In the few times that I’ve retold this story the consistent theme in each response has been along the lines of “Gee you’re accident prone aren’t you?” generally conveyed in a somewhat sarcastically rhetorical kind of way. I can’t blame them, in the past few years I’ve been hospital twice already and now with this latest endeavour I’m surgery bound once more.
The short version of events comes down to my knuckles trying to (unsuccessfully) catch an American football. Normally I’d allow the palms of my hands to look after such a task but on this particular occasion my brain decided to do things differently, you know, try and keep things fresh and all. I had, after all, been catching balls using the tried and true method for quite a few years now and it’s just plain dull.
It would seem however that my knuckles, or to be more specific the top knuckle of my left middle finger, wasn’t quite up to the challenge on this particular day and instead it felt the need to sustain an injury called “mallet finger” where the tendon is over extended and stretched causing a rather significant amount of pain.
My doctor the next day didn’t seem particular concerned with what had taken place, “A common injury among footballers I see every day” he told me, whilst at the same time observing my rather scrawny body seated opposite him and quietly quizzing himself as to why on Earth I would even put such a fragile frame in a position. I felt the need to reassure him that I was merely tossing the old pig-skin with a mate and not actually participating in an actual game. That would, of course, be suicide.
“Nothing to worry about” he said, “We’ll just take an x-ray to be sure but you’ve got some movement there, which is good, but you’ll be splint bound for about 8 weeks, less than 5% chance there’d be anything else going on”.
Oh joyous day, my day-job of programming was sure to suffer from the splinted attributes I was soon to inherit and no doubt it would of course ice my moonlighting career as the new wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers but that’s ok, they were knocked out of this years Superbowl that morning – most likely due to my absence mind you.
X-ray done and a few minutes waiting for the docs return I was met with what could only be described as “you’ll-never-frakin’-believe-it-but-you’re-in-that-5%-I-shouldn’t-have-mentioned-about-10-minutes-ago” look smacked across his gob. I started to smile, it just seemed funny waiting for him to try and figure out how to break the news to me that my finger was completely rooted. The smile evolved into a giggle and I apologised telling him that it was OK I was used to being in the medical minorities.
Turns out my tendon had done a little chop and wiggle from my bone, which was already expected, but a shard of bone had come loose, which again was kind of expected but as this shard was over 50% the size of the joint it was a little bigger than 8 weeks in a splint was going to fix and meant it was going to need some surgery to get things back on track.
“I’m going back to the tit doctor aren’t I?” I asked him.
“I had my wrist operated on a few years back by a plastic surgeon” I informed him, “His entire office was decorated with breast implants that he displayed with gusto & pride; ‘tit doctor'”.
“Ah, well yes, that’s probably where you’re headed” he confirmed.
Turns out my plastic surgeon is on a little extended leave post new years and I wont be seeing him any time soon meaning my day surgery attendance is beyond that by some time. At this rate I’ll do 8 weeks in the splint, have the surgery and then spend another month recovering (in a splint). I might make the Packers’ pre-season if I’m lucky! Haha.
As you can imagine having any body appendage retarded you begin to quickly realise just how often you rely on it. Sure it’s my non-dominant hand but I’m quickly broaching a new level of admiration for those of the world missing limbs or paralysed. In that spirit here’s a quick top 5 list of things I’ve found embarrassingly difficult to achieve only one finger down.
- Squeezing toothpaste out of a tube while holding a toothbrush at the same time.
- Putting deodorant on, it now involves resting the can on my bedside table and pushing the button with my thumb and spraying it al over my arm nowhere near my armpit.
- Eating a meal that requires cutting meat, the “stab & devour” method of food consumption is now employed on a regular basis.
- Opening a bottle of… well anything really, even though I use my right hand to twist the cap keeping a grip with my impaired left hand is like lifting a 10kg weight with my pinky finger only.
- And then finally… making the bed. It took me 20 minutes to put on a fitted sheet yesterday, the whole process now involves me holding the sheet in my teeth whilst lifting the mattress with my good hand and hooking it underneath. It’s just plain awesome to watch in a rather sad yet unbelievably humour-able fashion.
All that said typing is something that I’ve quickly adapted to doing one finger down and once this new medical chapter comes to an end I’ll probably have to teach myself to use the current dead-weight-digit the other 9 are carrying on the keyboard!