there anyway.

One £20 cab journey to Isleworth later, we arrived at West Middlesex hospital at about 9.27pm and I was seen by a doctor.

four times a day
She immediately said that I had an infection which was travelling under my skin, with the red line being cellulitis. She said that it was good that I hadn’t delayed seeking medical attention any further, because if the infection reached the lymph nodes in my arm pit then I would likely need intravenous antibiotics as opposed to the oral antibiotics she prescribed me (500mg flucloxacillin four times a day, 500mg penicillin four times a day).

Early hours of September 6th 2011 ^

swollen hand and finger
My hand was by now even more swollen and finger near the wound very painful to the touch. Even resting my hand on a pillow was painful. My whole arm was stiff and slightly painful to move, with some pains around half way between elbow and arm pit. I couldn’t sleep.

swollen finger
The red line of cellulitis seemed to have faded away, however. It was still too soon to tell if this was due to the antibiotics (of which I had only taken 500mg of each thus far) doing their stuff, or just a coincidence.

September 11th 2011 ^

swollen finger
There’s only 24 hours of medication left now. Pretty much since the 7th things got better very quickly with only my finger remaining sore.

swollen finger
Right now the skin all around the area that was infected has flaked off and shiny new skin is underneath. Thanks modern medicine! I like not dying of septicaemia.