My Middle Finger

I used to have beautiful hands. My mother often teased me, saying I should be a brain surgeon, as long as my fingers were. I loved to paint my nails as my hands were lovely and it drew attention to them.

This morning I was at BINGO playing, and I noticed how crooked and ugly the middle finger on my left hand looked. It was both broken and dislocated when I grabbed the pit bull who attacked my little dog in March. He turned from her and jumped up and knocked me down. Somehow I landed on that finger. It’s now early August and that finger has healed, but looks bad.

I remember when the EMS guys came after the pit bull attack. I showed it to them and said it didn’t look right, did it? I was in shock. I almost drove myself to the hospital, but they convinced me to let them take me.

I wonder if the doctor who set it had been an orthopedic doctor, if it would have healed in a straighter line? The ER doctor hurt me worse with his shots to my finger (where it joins the hand) than the finger was hurting. My son said I was in shock and that’s why there was no pain from the broken finger and insisted when the doctor set the finger, that if he hadn’t given me those painful shots first, it would have hurt worse than the shots did.

But it was an ER doctor who set my finger that night. It had been x-rayed and the x-ray technician told me he wasn’t suppose to tell me, but a piece of bone had broken off in the finger and I might need surgery.

When I finally got to the orthopedic doctor the next week, he said I would have trouble with that finger the rest of my life. It was a severe injury. He said they preferred not to operate on hands and fingers, if they could help it. I ended up needing physical therapy to get the use of the finger again. That was also painful and I hated every visit. My middle son finally went with me – he drove me to the physical therapist because I kept calling them and rescheduling the first appointment. I didn’t want to go. That physical therapist would pull and push on that finger and it hurt a lot by the time I left his office. But I got the use of the finger back and I can type now. At one point I couldn’t even move it.

But as I sat there this morning, noticing my hands as I played BINGO, I saw my finger in a different light. This crooked looking mess is proof of how very much I love my old dog. She’s 16 years old this month. She was 15 when that pit bull attacked her. I did not hesitate to jump in and grab that pit bull, and I actually managed to pull him off her one time, but was not strong enough to hold him, and that’s when he turned on me and knocked me down, then he went back to attacking her.

My old dog needed $500 worth of care at the vet’s. I called my oldest son from the ER to ask him to come get her and take her to the vet. My neighbor offered to take her, but I saw that the dog made it in the house and appeared to be walking ok. Later at the hospital I decided she needed to go on and be checked out. They kept me forever in that ER, so I called my oldest. He said when he dropped her off, the vet told him to go on to the ER and he would call to tell me what my dog needed. Then I divided my time trying to decide if I could fix my finger myself and wondering how much the vet would charge me for whatever my dog needed.

This morning at BINGO I decided that I should wear this crooked finger as a badge of honor. It would still be lovely and straight, if I hadn’t jumped right into that pit bull attack and helped my dog. By the time the pit bull’s owner showed up and got him off my dog, there were three of us trying to get the pit bull off. The pit bull bit my youngest son and also broke a bone in his foot. He ran out to help when the younger dog, who was in the house and heard the commotion, tried to jump through the window. My son had his earphones on and hadn’t known anything was going on until the dog did that. The EMS took him to the hospital as well.

It was a rough day that day. It happened on my middle son’s birthday this year. He was the only one who wasn’t here. We told him when we called to wish him a Happy Birthday. He came a couple days later to help me pick up my little dog. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even buckle my seatbelt. My dog was ready to come home the next day, which was a Saturday, but I was not able to go get her. The vet said he’d just keep her and board her until Monday. My middle son came on Monday morning and we went and picked her up. She was glad, glad, glad to see us. I was glad to have her back and to have her still alive.

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