Well, I may well be grappling with gangrene by the time you read this, as I just broke the first rule of having your hand wrapped in a big, annoying cast-bandage thingy. I got it a little bit wet.
I can see the nurses scowling at me and my hand surgeon tut-tutting. But as I try to type, use a knife or fork, wash my hands or any other normal activity requiring two hands, I am embarrassed at every turn. I prefer to tell inquirers that I broke my hand in a really awesome bar fight. The tedious truth is I had an arthritic knuckle on my left thumb fused. I have been reveling in the sympathy, because the bandage/cast looks gnarly. However, it has caused me to become an even bigger klutz. I want my hand back. Now. No, Yesterday.
I managed to keep the cumbersome beast on my left hand intact and dry for 10 whole days, which was not easy. I guess I got overconfident. While struggling to wash my hands with great care, I tipped it the wrong way or something, only to find things a bit damp. I used the hairdryer on it until I almost set the gauze on fire. I can only imagine the wonderful world of sepsis rocking and rolling under all this bandage. I’m sorely tempted to use the turkey-basting syringe to shoot some alcohol into it. That couldn’t hurt, right?
There is no way to anticipate the screaming inconvenience of being limited to one hand. I thought I had a clue because I had been avoiding the use of my painful left thumb, the reason for the not-the-least-bit-glamorous surgery. I didn’t arrange to have someone do my dishes and pour my iced tea and I blame that on denial, at which I am pretty skilled. But there is no denying a club-like wrap around one of your major appendages.
I am working all angles, though. From the X-ray of the large screw that now lives in my thumb, I feel great kinship with Wolverine, which has to be cool. The suggestion I like the very best, from a clever friend, is to ask the surgeon to use the big screw as a base for a full Swiss Army knife set of attachments.
Here, let me open that bottle for you! You’d like that fish filleted? Just give me a minute.
I think I’ll have to just settle for being able to open a jar again, and that will be bliss.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who found that wearing an arm cast makes her claustrophobic as well as cranky. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org