Kenneth Vesely was pheasant hunting, following his dog through thick brush, when he felt sharp pain in his right hand.
“I got into a picker patch, some kind of thorns,” he says. “I got a fairly large one stuck in my knuckle.”
Vesely, who lives in Manitowoc, plucked the thorn from his hand and didn’t think much about it. Years of working for Wisconsin Public Service as a gas department maintenance technician meant he’d had his fair share of slivers, pokes, cuts and scrapes.
About two weeks later, all Vesely could think about was his hand. It was swollen and painful.
“I’m thinking, well, I didn’t get it all out,” he says of the thorn. “Maybe part of it’s stuck in there and it’s getting infected.”
He visited a physician in the Manitowoc area and was prescribed an antibiotic. After 10 days with no relief, Vesely was referred to a specialist.
“He looked at it and he took an X-ray, says it’s arthritis,” says Vesely, who is in his 60s.
For about two months, Vesely tried to manage the hand pain on his own. Eventually, he had enough.
“So, OK, I’m just putting lotion on it, things like that, ibuprofen and I thought, this is weird, I’m going to get a second opinion. … So I went and saw Dr. Klika and he was amazing.”
An ultrasound revealed a piece of the thorn lodged in Vesely’s finger.
Klika performed a long-finger irrigation and debridement to remove the thorn fragment, which Vesely says caused minor damage.
“There was even stuff rolling around in there already from (the thorn) sitting there so long,” he says.
The diagnosis and outpatient surgical procedure was timely, especially because his hand appeared to be getting worse, Vesely says.
“The finger got fat and two fingers next to it got real sore, but the biggest thing was my knuckle. The top of my hand was all puffy. Three quarters of my hand was all puffed up and it just didn’t look like arthritis,” he said.
But Klika’s care helped ease those issues, Vesely says.
“Three days after seeing him I was fixed … I did nothing but sing Dr. Klika’s praises to everybody that I saw,” he says.
“I was very pleased, very pleased.”