On 7/07/07 at 7:00 a.m. I broke my finger walking the dog. Don't laugh. It wasn't funny. I laughed though; I couldn't do anything else BUT laugh.After few more weeks later, after physical therapy, I was healed. Actually that is a lie. I like to say I was healed, but it pretty much did nothing because no matter how hard you try, you can't move a misplaced bone without breaking it again.
It has been two and a half months since then. I spent the first seven weeks in a splint. It was not fun, but it was necessary. I realized that during that time I could not properly:
Tie my own shoes
Brush my own hair
Make the bed
Give my kids a bath
Drive without hurting myself
Eat with a fork
Play the piano
And the list goes on… and some of it is quite personal.
When it was ok for me to remove the splint, I was overjoyed to be (somewhat) normal again. I had very limited mobility and strength at first, of course, but it appeared as if the bone didn't heal quite right. Whenever I bent my fingers into a fist, my fourth digit took off to the right. It made a right turn. Great, at least I have my own traffic signal!
So I promised a funny story from the first day our new dog, Chase, and I got to spend together. Trust me, it's funny, just like having a hernia is hilarious. Also, hernia's take a long time to get over, and so does this blog post.
My day started out like usual. The only difference, was when I walked out of my bedroom, I was greeted by a happy, furry face on the other side of the sliding glass door. How fun! Since it was a Saturday, I quickly
Flashbacks of that July morning began to flood my brain: the campout, the sick dog who had too much people food, the miserable "walks" outside every two hours all night long for his urgent bathroom breaks, the early morning raccoon, the tugging on the leash to separate the two dueling beasts, the huge yank as the dog lunged at the 'coon, and then the image of my right ring finger at a 90 degree angle. Sorry to gross you out there for a minute. Back to Saturday morning cartoons.
I got Chase hooked up to the leash and made special precautions to hold the leash just the way my sister-in-law had instructed me to do AFTER I broke my finger last summer. (She had pit bulls, I trust her judgement on leash holding). Then, we proceeded to make the rounds. First, we stopped to visit the rabbits in their cages. NO! Those are not rabbit foot treats!! I had to call him off, although he was still obviously interested in licking them.
We stopped and visited Jessie, and the two of them gave hugs and kisses. Or, whatever dogs do that resembles affection (gag). Then it was off to do the real test. How would he act around my chickens? His whole body wiggled from dog-citement. I was anxious. He is VERY strong. His neck muscles are bigger than all the muscles in my body combined. I kept telling him NO, those are MY chickens. Be nice! Every time he tried to rush the fence I would keep a firm hold and just repeat myself. No! He backed down every time, so I was pleased. He listens better than your average 5 year old. Ideally, I preferred that he would have just ignored them (like my 5 year old does to me), but my chickens have been dog-ditioned (another recently made-up word that resembles "conditioned") to respond to dogs by making the biggest, loudest noise possible and moving away quickly. Very quickly. Any dog, even a blind, deaf one would freak out at that instinct provoking action.
Maybe the chickens need to be calm for him to not make a big deal out of them? I thought I was super brilliant to get the big feed scoop, and fill it full of corn. Ta da! This will do the trick. The chickens are chick-ditioned (haha!) to respond to me with a bucket of corn. They come running from all four corners of the universe and become my instant best friends. All over again. Every day.
Unfortunately, today was different. They saw me with "the enemy" and they stayed far away. Chickens, no matter what people say, are smart.
I tossed corn, and a few chickens (the few mentally impaired ones) came out from hiding and would peck at the corn if we moved far enough away. Hmmm... this was going to take a lot of work. Not only did I have to train a dog, but apparently I had to train 50 chickens as well. *sigh* Forget it, this wasn't going to happen in one morning.
I was tiring of the constant pulling on my permanently sore right shoulder, so I decided on a little visit to the goats, and then we were done. We headed out towards the back field, and since our goats are also smart, they come running... sprinting... whenever they hear the feed bucket. This is where my moment of brilliance became an obvious lack of judgement.
