The Times I Almost Lost a Finger


Back when I was 20 I had to have all four of my wisdom teeth out. I was always getting sore throats and they got infected, it was nasty. They put me under for the procedure so I don’t remember much, but the pain afterwards was terrible. The dentist prescribed the pain killer percocet for me and the day after I was glad to take one. It was great.

I had this piece of crap Hyundai Excel and the oil pan had been leaking. I had a new gasket ready so I figured I would change it. Two days after the dentist and armed with another percocet I went ahead with the job. There were about 12 bolts around the oil pan, it looked just like this one:

Two of the bolts were really stuck. I was giving it my all on the first one when it finally gave way. When it did my right hand smashed into the underside of the car, hard. It didn’t really hurt. I saw a bit of blood but I figured if it did not hurt, what’s the big deal? I just didn’t care really, due to the pills. Just no feeling at all. The second bolt gave way very quickly, it must have known how serious I was. The whole thing took about two hours and I was glad when it was not leaking after I changed the oil.

I went inside to wash up, my hands were a oily mess. As I was washing them I turned my right hand up and looked.

My middle knuckle of my right hand index finger was almost totally exposed.

I sort of had a panic attack. I will not gross you out with all the details, but lets say seeing your knuckle work under the skin is not recommended. I did the best I could to disinfect it and get the flap of skin to go back in place. I went to the doctor but he was not willing to stitch it up due to how much time had passed, and he was concerned about infection. He said to me if it got infected, it would be deep and would be “an issue”. I was terrified.

Long story short, it healed up well with no issues except a really bad scar. I also have never taken any pain killers of any sorts since then. Alcohol does not count!

The second time I almost lost a finger was not in the literal sense, but a trading sense. It happened last April.

I had been doing very well since the new year started when I began really trading shorter term again. Gains were good and things were going well. I got caught leaning very long when the Fukushima Disaster happened and that trimmed gains quite a bit. Later March and into April were not good times as my ideas and picks hit a cold streak. I was going on vacation the last week in April and I was in a state of not really caring. I had almost no positions and was re-thinking the whole thing.

All year I had been in and out of the stock KCG (Knight Capital Group). They had earnings coming up on April 20 and I had a gut feeling they were going to have good numbers after all the volatility of the spring. I was going to grab a usual sized spot the Monday before the 20th, but at that point even if my idea panned out (this was not chart based at all) what was the upside? I was in a state of ambivalence. To this day I cannot believe what I did.

I put 60% of my trading account in KCG before earnings.

And again, I was ambivalent. If it worked I would get ahead again. If it did not then I would take a break for a while after losing a finger on a trade. I did not even write about it (I mentioned a gamble way after) because I knew how stupid it was. Yes, your level headed, patient writer had a moment of crazy. It happens.

Long story short, KCG looked like it would collapse into earnings on Tuesday (yikes) but came out with a good report Wednesday and I cashed out for 6% gain. Not huge, but with that position size it was a big winner compared to usual 5%-8% part of account.

I went on vacation and I have been executing all my trades with the utmost discipline since that one trade. Looking at how the summer into fall went, maybe my lapse was a good thing because sticking to sound fundamental trading has saved my behind during the doldrums of credit crisis part 10 or which ever part we are on now.

I had not really thought about this again until I read this post by author BCLund:
Avoiding The Suicide Trade At All Costs
All three rules he went over brought the whole episode back into my mind. I won’t do that ever again.

Have a good night.

6 Responses to “The Times I Almost Lost a Finger”

  1. I literally lost my ring finger on my left hand. My dog bit it off by accident when she was attacking my other dog for sitting on the couch next to me. She was jealous… And she had razor sharp teeth because that thing just flew off like it was buzzed by a table saw.

    I have to say when it happened it didn’t really hurt and I was totally calm, but after the surgery it REALLY hurt. Percocet was very useful then.

  2. Great post.
    And Busta, that is funny, but not really. Glad you got it sewed back on. I work with a guy who had a sawmill accident. Lost his middle, ring, and pinky. Got them all sewed back on. No lie.

    Anyway, when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, at 17, my best friend had his done the same week (pure coincidence). We were both prescribed Demerol for the pain. Wow. We had a lot of fun. We slept through a lot of parties the next week.

  3. I actually wasn’t able to get it sewed back on but I did see some similar injuries that you described at my therapy afterwards and couldn’t believe they were able to re-attach that stuff.

    lol, two 17yr olds on Demerol…that was probably some interesting times.

    And yes, great post Econ. Thanks for sharing!

  4. You know we’ve all done stupid when you read about someone putting 60% in anything and all the comments are about fingers. LOL Love the honesty!

Comments are closed.