Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Two Weeks with my F'd Up Finger
August 4: Ouch.
August 6: The last words out of the mouth of the nurse who treated me at Urgent Care two night earlier were "Don't take your finger out of the splint UNLESS you place the finger on a flat, solid surface. You MUST keep your finger straight."
Sometime while I slept, the splint slipped off my finger. At approximately 2:00 AM, I rolled over on top of my left hand. For the first time since infancy, I woke up screaming -- which is not to be confused with the non-italicized version of the word. In the pantheon of pain, I'd put this just a tick behind natural childbirth.
I sat on the floor, curled up into a scrawny light brown ball and holding my own hand. I'd never before experienced pain so acute that it made me sick to my stomach, but there I was…actually on the verge of hurling. It would've been funny, if it wasn't so… And, it was here that I realized my splint had come off.
Instinctively, I put my hand on my chest ("…a flat, solid surface…") and commenced freaking out. It's surprisingly difficult to find a translucent two-inch plastic splint in the middle of the night while running all over Stately Bootleg Manor in panicky little circles. After an eternity – or maybe two minutes – I realized the splint is in the palm of the hand I have pressed against my chest. Only seven weeks and five more days of this.
August 12: I follow up with my primary care physician. In the eight days since the injury occurred, my finger has been sore, but not unbearably so. The doctor takes my finger out of the splint and has me move the mangled digit left ("ow"), right ("ow"), down ("ow") and up ("OW! [Expletive]!"). My profane reaction helps the doctor indentify which tendon I've ruined. "That means it's your finger's extensor tendon", he said. "Yeah, that's what they told me last week", I tearfu…er, angrily reply.
August 14: Two days later, my finger hurts more than it did in the immediate aftermath of the original injury. The pain's radiated down the side of my hand while the tip of my left pinky finger goes all "pins n' needles" for extended stretches. You know those imaginary "death panels" that talk radio concocted to scare their uneducated constituents into sabotaging the national health care debate? Well, they're real! And, my doctor works for one!
August 16: I can't believe I left this out of my last Sunday with Jalen post. Late in the afternoon, while roughhousing with my son, my heavily-wrapped splint comes off…again. Jalen had grabbed my left arm and – in the blink of an eye – pulled off my splint, the bandages and just about all my dignity. The hand is, again, one with my chest as I'm curled up on the living room floor.
Thankfully, Mrs. Bootleg sprang into action. First, she pried my splint from Jalen's hand. He'd been waving it over my corpse like a trophy. Then, she calmly escorted me into the kitchen, where she helped me straighten out my finger. She put the finger in the splint and turned to reach for a fresh bandage. I lifted my hand and noticed my finger seemed to be getting…all…crooked…"Dammit, [Mrs. Bootleg], you put the splint on upside down! GAAHHH!" Only six weeks and four more days of this.
August 17: The pain in my finger – and, increasingly, my hand – is getting to be too much. I call to schedule an appointment to see a specialist. I'm told it'll be 24 to 48 hours before someone can get back to me…to schedule an appointment. I'm taking my family back to Vancouver for a vacation next August. I may not come back.
August 18: I get on the specialist's calendar for September 9. In three weeks. I'm told to keep my finger wrapped and take Tylenol for the pain. This is the same thing I was told two weeks ago and it worked so well that I called to see a specialist. I've come full circle. No, wait…they tacked on a third week to this next two-week waiting period.
I'm apparently doubling back. Or something.