Thursday, January 31, 2008

Back to being a simple wino, thank god

Having weaned myself off the Vicodin yesterday so I could safely drive to work this morning, I am happily able to once again indulge in a little red wine in the evening. It's very satisfying indeed.

Yesterday I mentioned to one of my clients my lack of love for the Vicodin, and she replied "oh, I must confess I don't mind the occasional slight buzz!"

Neither do I, said I. I just prefer to get it from a nice glass of red.

Morphine derivatives have been known to make members of my immediate gene pool talk to the walls, fixate anxiously on their next dose, and invite the surgeon up to their hospital room for a nice buffet lunch. My family and the morphine family, we just don't mix. We're like the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Oddly enough, I adopted a dog with the same problem. I'm pretty certain we don't share any recent ancestors, and without complex language she can't really communicate her experience; but Nelly very clearly has some sort of psychotropic response to morphine compounds. It's the canine equivalent of talking to the walls - and the vet long ago marked her file with a big red sticker: Avoid morphine if possible.

Sometimes you need the big guns, and when Nelly was hit by a car and she was bleeding into her belly with a hole in her lungs and a gash on her head - they gave her the good stuff. Better to chat with your imaginary friends in a case like that if it means relief from pain. And so, I took the Vicodin briefly this week. But skittered away from it as quick as possible.

My titanium-reinforced digit, and other random updates

It took 30 hours for the localized numbing to wear off. 30 hours! Those are some impressive chemicals. As the numbing receded, there was pain. But not too bad, and there were painkillers.

The biggest annoyance is the feeling of being jabbed with a thumb tack right where the pins come out to my skin. I think it's just the bandages pressing against the tops of the pins, and I dearly hope that the sensation will go away when the bandages are removed tomorrow. Because - bleh.

In other news...

I do not have enough metal in my finger to set off the metal detectors at the airport. Apparently I asked the surgeon about this twice, while doped up on the happy chemicals. He didn't seem to mind the repetition. He seemed like a patient guy, for a surgeon.

I mastered the difficult and fatiguing task of showering one-handed, with a plastic bag taped on my bum hand. Again - I will be very happy to see these bandages go tomorrow.

I have procrastinated until the very last day on a variety of tax-related matters. I'm off to work outside the home for the first time today since the surgery, but when I get home tonight - the tax man must have his due.

Our Netflix queue just happened to spit out a disk of The Office and one of Arrested Development - two shows which, while very funny, include a lot of dislikable characters and eople making asses of themselves in ways that make me yell at the TV. "Nooooo, Michhael, stop talking now, why do you never learn??" I'll have to remember to mix up the queue portfolio a bit more in future.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Truly one-handed typing. While stoned.

I'd been thinking of this pins-in-the-finger surgery as a simple outpatient thing - which it was, and it wasn't.

The surgery itself was easier than I expected because my hand was 100% numb and I didn’t see anything. Plus he saved my wedding ring! I came home with some lovely x-ray art showing my two neat little pins:

But the initial recovery is harder than I expected. I figured the pain would be like after the original fracture, ‘cause they basically just refractured it, right? (Literally, my x-ray art shows that the crack has grown bigger). But the pain is worse - exacerbated by the area where they put the tourniquet, just above my wrist, which feels like it's been pounded upon with a meat tenderizer.

They numbed my hand in two ways: by putting on the tourniquet and injecting numbing drugs by IV, and also with some shots directly to the finger. These shots last an incredibly long time - I had total numbness, I mean total, for 12 hours. It's been 18 hours and I still don't have all the feeling back. And yet I feel pain, which is impressive and a little intimidating. So I am taking the Vicodin, oh yes I am.

My hand is also much more immobilized by bandaging than I expected. And of course whenever you put all those chemicals in your system, it feels like CRAP.

So I had been rather fixated on the procedure itself, which turned out to be relatively quick and painless, but was kinda in denial about the fact that it’s an assault on the body to drive metal into bone, no matter how small.

So, today I recover.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

On pins and...pins

So, turns out I need to have little pins inserted in my finger to prevent it from healing in a bizarre scimitar-like shape. And I will probably have to sacrifice my wedding ring, unless they can force it off my bloated finger after they put my arm to sleep but before they insert the metal pins. Looking at the enormous purple sausage jutting out from my hand, that prospect seems so cringingly, painfully impossible that I almost prefer that that they skip the wrangling and go straight to the metal cutters - which is not to say I'm indifferent to my wedding ring. I really am quite fond of it.

Turns out the good surgeons like to add some anti-anxiety drugs to the IV mix, because people tend to get anxious when they are fully conscious and watching as their wedding ring is cut to bits and metal pins are drilled into their bones. Go figure.

I'm also advised that I will most definitely want to make use of that Vicotin prescription after this is done, because forcing your broken bone into position and then nailing it together with metal leaves a bit of an achy feeling behind. Little bit.

I'm flying to LA a couple of weeks after, so I guess I'll have to get one of those special letters for airport securing certifying that I really do have metal inside my body. So please don't strip-search me.

But hey - it's all ok. In most times and places on earth, someone in my situation would just splint the finger as best as possible, and would end up with a slightly deformed hand, and would adapt. It's a reflection of the luxury of my existence that I can go to a clinic that specializes exclusively in hands, and they can arrange it so my finger will (probably) heal good as new, and I have insurance that will mostly pay for it. Plus, we can afford to buy me a new wedding ring. It'll be romantic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The little-read blog of 9-Fingered Flora

I know, I have been completely AWOL from the blogger scene. I'm sure the blogger scene has suffered greatly for it, too. I have been described by my parents as "the one that does not blog."

I haven't had much in the way of inspiration, what can I say? But here's something new and different that happened this week: My dog broke my finger.

Yes, that's right. It's a variant on the "dog ate my homework" excuse for being lame, a variant which can only be rolled out selectively, but hey, it comes with props! In the form of a shiny metal contraption, on your hand!

It was not her fault (yes, it was Nelly). It was an accident (no, she did not bite me - sheesh, several people have asked me that - Nelly has a lot of flaws but biting people has never been one of them). I was walking the beasts and we rounded a corner and encountered a dog up close suddenly, and Nelly was startled, and lunged (lunging at other dogs HAS always been one of her flaws). The leash must've been wrapped around my hand funny, and SNAP - I actually felt my ring finger break.

Of course it's a pain in the ass (I say, typing one-handed-ish), but in fact I am an old hand (no pun intended) at cracked extremities. Fingers, least this time it's my left hand. If only I'd thought to remove my wedding ring as coolly as I iced, splinted and called the doctor. With just a scosh more swelling, they'll have to cut my ring off.

Tomorrow I go to a specialist, who will tell me what kind of contraption I have to wear and for how long, on the blackened and twisted appendage that looks (and I quote) "like a hideous thing that crawled into a hole and died." Did you know that the three segments of your finger could actually take on a zig-zag shape? It's true!

Meanwhile I have lots and lots of work to do! So many people want our consulting services, and on the community organizing side of my work, regular citizens are turning out in droves, clamoring to change the world. It's busy but quite satisfying. I've been surfing the creative force of the universe, and one stinkin' broken finger isn't going to kill my buzz.

(And no, that is not a Vicotin buzz speaking. I have 'em, but I haven't taken a single one yet. Because I'm an extremity-breakin' bad-ass, that's why)