Dubai: British explorer Ranulph Fiennes told Gulf News that he still keeps his fingers in an old Kodak tin after getting frostbite and having to amputate them himself.
“I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them away, I’d had them over 65-years, so I put them in a Kodak tin, which I’ve still got,” he said.
So for five months I was wandering around with 2-3 inches of dead fingers sticking out like mummified talons and if you touch something it’s agony where the dead hits the nerve ends.
Explaining how and why he had to cut his fingers off himself, he said, “The insurance for amputation in Canada would only cover if I had it done in the UK where there are no frostbite experts, so I had to come back to the UK where we eventually found a doctor who specialises in burnt fingers, not frostbite, but apparently it’s the same thing.
“But he would not, and in fact no one will, treat fingers that have gone dead half way down until five months after the accident, because five months allows the area between dead and alive tissue to rejuvenate to form new ends (after amputation).
“So for five months I was wandering around with 2-3 inches of dead fingers sticking out like mummified talons and if you touch something it’s agony where the dead hits the nerve ends.
“My late wife Ginny was farming in Exmoor and wasn’t sympathetic because she was already short-handed enough on the farm as it was. After three months I was getting irritable so she got the cattle hoove clippers and a black and decker work bench with a fretsaw and if ever it hurt or bled I just moved the saw away. The thumb took two days. I couldn’t have them just sitting there.”