Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Thumb Sketch Experience

Considering what my body has had to tolerate it would seem that a small thing like a thumb would be nothing more than an inconvenience. But it ached so much that I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t brush my hair, my teeth, or my dog without whimpering. It was the early 1990's and I lived alone. There wasn’t anyone to question why I was ’thumb whimpering’ so I could do it without feeling too ashamed of myself. Finally, I swallowed my pride and went to the doctor. I had hyper-extended my thumb. I know it’s hard to believe, but he handed me a ’thumb brace’, told me to wear it, and take two aspirin. When I told him I was embarrassed his response was, “Thumbs have feelings too!”

After wearing the thumb brace for a day or two my wrist started hurting. I decided that my wrist was in sympathy for my thumb and tried to ignore it. But the wrist pain was getting progressively worse. That particular wrist had my cane navigating hand attached to it. The more the pain increased in the wrist the less the hand was able to clutch the cane. Without the cane I couldn’t walk across the room. Back to the doctor! I had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome from the repetitive push of using the cane. I know it’s even harder to believe, but he handed me a wrist brace, told me to wear it, and take the pills he was writing a prescription for. When I told him I looked like I’d been in a right-handed train wreck he responded, “If you want to talk train wrecks let’s talk about the way you’ll walk with that cane without a wrist brace!”

Three nights later I was sitting at my desk trying to pay my utility bills. Writing checks with thumb and/or wrist braces hampering my check writing hand made the task almost impossible. So I took the brace off and whimpered with each broad stroke of the pen. Looking back on that moment I’m not certain I wasn’t whimpering about the money that the utility companies were demanding, but at the time I believed I was making an ’I’m in pain’ noise. Either way I wasn’t having any fun. All of a sudden a black blur flew between the desk and me.

My big, spoiled, black cat had decided that he needed my attention. What better way to get it then to take a flying leap for the desk and sit on the checkbook? I’m a softie for my pets, and I wasn’t having any fun doing what he interrupted so Ismiled and scratched his back for a bit. When I decided I had to get back to the task of bill paying I tried to lift him, but my wrist was painful and weak and I floundered. Mochie got confused and grabbed for the nearest thing that he could find to steady himself. And the nearest thing was ... my eye.

My eye was so painful I couldn’t open it. The few times I tried it it watered so much that it was like looking from the other side of a waterfall. I tried to ignore it, but it seriously interfered with my ability to see notwithstanding the fact that I couldn’t focus on the amounts the utility companies wanted me to write the checks for. Back to the doctor!

But this time it was after 6:00 p.m. My doctor wouldn’t be in his office. That meant an Emergency Room visit. I called my man friend, the 6’8” giant.

All I had to say was ’Emergency Room’ and he was on the way to his car. He and I had an on-going debate:

Me: “Will you stop trying to over-protect me.

Him: “No!”

An Emergency Room visit fit very comfortably into his conception of his ‘disabled friend that refused to be protected’ scenario. It might have even given him a bit of an edge in the on-going debate.

My cat had scratched my cornea. I walked out of there with a HUGE bandage wrapped around half of my head. They had used enough tape and gauze to warrant a much more significant injury. I was told to leave it on for two days, follow the dictates on the prescription, and go see my doctor.

By that time it was after 9:00 p.m. On the way home my giant friend asked if I would like to stop for something to eat. He was just fixing his dinner when I had called. I was hesitant, but this man had really put himself out for me so I agreed.

He assured me that he would find a restaurant that catered to the after hours, exhausted, and used up crowd. That made me feel a bit better. Maybe it wouldn’t matter that I hadn’t been able to find my shoes (because I couldn‘t see), and I listed to the right with each step for the lack of a heel to make my legs the same length. After all I had on my best ‘outside’ slippers.

When we walked through the door I could hear the undertones of varying conversations; not loud, just busy. As we got nearer to the cashier the conversations began to diminish. As we began walking to our designated table talking became almost non-existent.

I had never entered a room and stopped ALL conversation before. This was a new experience. What difference did it make that with each step I took I leaned to the right, and I used a cane, and I had thumb/wrist braces, and I had a huge bandage covering half of my head and face. How often does a woman get the experience of entering a room and stunning every man and woman present. I’ve had the experience. It was beyond description.

Especially when the waitress came to the table ready to take our order and looked me directly in my one available eye and said,

“What’s the other guy look like?”

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