By Jeff Little
My current situation reminds me of a cartoon I saw as a kid. The scene involved a hammer, a missed nail and a big, red, swollen and throbbing balloon sized thumb. The only similarity between that and what happened to my thumb is that I hammered big fish today, and one by one, they nailed my thumb on the release.
In the past, I’ve toughed through it, but knowing that my digit will be playing hurt later in the week, I put a call out on social media for help. We’ve all seen the bragging shots of a roughed up thumb on Instagram or Facebook that lets the world know that the owner of said thumb found the fish. But my post wasn’t that. Well, it was a little bit of that, but what I really needed was a remedy. Cue the (now vintage) Black Crows song.
So here are the many generous suggestions from my social media network in decreasing number of recommendations.
- O’Keefe’s Working Hands garnered a total of four mentions in 36 comments.
- Liquid Bandage I bought a small bottle of this at the drug store along with some waterproof medical tape on the way home. It seems like the sort of compact, fix it on the spot when it happens remedy that belongs in my dry bag. It received three mentions.
- Superglue. If you combine this with Liquid Bandage, which is just Superglue with an antibacterial component, it would account for another 3 votes, totaling six. But since people expressly said Superglue, it ties with Liquid Bandage.
- Several recommendations had two votes, including wearing gloves, using Fish Grips instead, Bag Balm or Udder Balm, and Neosporin and First Aid Tape.
- Many other recommendations had just one mention, and I’m not sure that every one mentioned was something the author would really do to their own thumb, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe someone has actually submerged their own thumb in a can of Plasti-Dip - the stuff you dip the bare metal handles of a set of plier to make them insulated against electrical shock. Other more legitimate suggestions included Aqua-Phor, Finger Saver Tape, Duct Tape, Betadine, Aloe, Burt’s Bee’s Chapstick, Bactroban (recommended by a surgeon), Hydrogen Peroxide, Finger Cots, ignore the issue completely, and simply using the thumb on the opposite hand.
These products fall into a variety of categories; moisturizers, antiseptics, barriers to future abuse and surrogate thumbs. I like to grab the face of the fish myself for photos, so using the Fish Grips is out. The moisturizers are important, but at this point they are sort of like putting a fresh coat of paint on a dam that’s sprung a leak. The antiseptic and barrier to future abuse represents the immediate need that I have, so the Liquid Bandage and Waterproof Medical Tape get the nod.
Of course, I could work on getting my thumb out of their mouths as soon as I put them back in the water for release. I’m living and learning, and very appreciative to those in the community who are willing to share their remedies!