El Gouna has recently installed electric rental bikes in various places. They are app based, meaning they are locked in by their front wheels and are released when you’ve paid via they app.
I was standing next to these bikes and in conversation. The boys were exploring and I saw Jody playing with the chain near the back cog on one of them. After telling him ‘no’ and ‘be careful’ I made a classic parent error by thinking once was enough.
Next thing, there was ‘that’ scream. The one where your parental blood runs cold. He was at a different bike to the one previously mentioned and when I got to him I found his fingers stuck in bike chain. Flicking immediately into solve mode, I realised that it was not going to be easy to get his fingers out. What had happened was his fingers were on the chain where it meets the bottom of the big cog. Kyle had innocently pressed the pedal and turned the cog, moving Jody’s fingers into the spaceless place where the chain meets the cog.
The first thing that comes to mind is: try to move the pedal the other way. But these bikes are locked in. If I had the app I would have unlocked and sorted it, but neither me nor anybody else there had it.
You can see from the pic how bent the plastic chain guard is as I had tried to rip that off. Not only were his fingers caught, but the angle was difficult with the offensive plastic in the way. I tried to snap the chain. The fact that I tried to break a bicycle chain with my bare hands is laughable in hindsight, but desperation is desperation. And it was only the next day, when I found bruises in the shape of chain links in my own hands that I realised how hard I had pulled. I was so petrified of anything turning that pedal any further, drawing his fingers further in.
I looked up out of helplessness and saw a huge crowd had formed. Thankfully some people had the presence of mind to bring some screwdrivers to undo the cog and whatever else was screwed into place.
While I was pushing the chain down to relieve the pressure on his fingers, even just a little, I looked to see somebody trying to unscrew something. When I realised that the screwdriver hadn’t even bit in – meaning this person wasn’t turning the screw at all, just the screwdriver, I snatched it and tried something else.
Salvation came when I managed to wedge the screwdriver between the cog and the chain, creating a gap between the two. This was terrifying as I was so scared the screwdriver would slip causing the chain to make a chopping action on his finger. Another helper gently edged his fingers free and it wa done!
I whisked him from the crowd just to give him space and to comfort him. You can imagine, he had screamed the entire time. Next, I dared to look at his finger and horror hit me. The indentation was about halfway through. I was sure he was going to lose it.
We rushed off to the hospital, only a few minutes away. A woman had insisted she drive us to the hospital. Being a mother herself, she struggled to let him go (as I was making sure Kyle was with us) when she got into the driver’s seat. 2 U-turns later we pulled in to the hospital.
By this time, there had been more flow to his finger and the groove not so horrific. I realised then that, as adults, the tops of our fingers are skin, then bone but children this age have fat, stubby fingers and the indentation was only into puppy fat.
Bron, being in a meeting was summoned by me as calmly as I could. But her horror set in as she heard him crying. To hear him like that, when he does not normally cry for long, told her how serious it was.
An Xray determined that his bones were fine. And with some painkillers and bandages, the little mite went home.
It will take a little time for his finger to heal fully but the stress is not over as we need to make sure he has full movement…
The people had been amazing as usual! Disinfectants were brought, people were crying for Jody and for days afterwards complete strangers I’ve never seen before are stopping me to ask how he is!
All is well again..