The Damaged Digit

One item that we had penciled in on our Rhode Island bucket list was paddling down the Narrow River to the beach at Narragansett. Last Friday was a beautiful sunny day so we loaded up the boards and drove down to Narragansett and parked up at Middlebridge and launched at the the Narrow River Kayak company’s lot. There were a few houses scattered around the open wetlands but much of the area is protected and kept as a preserve, beautiful and unspoiled. The real name of the body of water is the Pettaquamscutt Watershed but everyone knows it as the Narrow River. It’s a popular kayak and boarding area and as we passed under the old stone bridge and neared the large sand bar that separates the river from the sea, the river was filled with kayaks, canoes and SUPs. An occasional powerboat would blast by ignoring the no wake signs and showing obvious annoyance at all of the tourists and outsiders invading their exclusive aquatic playground.

We toted the boards across the sand bar and after resting on our towel for a while, we paddled out through the small breakers and caught a number of fun 2-3 foot waves near the boiling rocks exposed near the rivermouth. The waves were a blast. I caught the best surf of the trip for the new stand up board and PJ was riding a few decent rollers for short stretches. We were going hard for close to two hours when I set the board aside and swam over towards PJ to take some pictures. She was calling out to me and waving around her hand. I didn’t know what was up at first so I was mouthing something back at her when I realized she was bleeding.

We got her in and up on the beach and it was clear that her finger was a bit bent at the tip. She was hyperventilating and trying to catch her breath as we rinsed it off to get a better look. The finger had gotten caught in the leash rope at the plug and twisted around. It was cut into the nail on one side and swelling fast. Once she rested a minute and stabilized, I hauled the boards back across the sand bar but we still had at least a mile of paddling to get back to the car. PJ was a trooper. Although she was hurting, she was enjoying the paddle back excited about the waves she had caught, the longest rides yet on the paddle boards. The stoke outweighed the trauma and we were soon back at Narrow River Kayaks where the crew at the rental shack busted out their first aid kit, washed up the wound with hydrogen peroxide and set her up with a ginormous squared off gauze cube to keep it clean. Much thanks to everyone at Narrow River Kayaks, a class act.

I drove us into East Greenwich and found the urgent care facility on google that PJ’s doctor recommended when we called their office. We got right in and they cleaned it up with betadine then glued the cut together and held it with some butterfly adhesive strips. They took an x-Ray that confirmed that yes, there was a small break on the distal phalange. We were out the door with a splint and a prescription but all PJ could talk about was getting back in the water.