Friday, July 30, 2010

shameless promotion (2.0), part v

Editor's Note: In the continuing effort of this blog to promote its primary author, here is his latest column. Feel free to poke holes in it either here or on twitter. Thanks in advance.
Broken finger a reminder of little things

Here’s the problem: all the little things.

That sentence isn’t correct. You’re going to have to live with it. Sorry.

I’m having to live with such things since my orthopedic doctors taped together the index and middle fingers on my left hand, after x-rays showed the latter was broken. It makes typing simple sentences (like this one) laborious and typing them correctly even tougher.

In fact, here’s what that last sentence looked like before I corrected it: “iT MKEES tpnf swmple sentncs 9like this one) laborioua an typin thm corrrectl even toughr.”

To be honest, I foresaw this even as the (very apologetic) nurses were wrapping it the first time.

Me: “It’s going to be kind of hard to work like this.”

Doctor (unmoved): “If you do too much with it, we’ll do surgery and put a pin it.”

And that, apparently, was that. My wife — the medical professional in our house — agreed with his assessment, and no third opinion was necessary (or valid, it seems).

(Note: fortunately, due to changes in insurance and circumstance, these aren’t the same docs who were around when I broke my leg a few years ago. Because, um, that would be awkward.)

Here’s the thing: a finger doesn’t seem like much, when it’s healthy. It’s like a placeholder, really: not flashy and doesn’t do much unless you really need it.

Only when you really need it, and it’s hurt … well, you’re in trouble. Walking dogs, carrying groceries, typing your column: all of it becomes difficult, painful and poorly spelled when one of your digits isn’t functioning properly.

(Another note: someone I know recently tattooed a cartoon-ish looking mustache on her finger, just for the comedy of it. If this finger doesn’t heal properly I think I might go that route. Stay tuned.)

(Final note: Can you tell I’m deliberately avoiding telling the story of how I hurt the finger in the first place?)

And so, work goes on, even a digit down. I’m plugging away at a snail’s pace, sort of like the narrator in Stephen King’s “I am the Doorway” (so far, my finger hasn’t possessed me, at least no as far as I can tell). The mail continues to run on time, and politics continue to fail us just like always.

Like I said, it’s the little things that make the difference.

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