Well, let’s see. A while back I told you about my epic thumb accident, which led to surgery. That happened on July 18. Questions must now be answered. What’s happened since then? Did the operation go well? What’s it like living with a cast? And who signed it? Are you going to live long and prosper, meremention?
I woke up from surgery with an enormous white cast. Somebody told me that everything went fine. My memory is hazy, but I know Ivone was there to get me home, and later, to her house in Watertown. I enjoyed a nice week there, basically eating, sleeping, lounging, and taking short walks.
The cast covered my entire thumb, so I needed my girlfriend’s help to do just about everything. I felt very humble asking her to tie my shoes, yet again, or tape a plastic bag over my arm, day after day, so I could shower. We really do need our thumbs.
Once I arrived home again, my routine changed slightly. The nice lady at Concord Orthopedic took off the cast and replaced it with a green one. It was fascinating to watch as she dipped strips of green material into water, and fashioned it around my hand and arm. At the end the strips had hardened into something like plastic – you could knock on it.
Now I had the use of my fingers, with the tip of my thumb peeping out. Still couldn’t tie my shoes, so I pretty much lived in my slip-on, ratty old moccasins. I could drive, sort of, and do most things. I used a special clear bag for showering – it created a waterproof seal every time I slipped it on. It cost $28 but was well worth it.
I became an expert in answering the inevitable “What happened to YOU?” question everywhere I went. Some people got the long version, others, the Readers’ Digest version. Still others got the extra short Readers’ Digest Condensed version.
At a recent family reunion, most of the group were stationed in the dining room so I thought I should pull out all the stops. I would deliver a perfect recitation of my woes; all the facts but not too many. I hit all the highlights and didn’t bore anyone. When finished, well satisfied, I left the room and bumped into my cousin Laurel. She did a double take, then said…”What happened to YOU?”
She got Readers’ Digest Condensed.
Some people wanted to sign my cast, and that was nice. But it’s not like the old days of smooth, white plaster. This new age material that dries hard has a very rough, burlap-y texture. You really need a Sharpie to do it right. Luckily one was handy, and Ivone was the first to sign – two lovely messages that were balm to my soul. My son Kevin was next. Then a kid who I didn’t know but seemed eager to sign. Hey, why not?
I’ve been told it’s not really common to put messages on casts these days, but it really helped as I read them repeatedly over the following weeks.
August 15, 2017. The cast was finally coming off. Another nice lady (I guess her title would be Ortho Tech) zipped it off in minutes. And there were my long lost thumb and hand – not looking too bad but with lots of dead, peeling skin. It took a day or so to remove it all.
I still had pain, but nothing like the pain from right after the accident. I graduated to a soft brace that keeps my thumb immobile. I went back to work and can type, although I switched the mouse to the left hand – it really helps. And I started occupational therapy, with a pleasant and knowledgable person named Alyson. One week later, two sessions and lots of homework, and I’m really feeling a difference.
So things are looking better. I’m back to tying shoes, lifting heavy objects, turning keys in locks. I think I’m going to live long, and hopefully prosper, with the full use of my hand. We’ll see.