When Donald Crum, 68, found himself lying face down in the driveway of his daughter’s home last March, he had only one thing in mind.
“I hope this doesn’t ruin my golf game,” he thought to himself.
“It was a weekday morning and my daughter had given me a call to see if I could go over to the house to help get the kids off to school. After helping to get them dressed and off to the bus stop, I left the house, coffee cup in my hand, to go to the gym for my morning workout,” Crum said.
But, he never quite made it into his car.
Slip and Fall
“I lost my footing and fell in the driveway shattering the cup, which cut my hand and thumb pretty badly. Otherwise, I didn’t bang my head, crack any teeth or break any bones,” Crum said.
“So, I picked myself up and ran inside and rinsed the cut as well as I could, then bandaged it. My daughter, who works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Baystate Children’s Hospital, had already left for work. Fortunately, the caretaker who watches my other two grandchildren was already at the house, and she bundled up the kids and drove me to Baystate’s Emergency Department,” he added.
While at the Emergency Department, Crum was given a nerve block for the pain and received about six stitches, however, he was told that the wound was severe enough that he would need to see a Baystate hand surgeon for follow-up care.
That surgeon was Dr. Pranay Parikh of Baystate Plastic Surgery, who when he saw the extent of the wound, booked Crum for hand surgery the next day at the hospital’s Chestnut Surgery Center.
A Deep Wound
According to Dr. Parikh, Crum had a deep, complicated hand injury with muscle, tendon and some nerve involvement.
“There were pieces of glass and small pebbles and sticks from the driveway that needed to be further cleaned out from the deep wound. When the surgery was over, I was put in a full arm cast for the better of two weeks,” Crum said.
Dr. Parikh explained that for him it is important to remember that at the moment of a severe hand injury, “patients think the worst and see their life flashing before their eyes.”
“That hand is important to them and we have to realize that we’re not just fixing a deep cut, but to the best of our ability getting that hand back in working order for them, whether a golfer like Mr. Crum, a guitar player, or otherwise,” Dr. Parikh said.
A Skilled Surgeon
Crum noted that Dr. Parikh “did a wonderful job on my hand.”
“I can hold and do anything and function just as before. I do have some numbness at the tip of my thumb, but Dr. Parikh said it may disappear over time. I can’t say enough about him. He is a thorough professional with a great personality, who offered encouragement in what was a very traumatic experience for me….and that was a nice touch,” he added.
To help bring his golfing hand back to perfection, Crum went for therapy 3-4 times a week over the course of a month to help gain the dexterity back to his hand.
Now, Crum is back on the links at Agawam Municipal Golf Course in Feeding Hills, where he and his buddies play 3-4 times a week during the season.
“My hand feels as though the accident never happened thanks to the good work performed at Baystate Medical Center. I would recommend them to anyone,” Crum said.
“I have a love-hate relationship with golf. It’s a difficult game and you can walk away beat after playing 18 holes. I finally got a hole in one in July of 2008, after playing for some 40 years without one. It’s those rare perfectly struck shots that always keep you going back to the course for another round,” he added.
And, Crum has plenty of time on his hands these days to head out to the course after retiring three years ago from Kanzaki Specialty Papers in Ware.
Will 2019 be the year for another hole in one?
“Only time will tell,” Crum said.
To Make An Appointment
For more information about Baystate Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery with locations in Springfield, Amherst, Northampton and Greenfield, or to book an appointment, call 413-794-5363 or visit baystatehealth.org/plastic.