13 September 2004

Oh drat, part 3

It's never what you expect.

I got to the doctor's anticipating either an appointment to re-break and re-set my finger or an appointment for surgery to fix what had gone wrong in the natural healing process. It was weirdly neither, but I feel somewhat better about things.

So the first item on the agenda was to get a fluoroscope [Wikipedia] image taken so that they can see what's what. One scan from the top and one from the side (images reversed).

oh drat

OK. So we've confirmed that it's broken. Really broken. What next? Well, Dr. Work says--and he's a surgeon, remember--says that he doesn't recommend surgery. The chance of scarring, and therefore permanently damaging, the tendons in that small area is too great. And, the damage done, though decisive, is minor in relation to what really warrents surgery. No surgery.

Anyway, I first spoke with Dr. Kullah. After seeing the fluoroscope, he was a little reticent to make any commitment. The fracture and splintering is noticable but not structually significant. And, as the PT (physical therapist) Xavier later pointed out, the tendons did not rip themselves from the bone. Apparently, a common result of similar injuries is to have the tendons, tendons being stronger than bone, pulled and then pulled from the bone so that they rip pieces of the bone away. From the x-ray, he expected to see my finger flopping around. Mine didn't do that. I'm lucky.

The result would be possibly inoperable damage and probably an unusable finger. I. Am. Lucky. I must keep reminding myself. The PT couldn't believe, from what he had seen, how lucky I was.

That is: he couldn't believe compared to how concerned I was. See, my finger may be permanently skewed to the right (see fluoroscope above) and thus limit or degrade my already limited ability at the piano. I expressed my concern. I clearly expressed it. He then spoke to me about the people who were in recently (OK, you all know where this is going) who had lost the use of one or more fingers, or who had permanently lost the use of a hand from and industrial accident. I wasn't in sexy, self-obsessed Nip/Tuck land. I was in a place where basic functioning was assessed and (possibly) retrieved. Possibly not.

I was on a fucking roller-coaster (apologies for the cliche) the whole visit over my overreaction and the uncertainty of my recovery. I wasn't sure which to trust or which to rely on the most. My finger points 10-degrees in a different direction. I could have lost all use of my finger. Others are struggling to pay for surgery to give them basic mobility after an accident at work.

I'm still angry. And I don't think I can get rid of that. But the anger is now more greatly tinged with self-hatred and embarrassment. But the one thing, the one thing that had become the me thing of my life, has possibly changed.

This is stupid. This is stupid and painful and stupid, and I wish I were smarter than this but I'm not.

[ posted by sstrader on 13 September 2004 at 5:13:03 PM in Misc ]