CLOSE CALL: Val Kalmikovs is recovering in hospital after a minor scratch got infected
CLOSE CALL: Val Kalmikovs is recovering in hospital after a minor scratch got infected

‘It’s just crazy’: How Val could have lost his finger

ENGLISH channel swimmer Val Kalmikovs won’t take his wife’s advice for granted any time soon after she saved him from a possible amputation.

The Rockhampton pool manager thought nothing of a minor scratch he suffered on Sunday afternoon but on Monday morning his fingertip was throbbing and by the evening he had the shakes.

“I don’t know how I got it. I was just doing stuff around the house like usual - gardening and cleaning,” Val said.

He planned to sleep off the pain but his wife, Joy Symons, didn’t give him the option.

He was admitted to Rockhampton Hospital before midnight on Monday and went under the knife on Tuesday morning to save his infected finger. .

“The guy at the emergency room said it was a good thing I came over because it would’ve been much worse and it would’ve been more than the finger,” he said.

“If it was up to me I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital but thanks to Joy she said ‘you have to go - you are going’.”

Val said he usually listened to his wife after she had told him to do something “at least 10 times”, but he is now grateful for her wisdom.

“I should listen to her more often – more than a nod next time,” he said.

“It just tells you how important it is even if you have a minor cut to put on antiseptic - it’s just crazy.”

Val is an elite swimmer and is planning the Swim Around Keppel event scheduled for next August, which he is organising from his hospital bed.

“The positive thing is I have more time to put into the Keppel swim,” he said.

After staying in hospital for four nights, doctors cleared Val to go home on Thursday morning.

“It’s really crazy that a little tiny scratch could lead to this,” he said.

“I have been thinking if I lose my finger how it would affect my (swimming) stroke.”

Val said he had too many more channels to swim to lose any of his fingers.