You givin’ me the Finger?

STOP Cutting Corners

STOP Cutting Corners!

Okay you’ve all noticed it … some of you have even been brave enough to say it. I have to watch how I wave to people because of it. The newly adjusted configuration of my hand looks like I’m constantly giving the finger, flippin’ the bird or givin’ the Trudeau salute.

I felt kind of odd posting this just before Thanksgiving, but as we were on our way for a Thanksgiving dinner we left the gas station and the car behind us honked at us. I realized it was to let us know that our gas cap wasn’t on the car. I waved at them just to recognize them and say “Thanks”, they returned my gesture with a very strange look on their faces as they leaned forward gazing back at me. I felt bad when I realized I inadvertently gave them the finger.

Backing up a little … After my surgery my hand was all wrapped up like a gift under the Christmas tree. Nervous anticipation filled the hospital room as a layer upon layer of wrapping was removed only to reveal another layer. As they got closer I really had no idea what to expect. I thought I remembered the Doctor saying they weren’t able to save my ring and pointer fingers, but my middle finger was there wasn’t it? It should be, it was still partially attached when I came to the hospital. I finally got to the point that I could see my hand and the grim reality of the injury gripped me and caused tears to well-up and overflow. I was going to look like this the rest of my life. If you want to take a peek go to my “Hand Injury” post. I couldn’t escape the fact that every time I met someone new and shook their hand they would think what the heck did you do to your hand? And that middle finger, yeah that’s going to stick out a little.

I remember seeing the first picture of my hand and starting to cry because that middle finger just looked so huge, out of place and crooked. It almost had the look of one of those foam sports hands you see at football games or if you grew up in the 80’s the hand from the “I’m with stupid” t-shirts. I used to admire my neighbour because he had one of those shirts and it just said “Stupid” and pointed at his head … I guess you can get away with that when your nickname is ‘Butch’. Well, now I felt I had a permanent “Stupid” sign and I would never be able to remove the t-shirt. My wife was very helpful in getting me past this blame and anger part and actually forgiving myself for causing the injury (more about that in a later post).

So back to the finger … It seemed like somehow they must have added an inch or two to the middle finger during the surgery. The facts are they completely reconstructed my knuckle and the bone is a little damaged so if I was able to straighten it right out it would actually be longer than the middle finger on my left hand. Of course the biggest reason it stands out is because its neighbouring fingers are shorter than they should be. At one time I honestly even wondered if they reattached the right finger … if I had the matching length on my thumb I’d be able to get right down to the bottom of the pickle jar.

For about 4 months after my injury I had to keep my hand upright so that the blood would flow properly through my hand. It was like I was constantly flippin’ the bird. One day Nathalie & I were playing a game of Carcassonne and I started to cry (yeah I was quite emotional through this whole ordeal) … she had no idea what was going on. When I recomposed myself I said you’ve been so nice to me and treated me like gold and here I am giving you the finger for the past half hour.

Time for a short related family story … it was on one of our camping trips about 8 years ago. My brother was filleting a Northern Pike and a fly was buzzing around and bothering him. My Mom was nearby and went to bat the fly down with her hand at the same time my brother took a swipe at the fly with his filleting knife. The result was a severe cut to Mom’s middle finger and a trip to the Fort Qu’Appelle hospital for stitches. As they were driving through town Mom had her window down with her hand elevated and her middle finger sticking out. A car came up beside them and the driver said “To you too Lady!” … she had no idea why the guy was so upset, but then figured out the driver felt she was giving him the finger.

I recall telling someone the injury hasn’t hindered me from doing many things except that I may never be a hand model. Well obviously I’m over the tenderness of “the finger” image and since my hand logo is part of my branding perhaps you could argue I am a hand model. I recently did an evaluation of what’s important to me and oddly enough very high on my list was being unique. My hand is certainly unique. In fact, my Occupational Therapist said that in over 20 years of practice he’s never seen another hand with the same configuration as mine. So if I see you on the street I’ll be cautious how I wave to you … or if I remember I’ll use my left hand just to keep it simple … stupid :p

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