If you happen to follow me on Instagram, or have been within earshot of me within the past few weeks or so, you know that I hurt my hand recently.
Here’s the short version of what happened. I’ll tell the whole story soon. It involves a kidney stone and has a surprise twist. But for now, here are the long-winded Cliff’s Notes.
This is what happened: I was using a brand new paring knife to slice myself a chunk of Gouda and the knife slipped. The problem was that I was holding the Gouda in the fashion that someone would hold something if they were demonstrating the wrong way to hold something while cutting.
At first we thought it was just a typical laceration. I got five stitches and acted like a total baby for a few days. Then I unwrapped it and realized I couldn’t move my thumb and it was numb in several places.
I saw a hand specialist, who told me I needed surgery if I ever wanted to give a thumbs up again.
I’m going to be honest, I thought long and hard about that. How much does a person REALLY use their thumb? It’s not like it was my texting thumb.
We’re in the recuperation period now, which is a really inconvenient phase where I can’t really use my left hand at all but everything else is totally normal. Tom goes to work, the kids have preschool and the laundry has to get done, and I’m over here opening a bag of pretzels with my mouth.
I can’t use my hand for lifting or, to be honest, anything of substance, because it hurts but mostly because I could easily re-injure it; tear the repair.
Having one injured hand makes a lot of things difficult, like blogging. Also tying shoes, opening water bottles, putting my own hair into a pony tail. I can’t steady a pot with one hand and stir with the other. For a while I couldn’t sweep my floor because I couldn’t hold the dustpan with one hand and sweep with the other, so all day I just swept crumbs under a cabinet until Tom came home.
The hardest, most impossible part of this is doing absolutely anything with a toddler.
Today Thomas was trying to get into the attic, and I had my hand on the door to keep it closed. I couldn’t take my hand off the door to lock it, or to grab Thomas, because as soon as I did he’d bolt inside, so I just had to wait him out. I think we stood there for six hours. Thomas finally gave up, which is impressive because he was the one wearing a diaper.
Speaking of diapers, I can’t change diapers. The tabs are impossible, so we switched to pull-ups. But I still need 100 percent cooperation from Thomas. He’d have to lay down holding his own legs in the air while I wipe him. Or stand perfectly, patiently still without, say, running poopy-bottomed to the couch shrieking with laughter while I scream at him to stop.
In seriousness, I have a new respect for caregivers who daily do their job with creativity and an extra measure of patience because of injury, chronic disease, disability, etc. This is temporary for me, and I have a ton of help.
This whole process, which should last around 12 weeks, has been frustrating and exhausting for me, not to mention for Tom who’s been taking up my slack, and for my mom who is generously staying with us to help get through the rough patches. In addition to washing dishes and helping with laundry, I can’t overstate the amount of complaining they’ve had to endure.
Particularly when I do my three-times-a-day PT exercises and I make everyone stop what they’re doing, gather round, and watch me gather up the courage move my thumb a quarter of an inch five times. They’re excused after a proper standing ovation.
10 days post-surgery. My surgeon said it looked great. My mom said it looked like it’d been run over by a train.
My new stream-lined brace. When my OT told me she opted to give me extra protection because I have little kids, I almost burst into tears of gratitude.