Tuesday, August 4, 2009
TBG's Finger Protocol
It's only August, but 2009 is shaping up to be one of the single worst personal years of my life. And, apparently August 4th was jealous of all the attention every other day has received from me this year. I spent about 10 hours at the office today, enduring drama so bad that I can't even talk about it here. Then, I came home…
6:00 PM - Things were looking up as I walked through the door and found dinner already on the dining room table. Mrs. Bootleg had found Chef Tyler Florence's recipe for Ultimate Sloppy Joes on Oprah.com. I know, I know…but, they were terrific! Besides, in the pantheon of the world's most annoying words, "ultimate" is nowhere near as bad as "extreme" – which has since been supplanted by "stay-cation" amongst words I'd most like to murder.
6:15 PM - My son Jalen wants a cookie for dessert, but barely finished half his dinner. While we were in San Francisco last weekend, he ate chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner with an occasional slice of pizza thrown in for grins. Now that we're back home, it's a return to at least occasional parenting. Mrs. Bootleg and I turn down the boy's request.
6:30 PM - Entering our 15th minute of Jalen's tearful cookie-deprived pout, I remind him of bath time and attempt to hasten his ascent up the stairs by dangling the A's/Rangers game (starting at 7:00 PM) as a reason to get bathed and into his PJs. The A's are 45-60 and 19 games out of first place. I'm having a hard time convincing myself to watch them these days so, in a decision that'll haunt me for the next eight weeks, I break out "the bee".
6:32 PM - OK…make a fist with your left hand and then extend your pinky finger straight up. Find a five-year-old African-American boy and place him face down on your couch. Repeat after me: "Uh oh, Jalen! I think the bee's gonna sting you!" Using your pinky as the "stinger", attempt to "sting" the little boy on the butt. Now, recoil in agony as you hear and feel a snap in your finger immediately after "stinging" the boy on his bottom.
6:33 PM - "I think I just dislocated my finger", I say to Mrs. Bootleg while holding up the seasoned curly fry that was once my pinky. My wife – in an exasperated tone chock full of scorn – simply replied, "Are you serious?"
6:45 PM - I drive myself to Urgent Care and am forced to tell the story of what happened twice to the receptionist. ("So, wait. Why were you poking your son, again?") I'm told there are two people ahead of me as the lady at the desk hands me a lukewarm room-temperature icepack. I sit down and update my Facebook/Twitter status.
6:50 PM - As I'm just finishing up, it occurs to me that one-handed texting is uncomfortable, ineffective and almost impossible.
7:00 PM - A nurse takes me back and peppers me with questions about my medical history. It's the first chance I've had to actually answer the "are you allergic to any medications" question. And, just like everyone I mention this to who is NOT in the medical field, the nurse seemed surprised when I told her about my allergy to aspirin.
7:05 PM - The nurse finishes up by asking me to gauge my own pain "on a scale of 1 to 10". I hate this question. I mean, I told her that it was probably a "4", but the tip of my pinky finger is touching the palm of my hand and I can't move it from that position. I'm pretty sure that's a "10" on the "I need a doctor" scale, no?
7:10 PM - The doctor comes in to take a look. He asks me to make a fist and then proceeds to position my deformed digit next to my four clenched fingers. He then asks me to put out my hand – palm down – and keep my fingers parallel to the floor. He now attempts to straighten out my f'd up finger so that it aligns with the others. For those scoring at home, I've gained about five points of pain just in the past five minutes. The doctor tells me my finger is not dislocated, but there's almost certainly damage to the tendon.
7:20 PM - While waiting in radiology for an x-ray, a little old lady is wheeled in next to me. I'm sitting at a "9" on the pain scale and have no doubt of hitting "10" at the moment she opens her…
7:21 PM - "I broke my finger last year and you know what they told me? They told me I'd have to wait a month and a half until I could have surgery. That's almost six weeks! You know what I told my doctor? I told him to forget it! Look at my finger now. It's a little crooked, but it stopped hurting!"
7:25 PM - The x-ray technician saves me from my newfound octogenarian accompaniment. He manipulates my finger in three NEW ways, apologizing each time while repeatedly referring to me as "buddy". Are we certain that "10" is the limit on the pain scale? Right now, I'm somewhere between an "11" and this.
7:45 PM - The doctor returns with his diagnosis: the tendon in my left pinky finger is completely torn. While the x-rays showed no break, he wants me to call back on Wednesday to make sure. This is like that ridiculous "he's not a first ballot Hall of Famer" assertion. Are Andre Dawson's stats really going to improve from one year to the next? Is my x-ray really going to tell a different story in 12 hours?
8:00 PM - I'm told no surgery will be required. I'm fitted for a weird plastic splint that I'll have to wear for the next eight weeks and leave with a warning that my finger will look "a little bit jagged" even after it's healed. That means I'll still have roughly three more months in 2009 to injure every other appendage on my body.
Don't bet against me.