I was mid "HEEL!" and placing my left hand over the top of the leash to bring Chase in closer to me when the goat-ditioned goats began their mad dash for the fenceline. He bolted. Quick and to the left. Or maybe it was the right. It was somewhat forward at the same time. Ok, so I don't recall exactly, but it was lightning fast and then it was over. He realized he wasn't in any danger, but it spooked him at first. Chase, chill out man! It's just a goat. Drat, he broke off my fingernail! Wow, my other finger hurts too. (squeeze, smush, feel, poke - I think it's ok) Oh GREAT... if I even THINK about going inside and telling my husband that my finger hurts he is going to give me that look... and then he'll laugh and say something smart like, "Didn't you learn anything the first time?"
I tried not to make a big deal out of it. It wasn't the dog's fault. He looked guilty, but probably because I gave out such a loud yelp and he thought he was in trouble for being afraid of our freakish flying goats.
Back to the house we went. Dog found his rug. Treat got passed out. Door got closed. Hands got washed. Then I went to the bedroom where I had left my husband in bed previously. (He's tired ok?) He was still there, only now he was on MY pillow. He's so predictable. I chit chatted a bit since he wasn't sleeping, just sniffing my pillow. I didn't have the nerve to tell him what had just happened. Ugh! I had an icky feeling in my tummy.
It took me a little bit to realize the icky tummy feeling was partially coming from the icky finger feeling. It really hurt. Not only that, but when I tried to bend it, the "hurt" turned to excruciating. Great. It was swelling quickly.
I spent the next five minutes looking for the phone number for urgent care. I knew what I had to do, just wasn't sure how I was going to break the news. I was so embarassed. I was also embarassed that apperently I had forgotten how to use a phone book. Either that, or the largest clinic in the area now had an unlisted number.
My brilliant-flash machine kicked in and I vaguely recalled having put the number in my speed dial on my cell phone. Now that says something right there doesn't it? Why I have URGENT CARE on my SPEED DIAL?? By then, Mr Nice Guy realized something was going on, and he asked. Oh no... he asked! Well, I'm a pathetic liar, so I told the truth. I said... "I sorta hurt myself." I had to count to three before I could look him in the face, because I really needed to avoid the dramatic eye-rolling that I knew was taking place. It's always and adventure at our house because you never know which doctors office you'll be visiting on any given day.
I spilled the WHOLE truth, and then after reminding me that he knew I'd do anything to get out of wood cutting day, he decided to be concerned. Especially since I went to the trouble of an ice pack. Now, usually my husband goes along for the ride when I hurt myself. I think he believes the doctors need a witness. In case there's ever an investigation or something? In this case, we were due to have a log splitter delivered to our home any minute and someone had to watch the boys (no girl sized babysitters home that weekend) so he sent me with a most hilarious replacement. She showed up within the hour and took me to the Urgent Care clinic.
Now if you've ever met my really good friend Pam, you know that the reason we hang out together is to see who can go through the most pairs of underpants in one day. It's THAT funny. But really, you just have to be there. The urgent care office was REALLY packed when we arrived, and they'd only been open for 10 minutes. My - this could take awhile. So, instead of sitting with all the grouchy sick people, we opted to move nearby to the pediatric waiting room and play with toys. The magnetic jungle was a blast. Or so everyone else thought when they heard Pam playing with it. Wheeeeee!!! HAHAHAH!! THAT'S FUN!! Yeah, she's like that. And, I was embarassed. Not sure why, but maybe it's because people couldn't see her from where we were sitting, just me, and it sounded as if I had brought my ADHD child in because of an emergency hyperactivity issue.
It surprised me how quickly I got shown to an exam room. Maybe the front desk people pushed my chart to the top to get rid of the noise faster? The nice EMT guy jotted some notes, took my blood pressure (do they ever give it back?) and promised that the doctor would be in to see me right away.
I am a hopeful person. I'm also trusting (except of dogs?). When I hear right away, I think they mean right away. As in quickly. As in before a half hour has passed. Before lunch time.
So I fidgeted. I wiggled. I wished I had brought a book. I noticed how my finger was now warming up the ice pack. I looked over the chart on bones. I learned something about asthma. I inspected a small diagram of the male reproductive system. What the heck? I never knew the prostate was that close to the... ok well then, I tried to relax and just wait. I crossed my legs at the ankles in front of me and that's when I noticed it.
Oh. My. Gosh. I was sitting in an urgent care clinic with a huge, fresh lump of chicken poop squeezing out from the side of my shoe! I couldn't even breathe for a minute. Not from the smell, because there really wasn't any, but just from embarassment! How many people noticed the poo on my shoe? Where did I track it? Did I leave footprints everywhere I'd been? Pam's CAR?? If I still had this much left on my shoe, it must be everywhere. Oh no. I died for a minute.
