One of the biggest problems that people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome have is the dislocations or joints subluxing (moving out of place but not fully dislocating). As I have mentioned before, the lead up to me being diagnosed with EDS was long, medical professionals didn’t have a clue what was going on and I was just passed off as being a clumsy child and teenager. Throughout my secondary school years, I was constantly getting injured in stupid ways, which looking back was because of EDS and not because I was clumsy and incapable of walking without recreating Bambi on ice. I was fortunate in that the majority of injuries that I sustained were in school – had they not been then social services probably would have been crawling all over my mum and I due to a pattern of random and unexplained injuries. Every school term, my mum would challenge me to stay out of A&E and every term, within a few weeks I would be sat in minor injuries or A&E, on first name terms with staff members, silently waiting to be given a loyalty card from the NHS trust overseeing my care. Every new year, my mum and I would count up all my injuries and say optimistically that next year would be better. Next year came along, as did the injuries, illnesses and list of bizarre things that my body did.
Let’s rewind to 2010: it is autumn and I am in year 11 and in a GCSE French lesson. Our teacher was fairly lenient and allowed us to sit with whoever we wanted as long as we still got the work done. Throughout the two year GCSE French course, I sat in the corner with one of my close friends. We had been firm friends since day one of Year 7 and are still friends now.
So, the lesson. We were doing some form of group task, the exact details have been long forgotten along with my ability to speak actual French and not Franglais. I don’t know if we were working in pairs or alone, but somewhere amongst all the excitement of the lesson and learning all the random vocabulary that I am yet to utilise in conversation with a French person, my friend grabbed my hand enthusiastically and pulled it.
There was a sickening crack and a pop.
We looked at my left hand.
And that was when we realised that my finger had dislocated in her hand. It literally came out of place, in her hand.
She dropped my hand, looking mildly [read as completely and utterly] traumatised. I did what I normally did, in situations whereby I am in pain and burst out laughing. This momentarily reassured my friend, I was laughing, I was okay.
We looked at my hand again. My index finger was facing completely the wrong way and was hooked in a position that I couldn’t move. I laughed more. My friend found her voice and asked the teacher to help.
The teacher, faced with me laughing hysterically, like I had lost the plot, didn’t understand the situation. And then she saw my finger and very quickly changed her mind and sent me to the school matron.
Matron rolled her eyes and gave me an ice pack. Another teacher examined my finger closely and asked me if I would like him to put it back into place. I declined, on the grounds that he was a history teacher, not a doctor. I was taken to hospital, my finger was relocated to the correct position and I was informed that along with it being dislocated, my friend had also managed to flip the main tendon around the bone aka not where it should be.
I recovered from this ordeal. Seven years later, my left index finger remains in a hooked position, a lasting memory of one French lesson in year 11. I’m not sure if my friend still feels any guilt over my deformity, but I like to remind her of it every now and again.
I’m pleased to say that my friend also recovered from this ordeal, although it took slightly longer. She had to deal with being called a savage beast by our French teacher for the remainder of our time at school. She also has to deal with me pulling the “you put me in hospital” card out when I want her to buy the first round of drinks when we go out.
Is someone even your best friend if your finger hasn’t come out in their hand? I think not.