Monday, June 26, 2006


1. We are not going to have to pay $5944 and change for my finger surgery even though Blue Cross wrote me a lovely letter last week saying that, no, my surgery wasn't covered. All those crying jags were for nothing, because Blue Cross was wrong. They're sorry. Go ahead and shred that letter, they said. Everything is covered.

2. My doc was pleased with my finger mobility. No violent wrenching of the finger today.

3. All my stitches are out, and I've been cleared to shower without a bag covering my hand.

4. I'm also cleared to drive.

5. He said I'm okay to shoot pool, too.

6. Being in the doc's office today, seeing all the signed photos from major athletes on the walls, knowing from other doctors' recommendations that this practice and my doctor are the best in the region, I felt grateful to be in such skilled care, and to have the medical insurance necessary to cover all that goes into fixing such a random, seemingly small accident.

7. I found some great moisture wicking sock liners that I cut up to use as splint liners at the gym. Brilliant!

In other (non-finger) news,
8. The Dodgers beat the Pirates at the game we went to yesterday. Being at a ballpark always feels like summer to me. It's not Chili Davis and the Angels, but I love catching some games in the summer.

9. Tomorrow is the first day of the five-week summer institute I'm doing for writing and writing instruction. Everyone who has been has loved it, and even though I'm not feeling like doing anything besides sleeping in and hanging out with d tomorrow, I truly am grateful that I'm doing writing project this summer.

10. I'm not going to be in debt 6 G's for my surgery! I realize that's a bit of finger-related news in the non-finger section, but I'm just so relieved, and so very grateful.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I think that my hand surgeon is going to be mad at me when I go in for my appointment Monday. See, I was told to make my finger bend itself four times a day for twenty minutes, and I have mostly done that, because ultimately I want what is best for my finger. But I am not achieving the miraculous range of motion I was expecting. More significantly, I think my doctor is expecting more. He will not merely slap me on the wrist and tell me to work harder. No, he will wrench my poor little finger into exactly the amount of bend I'm supposed to have going. And I can tell you right now, that's gonna hurt.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Check-up #1

This morning was my post-op check-up.

I had been so impressed with my surgeon, with his speed, his economy with sedation, with the way I had been able to return to school last Thursday morning right after surgery and sign yearbooks, have that talk with a few of my girls, attend graduation...

Then there was this morning. See, I didn't know the pins were sticking OUT. I didn't know my tendon was going to get stuck and that he would have to pry my little finger into a bent position at the distal knuckle. If I had known that, and if I had known I'd get a fresh script for Vicodin out of the deal, I would have taken more than half a Vicodin before the appointment.

I'm supposed to take the splint off and bend the top two knuckles as much as possible for twenty minutes four times a day. Which gives me something to look forward to, since by tonight's session the tendon had become stuck again and I had to force it unstuck to get the whole process going.

That's one pin coming out of the finger with the little yellow stopper, and another much thicker pin jutting out of the new hole on the side of my hand.

I was feeling kind of sorry for myself, what with the barbaric pins, sitting in the physical therapy office while a nice lady hand-crafted this fashionable plastic splint for me.

But then I walked out through the waiting room and saw this young beautiful college age girl with no hand, just gauze on her wrist where her hand should have been. Put things into perspective real quickly.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


One minute, I was listening to the Proper Dos vato version of Rapper's Delight on my iPod waiting for the nurse to finish prepping me for surgery, and the next thing I knew someone was saying, "You're all done." Thankfully, I did not wake up to bigger boobs like on Dr. 90210, because that's not quite my style. But I do have two foreign objects in my body, as evidenced by the x-ray pix.

I asked for a local anesthetic when I got to the surgery center. I have mild mitral valve prolapse, and while the EKG I had earlier this week looked okay, I'm a pussy. The anesthesiologist agreed to the lightest possible sedation, but said they couldn't do this procedure with a local because I wouldn't be able to tolerate the tourniquet. I stopped asking questions at that point, because I realized that there are some things I really don't want to know.

I just have to say, there is nothing like a large chocolate shake from McDonald's and a Vicodin to set you right after body piercing.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Single Handed

I love racquetball. It is like crack, only far cheaper, and better for your body.

Apparently, I am kind of an aggressive racquetball player: last Wednesday night about twenty minutes into a game, I was going after a shot, tripped over my husband, and tumbled hard onto the floor. I could tell that it was a big fall as soon as it happened, but then I looked at my hand. My left pinky was jutting out in a couple of wrong directions, and blood was coming from somewhere along the lateral side of my hand. D grabbed all our stuff, we ran to the car, and I spent the next few hours in the local ER.

An hour and a half, folks. That's how long it took for the on call orthopedic doctor and the nurse with the drugs to come by. Which is actually faster than I would have thought since I wasn't dying, but I think they should just inject everyone sporting weird bone angles with Demerol immediately when you walk in--everyone would be so much happier, and that would be nice, wouldn't it? The doc was friendly, but way too informative: I didn't need to hear the words scalpel, crunchy, straighten, "the thicker needle," or surgery until after the drugs started to work. And I told him so. Three stitches, lots of shots, two IV's, a completely ghetto splint of plaster and gauze, the name of a hand surgeon, and a few prescriptions later, I left the ER.

I meet with an orthopedic surgeon Monday to see what happens next.

What I have learned is easier to do with two hands:
1. Typing.
2. Blow drying my hair.
3. Hooking/unhooking my bra—impossible! I'm not a 17-yr-old boy, and don't have that kind of practice...
4. Shaving under my good arm.
5. Drying off after showering.
6. Washing one hand.
7. Clipping the nails on my good hand.
8. Spreading peanut butter on toast.
9. Opening string cheese.
10. Unscrewing lids to almost anything, but water bottles are the worst so far.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Happiness is. . .

. . . when you tell a kid who hates school, comes late to class every day, and has no obvious ambition, that he has enough points to pass your class no matter what happens the rest of the term, and he continues to do work anyway, only now with a little smile of surprised pride on his face.
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