I realized that chances were pretty high the doctor would notice. He'd have to sit right next to me (did the EMT guy notice? Is that why he was so "happy"? Was he trying to keep from laughing?) I had to do something. Now. Oh sheesh, I actually hoped the doctor was NOT in a hurry at this point.
I grabbed about four tissues from the box, and tried my best but it wasn't working as I'd hoped. Someone brilliant (me!) thought that really rugged soles on her Nike's would be good for all the hiking she does (which is none). That stuff was stuck in nooks and crannies, and short of whipping out a scalpel and scraping it out, I was doomed to sit with poo on my shoe for quite some time it appeared.
I quickly threw the poopy tissues in the garbage and limped back to my seat as quickly as I could before I got caught. I purposely chose the biohazard can. I prayed that nobody checked it and wondered if I'd had an accident while I was waiting. It was the only piece of trash in there. There would be no other explanation. They would write it on my chart for next time I was just SURE. Oh the dread!
I heard the doctor in the hallway. The blood was rushing to my head. He knocked and then entered the room next door. Whew! What a relief! I took a big breath. It's then that I noticed the smell. Oh! The SMELL! I had evidently removed the protective coating in my efforts to bury the evidence, because it did not smell like this before!
Thinking quickly, I dove into my purse and pulled out the strongest smelling mint gum ever known to man. I shoved it in my mouth and chewed with a vengeance. I didn't keep my mouth closed either. I was now the self appointed human room deoderizer. Chew, chew, blowwwww. Chew, chew, blowwww. I thought it was getting better. All I could smell was mint. Fantastic! I am so McGyverish I could just hug myself.
My jaw hurt by the time the doctor came in. I shuffled my feet under my chair. He examined me, smiled a lot, and sympathized with me as a fellow keyboard player. He said it really didn't matter whether I broke it or just tore ligaments, because I wasn't going to be using my finger for three weeks. GREAT NEWS DOC, now you can leave before you breathe too deeply. (Is that mint scented chicken poop I smell?) On to the x-ray! I hurried off with my notes for the x-ray technician.
Like the guy before, the x-ray tech took an unusually long period of time to get his work done. Three quick pictures - why take your time? He stood right next to me, I chewed my gum faster. He said I looked really familiar. He was curious why. I didn't know - but I did know that my jaws were starting to feel numb, and the mint was burning my tastebuds off. He went in the other room, took the x-rays, and then came back to discuss why I seemed familiar to him. Maybe it's because I have this place on my speed dial? I offered.
I finally left and hustled back towards the exam rooms as fast as I could go with my weird side-of-the-shoe limp. I thought it would be nice to let Pam know what was taking so long, so on my way past the waiting room I waved at her. She wasn't looking. So I called out. She didn't hear me. She was doing this weird head-bob thing and reading a magazine and... singing? Hellooo? I waved again and called out her name. She was the only one in the room, and all the sick grouchy folks in the adjoining room were looking at me like I was a monkey doing a math problem. I didn't dare take my chicken pooped foot any closer than necessary, so I hollered her name, and she looked up and pulled a headphone from her right ear. *sigh* I could feel the stares as I yelled at an invisible person. OH HI! She shouted, yelling over the noise in her one ear. I gave her an update and then was shuffled off to the exam room to wait again. "He'll be right here," I was told. Yeah right.
About this time, I really felt a need to spit out my gum. My mouth was now raw and I didn't care anymore about the smell. Maybe the after-smell of my gum would help until I could leave this place. Wait, what was that yellow spot on the floor? Did I do that? I nudged at it with my clean shoe. It didn't budge.
I was just limping back to my seat from spitting out my gum when the doctor walked in. He didn't waste any time telling me that I didn't have a break (good news!) but that I still needed to treat it pretty much the same way for three weeks anyway. He also curiously asked if anything else had been hurt that morning. "No," I honestly answered, except for my pride and my Nike's.
He wrote me a prescription for pain meds, and sent me on my way with 2 matching splints. How thoughtful, I thought, he must know that I have a history of dropping my splint in the toilet, and will need time for one to dry out from the disinfectant while I wear the other one.
(As if I needed to admit anything ELSE embarassing today)