Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Pain of Learning New Words


Recently, I was the victim of a felon. On my right pinkie. Not the place you would generally look for a bad guy. For this Miz Word person, who delights in learning new words, to have gained a new definition of the word felon, well, I could have passed it up.  

Two weeks ago, I cut a stubborn cuticle a little too close and a couple of hours later noticed that there was an infection around the nail. The next afternoon, after teaching a SMART Board class all day and becoming very aware that something was just not right under the band-aid, I left class a little early and drove to my doctor’s office. With a great deal of concern (and interest) he inspected the back of my finger and said, “That looks like a felon.” Then he called in two other doctors to take a look and they nodded their heads, Yep, it’s a felon. He quickly arranged transportation for me to see an orthopedic surgeon, saying he couldn’t let me drive (by then I was really hurting and was a little dizzy and nauseated) and it would take too long for my son to drive to town. Wow. The surgeon gave me pain pills and scheduled emergency surgery early the next morning. At that point the pad of my finger was tight and smooth and really looked weird, and the inflection around the nail even worse. Not for the squeamish. (That’s me.)

The speed of the infection was the flag that this was a possible big problem. Fortunately, we got to the infection before the bone was damaged. I give thanks to God for my doctor, who acted so quickly, to my teaching partner, for covering the end of the class for me, and to my son, who hauled me to the operation and the not-yet-completed therapy.

And that’s why I now have nine nails and a big bandage. And why a very patient physical therapist changes the dressing every other day and tries to coerce me to bend my finger--without hollering or fainting. But I have occasionally done both. Actually. And why I have had two drug reactions, one from the antibiotic and one from the pain meds. Can you say wimp?

And the lesson is:  Clean your cuticle cutters with rubbing alcohol every time you use them. The surgeon said he sees this problem frequently after women visit nail salons. He was nice enough not to lecture me. Also, another lesson:  Learn new words, but try not to apply them to your own personal body.

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