Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2005

It wasn’t finger-licking good

February 3, 2005

I'm afraid I found new meaning to the phrase "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" this week. Let's just put it this way, for a writer/editor, there can be fewer debilitating injuries than a loss of a finger -- the right index digit for me.

Well, it's not gone or, at least, I hope not. But, I knew as soon as I smashed it dead on the fingernail Sunday evening that I was in trouble. I was closing the door to the garage behind me and to this day I can't say why I left that right hand in the doorway. My best guess is the door wasn't closing so I tried to help it along.

It was closing all right. Closing hard and fast.

As soon as the heavy door hit me, right square on that most important finger, I knew it. I hadn't felt physical pain quite like that in quite some time. It's that kind that's almost like rage and just takes over your whole body.

Of course, I grabbed at it, like that was going to help. It was so bad, that evidently it knocked my sailor's vocabulary right out of me. No, there wasn't a stream of expletives as was surely warranted. Now, maybe there were a couple of choice words, but nothing anywhere near the blue streak you'd expect.

No, this pain had me doing something I can only half-way describe as a pitiful robot-like moon walk as I drug one foot after the other along the concrete, never really lifting them off the floor. What was coming out of my mouth was a remarkably muffled utterance of something to the effect of "yee-ma-knee-nama-nama." That was followed by a couple of "man, oh, man, ugh, ah, ouch" things.

From there, I must admit that I think there was at least one "son-of-a" phrase or two thrown in for good measure. Why the less than x-rated response? I don't know, maybe neighbors.

As the pain began to subside a little and the moon walk slowed to just an occasional foot drag, I caught the first glance of just how bad it was. There was blood on the floor and not just a little. Sure enough, I had mashed that puppy and I mean good.

I immediately bolted to the kitchen -- yes, opening the stupid door with my left hand -- for a paper towel to stop the bleeding. This was no Kleenex injury, no not at all.

When I went back to the scene of the "incident," it looked like something straight out of one of those "Crime Scene Investigation" shows on TV. Let's see, there are blood drops here, here, here and way over there. They had tracked the moon dance quite well. There were blood drops on various tool boxes and the lawn tractor, but apparently none on the Mustang. There was blood on the door knob and even a finger print with that. The crime-scene boys will love that, I thought.

But, the most interesting part of the blood trail was a couple of smatters. Yes, I know, I've been watching way too many of the CSI shows. There were two tiny smatters on the wall. As near as I can tell, they must have occurred early on, immediately post injury and pre-dance, but I'll leave that up to the lab.

Once the excitement was over and I assessed the throbbing injury, I knew it was bad and I knew I was in trouble. Yes, the first thought was how the heck am I going to type? That concern proved warranted.

Monday morning I found out quickly the extent of the injury. I first tried to just type. It wasn't so much the ouches that convinced me to stop, but the blood on the keyboard -- yes, those fascinating smatters again -- that let me know this wasn't going to work.

So, I tried typing one-handed for awhile. It was painfully, painfully slow. After an hour or so of that with uncharacteristically brief e-mail replies, I tried a version of typing using all fingers except the right index, using its next-door neighbor for its duties. While that was better, it still wasn't there and I had to think about it too much.

That brought on a trip to the store for more medical supplies, most notably bigger Band-Aids. After soaking the finger and hitting it with antibiotics, a double wrap of Band-Aids proved to be a life saver. The added cushion allowed me to at least use the "pad" of my finger to tickle the keys and ended the blood trail. I was back in business.

Well, at least there anyway. Throughout the day and the rest of the week, I discovered all sorts of routine things you take for granted that I couldn't do with that finger. Probably the most notable was writing, as in pen to paper. For one thing, it was impossible to take notes. But where it was most notable was in writing checks. They looked like a second-grader had written them. I don't know that they'll be questioned as forgeries and, if so, more work for the crime labs.

Those were just a few of the problems. I won't go into any of the less-than-desirable ones, but I'm sure you can imagine. I became more and more left handed. Office manager Karen Wooge told me that would make me smarter.

I don't know about that except for one thing -- I'll be smart enough not to mash my finger in the door again.

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