The following is a true story that happened to me when I was in the sixth grade. I did not think it was funny at the time but looking back now it’s a story that I can laugh at. In 2011, my grandpa was in the hospital for the last three months of the school year. Because of this my mom, siblings, and I traveled to Houston from Dubai to be there for my grandpa. It was difficult saying goodbye to my friends in Dubai three months early.
When we arrived in Houston, I started at a Latin-based charter school. Because it was so late into the school year, it was a challenge to find new friends, especially since everyone had their own clique. I was constantly referred to as the ‘new kid’ and other names along those lines. I was continuously looking for ways to make new friends; this included not trying to do anything that would embarrass myself. On this particular day in between science and Latin class, we went to our lockers to get our Latin textbooks.
The lockers were old metal lockers that looked decades old and had some areas with rugged metal edges (looking back it probably wasn’t the safest lockers to have in a school). In order to open the locker you would have to pull a lever to the right and next to the lever was a hole about three-quarters of an inch in diameter. I was assigned a top locker. On this singular day, the girl who had a locker below me was trying to get her Latin books at the same time as I was trying to get mine. I tripped over her and fell backwards. Behind me was one of the classroom desks and I was going to hit it. What seemed to be the only way to prevent this, was to push my finger into the hole on the locker. By doing this I caught myself and was able to pull myself back up. I then tried to pull my finger out of the locker when I realized my finger was in fact stuck in the hole. I tried to pull it out a couple times but with no luck. I alerted the girl I had tripped over and she went for help.
By now I was the only one in the classroom because everyone else had made their way to the Latin class. After two minutes, that felt like fifteen, she came back with the teacher who then tried to help me pull my finger out of the hole. We could not get it out so she found a custodian, who brought soap to rub on my finger, hoping it would help pull it out.
At this point my finger had been in the hole for about ten minutes and had begun to turn a blue/purplish color due to the lack of blood circulation. When the teacher and custodian saw the color they became worried and decided to call the fire department. By the time the fire department arrived my finger had been in the hole for close to 20 minutes. Two large firefighters came into the classroom and began using tools to take the locker apart. They were able to separate the opening mechanism from the actual door so now my finger was surrounded by a metal square about five by five inches. They brainstormed ways to remove my finger from the metal block and decided to use large metal cutting scissors, but they decided against it. They decided instead to take me to the hospital and called for an ambulance.
Word got around that the ‘new kid’ had gotten his finger stuck into his locker. I kept asking myself why I put my finger in the hole. At the hospital the doctor saw my finger was completely purple. The color of my finger was making me nervous. The school had alerted my mom and she had met the ambulance at the hospital. The doctor, my mom, and I discussed possible procedures to remove my finger from the metal piece. “If we do not act quickly your finger could potentially die from the lack of blood circulation,” he said worryingly.
I had begun wishing I had just fallen onto the desk; losing my finger did not seem worth it. Finally the doctor called in for two more hospital staff to enter the room. He grabbed my finger on one side of the hole while the other two held the sides of the metal. They told me to close my eyes and began pulling the metal as hard as possible. It felt like my finger was being pulled off. They grabbed Vaseline and rubbed it around the metal and my finger and began pulling again. Finally after about 30 seconds the three had pulled the metal off, which left my finger bleeding. Large amounts of skin had been pulled off, and my finger was now red with blood on the outside and purple on the inside. I couldn't get stitches because the wound was too small. They cleaned up the blood, applied an antibacterial cream and wrapped the finger in bandages.
“How are you feeling Jay?” asked the doctor.
“I feel a lot better knowing I still have my finger,” I responded painfully.
“I bet you won’t go near that hole anymore, will you?”
“Definitely not,” I said, smiling.
They threw the metal away and I was dismissed. I didn’t have to return to school until the next day. Everyone had heard what had happened to me. To my surprise, many kids asked about my finger. Because of this, the conversation turned into other conversations and I was able to put the incident behind me, leaving with minimal scarring and some new friends. For the remainder of the year my locker was missing the metal piece, which was a good reminder to be careful with my fingers.