The Joy of Minor Injuries

It is a relief to have something wrong that is not life-threatening. Something that one can resent, complain about but not lose any sleep over, no waking during the in terror because the line between life and death has become narrower and narrower.

While I was on Salt Spring Island cutting up old lumber and a tree for firewood for JO, I jammed my little finger into a piece of wood. It hurt but only momentarily and it wasn’t until the end of the day that I noticed I couldn’t straighten out my little finger. It looked like a hook. I could move it down but couldn’t straighten it out.

When I got back to Victoria, I went to see my doctor. He said “Mallet finger.” And filled out a form so I could go to Hamilton Orthotics. I would, he said, have to pay for the treatment. If I didn’t want to pay for the treatment, I could just settle for having a finger that looked like a claw.

Off I went to the orthotics people and a very nice therapist explained that when I jammed the wood into the finger, the tendons same loose. I needed a stent for six to eight weeks so the tendons could reattach themselves. Any time I took off the stent, I had to support the tip of my finger on a pencil or edge of a book so that the end didn’t drop. If the last digit dropped, the healing process had to start all over again.

I’ve been whining about my finger. My good friend Jim Anderson isn’t sympathetic. He pointed out that he’s just been through two years of chemo-therapy for prostate cancer and I’ve been through a prostate cancer operation and a triple bypass. I’ve also been through an exploratory on my abdomen before which the surgeon said that they had no idea what they were operating for but if they didn’t find out what was wrong and stop the pain, I was going to die.

These are things that are too scary to whine about. Life hangs in the balance and good as modern medicine is, the balance sometimes tips you into death. Here today, gone tomorrow, and saying that dying is okay because it’s someone else’s problem once your gone isn’t comforting. A lot of Facebook truisms don’t hold up all that well in the face of confrontations with the Grim Reaper.
That’s why I’m whining and complaining about my mallet finger deformity and having to wear an orthotic device.

Mind you, as trivial as it sounds, it is a pain in the ass. It doesn’t hurt. I can take a shower with it on. But trying to type resulted in a blister. So, I’m learning to type with nine fingers. I mustn’t clear the moss off roofs, clean gutters, saw wood, chop wood, move stone slabs, dig, etc., all the things I like to do because they can interfere with those tendons which are valiantly trying to reattach themselves.

I will put on weight. Or I fear I will put on weight. So I need to cut back on calories for the next six to eight weeks. That means no ice cream. Normally, I will work hours just so I can eat all the ice cream I want and I want lots. It is an addiction. No ice cream in the freezer is like life without hopes and dreams. I’ve cut back from two eggs for breakfast to one egg, from four strips of bacon to two, from two slices of toast to one. I don’t want to buy pants with a bigger waist.

The bunged up finger is a small problem but small like a mosquito in the bedroom after you’ve turned off the light. It buzzes around your head and you thrash around trying to chase it off and either end up sleeping under the sheet or turning on the light and hunting the little bugger and killing it. You don’t want to kill the finger or take off the stent.

I see the therapist for a follow up appointment tomorrow. I need advice on how to take care of my skin under the stent. It’s not like going for a follow up appointment with the cancer surgeon or with the cardiologist. I don’t need to hold my breath and screw my courage to the sticking place because they might say, you should start getting your affairs in order.