Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Apple #616: Uh-oh, It's Broken

For about the past week and a half, I've been away in the Land of No Internet, so I could not post anything to the Daily Apple.  In the meantime, I've been collecting ideas and suggestions for new entries, so I have a few in the hopper.

(Also in the meantime, a Korean site that I think is something like Reddit picked up my entry about the power symbol, so there was a flurry of visitors here for a day or two.)

When I got back to the World of the Wired, I was going to get cracking on those ideas in the hopper, but first a little accident happened.  I was watching the recent Packers-Vikings game with a friend.  I'll call him Minnesota Mad Man to protect his, uh, innocence.  I'm a Packers fan and Minnesota etc. is obviously a Vikings fan.

M^3 was doing some trash talking while the Vikings were rather easily beating the Packers.  After a few quarters of this, I made to tackle him -- as one does during football games -- and he put up his hand to block me, the two hands collided, and smack.  My finger got jammed into his arm and I was curling up and saying ow ow ow ow.

I once upon a time broke my toe, and that was so painful, I could hardly see straight.  This hurt, but only about as much as it does if you jam a knuckle.  After some careful poking around, I discovered that the heart of the pain was in the body of my hand, below my ring finger.  I thought of those two tendons, one from your ring finger, the other from the pinky, that come together there.  I couldn't move my finger at all at first, but in time I was able to bend it slightly.  All of these things led me to conclude that I hadn't broken anything but maybe strained that tendon and that, with a little ice and ibuprofen and time, it would be fine.

I also didn't want anything to be broken.  This was my right hand.  My number one tool.  Crucial to me in so many ways, for so many reasons.

Two days later, after icing and avoiding using it and bonking it by accident which led me to yelp in pain, my hand is slightly swollen, and the knuckle looks like it's sunken down.  I Googled "broken hand" and lo and behold, there was an array of pictures of hands in situations that looked a lot like mine; which is to say, they don't look that obviously messed up, just a little bit swollen.  Sites like the Mayo Clinic and WebMD said that any injury to the hand should be examined immediately.  Whoops.

The swelling in this guy's broken hand is a little more obvious than mine, but this is pretty close to what my hand looks like.
(Photo from Club Pebble Beach)

So I'm off to the emergency room.  On New Year's Day.  So this should be a whole lot of fun.  I'm bringing my copy of The Brothers Karamazov with me.  Maybe I'll finish it by the time they get to me.

By the way, my hand is a bit achy after typing this with my left hand and three fingers of my right.  So probably I'm a numskull.

Anyway, pictures and more stuff to come when I can.

----- 3 hours later -----

Back from the ER. Typing almost entirely with my left hand because I now have this:

They took 3 X-rays.  "You broke it," the doctor said when they were ready.  He showed them to me on a computer screen.

On the metacarpal of the ring finger of my right hand there were marks like a fine, maybe two-inch greater-than symbol on its side.

This isn't my hand, and the fracture is worse than mine, but the location is similar.
(Photo from Wikipedia)

He told me it's not a bad break, and it's in the middle of the bone which means it will heal relatively easily.

They put the cast on, which will stay on for about a week, or until I can see the hand orthopedic doctor.  They'll take the cast off, look things over, decide what to do next.  The ER doctor told me that because the fracture is relatively mild, "they probably won't need to put a pin in it."  !

He said he can't promise what they'll do, so they might want to put in a pin, but most likely another cast for 6 weeks.  !

They included my just-fine middle finger in the cast because they like to give stability to the broken finger on both sides.  So, thanks to the cast, there's not much I can do with my right hand.

Ach.  I'm beginning to feel frustrated.  It took me almost an hour to do just this much.  I'm ready to take off the cast or at least free my 3rd finger so I can do something with my right hand.  But, nope.  It will have to stay on for 6 weeks.  I'll have to order out for food -- for 6 weeks.  No washing dishes -- for 6 weeks.  I'll have to wrap my hand in plastic and tape it closed -- for 6 weeks.  No writing by hand, which I dearly love to do, only typing with my errant and slow left hand -- for 6 weeks.

I have already had trouble putting on my coat.  The sleeve almost didn't fit over the cast.  I've had trouble eating, using a fork with my left hand.  I had trouble putting my car into Drive, had to use my left hand.  This isn't some funsie little game I can stop playing now.  I'm going to have to struggle with such basic activities for 6 weeks.

I'm wishing I hadn't gone to the doctor and gotten the cast after all.  I mean, here's how my hand looked before the cast:

You can hardly tell that anything is wrong, can you?  If you didn't know to look for the slight swelling on my right hand, would you ever have guessed that it's broken?
(Photo by the Apple Lady)

When I said something about it being a pretty minor break, the ER nurse said, "But it's your hand.  It's a delicate and important tool."  So she's right, I don't want it to heal wrong or be messed up in some more permanent way.  But this sure is annoying and frustrating, and I've only been wearing the damn thing for less than 2 hours now.

She also told me I should stop hitting my friends.  I wanted to retort, But you don't understand!  He was being so smug!  I had to stand up for the Packers!  Now I wish I had at least knocked him over.  I mean, all this and I didn't even really tackle him.  Sigh.

The Packers play the Vikings again next week.  At home, in Lambeau Field.  The Packers had better win, that's all I have to say.  For my honor as well as theirs.

[Note: I am pleased to report that the Packers won their next game with the Vikings, 24-10. M^3 is rather grumpy about it, too.  Vindication!]

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