Who knew opening a packet of bagels could result in a traumatic experience?
As with most sharp objects, I treat knives with a extremely heightened sense of cautiousness because the thought of being on the receiving end of a sharpened metallic bit, quite perfectly shaped to cause bodily harm, does not appeal to me one bit. Or to anyone, I should hope! Unfortunately, that judicious handling was not enough. Two days ago, exactly a month to my birthday, I ran a sharp knife right through the radial intrinsic tendon (I later found out) of my left index finger. Now, as I type with nine fingers, my forefinger stiffly moving with the rest of my hand and not really contributing to much else, I wonder what induced me to attempt to take a knife at a piece of tape holding close the bagels.
It happened in a split second – the knife in my right hand jammed right into the left, just above the joint, and the blood began to flow. I rushed to the restroom only thinking, “I can’t swim with a cut this big!” because I’d seen some white bits showing through the crimson red flow. I nearly lost consciousness, hyper-ventilating, as two of my colleagues washed up and bandaged my finger up. Half in shock and half delirious, it is a wonder that I managed to walk to the emergency center to be told that I had all but severed the tendon and needed to see a surgeon. A few hours and a lot of blood later, the hand surgeon very patiently explained the situation, showed me what I had done, gave me a rather thorough tour of my gaping wound – to the bone, muscle and tendon! – and told me, while patting me on the back, that I would require surgery to reattach the tendon else I would have to live with a deficit in motion for ever even if my body successfully adapted to a lazy finger.
Now I sit here with a bandaged hand sporting four stitches and some derma-super-glue, unable to relieve my woes in the pool, pleased that I didn’t cause any damage to my nerves, skeptical and beginning to freak out about the surgery I am scheduled to have in a few days. The worst of it all is that helpless feeling when trying to get my finger to respond to me. I know my brain is telling it to move, but I don’t see it change position. It is extremely frightful when your own body refuses to listen to you.
I go in to a weekend of a birthday picnic, TILT and a steakhouse dinner for another’s, breakfast with one more, all the while dreading the dawn of Monday when I will have a regional block – a nerve numbing of the entire arm – and be sedated for most of the day. The recovery should, I was promised, be easy, but the internet (blast the amount of information we are privy to!) confidently tells me that I ought to be in therapy for 4 weeks and should get back to full motion within 10.
I woe the lack of physical exercise in this period having proved that keeping fit helped me get through the blood loss and shock with more ease than most. I can’t swim for a while now and must make do with running or some other activity which does not require the use of my hand.
From my sluggish and lost forefinger to you, until after the surgery at least, beware of knives!