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Simon Bolivar

My Falklands Story Part 14B: He's stolen my finger!

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Part 14B: ‘He’s stolen my finger!’

Basically it was about cutting the dead white skin away from the healthy pink skin underneath the ‘white rubber glove’. Starting at the wrist & working down to the nails. Mostly the skin came away very easily as it had separated from the healthy skin, the serous fluid was sometimes jelly like underneath & if the skin was still attached we left that bit on. In this process I managed to get the dead skin off one of his fingers in one piece & it looked like the cut off finger of a rubber glove. I had been putting all the dead skin I removed into the plastic dressing bag, hanging off his locker (no dressing trolleys) but I thought this would make a good souvenir of my first attempt so put it on a piece of gauze & slipped it into my trouser pocket. Unfortunately he had seen the finger of dead skin come off then looked away, when he looked back it wasn’t on the locker. ‘Where’s my finger?’ 'It’s in the dressing bag’, I lied. ‘Where is it? I want it, it’s my bloody finger!’ As his voice lifted &
grew more hysterical others began to look our way. ‘What you done with his finger Jack?’ I am sure his mates thought I’d actually amputated his finger & made it disappear. ‘It’s dirty, you can’t keep it Taffy’, I reassured him but it didn’t work. ‘Where’s my bloody finger? He’s stolen my finger!’

Knowing when I was beaten, I slipped my hand in my pocket took out the finger dipped it into the dressing bag & produced it, ‘there you go Taffy, I’ll put it in a pot for you’. So as far as I know there still could this little souvenir of the Falklands, stuck on a Welshman’s mantle piece somewhere amongst the valleys.


Ah, did I mention we didn’t have any sterile clothing (like theatre gowns or even aprons)? We worked in our normal naval working dress No 8’s, which were being washed on a weekly basis to save water in the laundry. By lifting the patients up the bed & coming into immediate contact, their dead skin & Flamazine would rub off onto us. This smell, was what stayed with me the longest onboard & afterwards, we just couldn’t escape it.


OK, I have thought hard about publishing photos of the burns, there are some on the internet if you want to look them up but to show the before & after of the dressing technique I described above, I am attaching three anonymous photos below. 1/ the before, showing the White Rubber Glove appearance. 2/ One hand almost complete, note the serous fluid in the bag of the left hand, that was probably dress a couple of days before. 3/ Finished hand. I will post then well below this section so if you don’t want to see them please don’t scroll down any further.

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