The Ring Finger

The Ring Finger

It all began with a dehumidifier in an odd place and a glass jar of homemade granola, still warm,being carried from one corner of the kitchen to the other.

Now I have a crooked finger, and if I do not stretch and massage and pull and aggravate that darn ring finger a few times a day, it will slowly crunch up into a useless and pathetic claw shape.

Sitting in the emergency for five hours with what appeared to be a small cut I wrote a poem.

Here is a section:

“You Idiot, I rail at myself, homemade granola suddenly splattered across the kitchen floor with blood and shards of glass.”

It is not terribly good but as I pointed out to the doctor that I eventually saw, the good side of this experience was getting five hours of ‘me time’.

When he saw that the finger could not bend he said: “I don’t like that”, and I responded cheerfully, “I don’t like that either”, still somewhat stunned by the turn of events.

I had to have an operation on that darn finger to reconnect the tendon and wear a full splint cast from wrist to tips of the fingers for endless weeks of discomfort in which I was told “not to use my hand at all!”  by the stern but beautiful female surgeon, in case I ripped open the stiches on the tendon.

Apparently the stiches are a ‘mush’ and it is the scar tissue that holds it all together. This is all information I never, ever, wanted to know.

I hated the cast; I hated having to ask for help with almost everything. The silver lining in the case of the cast is now my 13 year old son is great at dishes and laundry. On the not so silvery lining I also gained about 15 pounds from the increased consumption of alcohol to maintain my cheerful attitude.

I have a beloved older sister who sometimes sees the world through a ‘new age’ lens, and so we will half seriously examine our actions and accidents as if they had a meaning that our unconscious was trying to tell us. Did I cut my finger tendon because I did not really want to learn the violin anymore? The violin lessons, like the ill-advised 8 minute ab exercises I did last winter that bust my gut, are my recent absolute ‘Fails’ in self-improvement.

“Which finger did you wreck?” she queried on FB and I responded “The ring finger and don’t say anything!” But of course now I can’t help but see the symbolism, a marriage needs work, and so does my finger.

If I pay no attention to my ring finger and just assume it will do its thing, as I have always done before this particular accident, it atrophies. So alright, Joe and I need another date night, and god knows we need a holiday together (ha! Like that is going to happen!)

If you want ‘me time’ in your late forties I have some advice, don’t have a kid when you are almost 30 and then one every five years after until you are forty! And, don’t be a slacker from the seventies who never had a career other than waitressing and freelance writing. Note to young people, in my day we were ‘waitresses’ and not ‘servers’.

Joe says my finger looks great and you can’t even notice the difference. He has also been known to say that I look great and not at all old and chubby.

So ‘All is right with the world” as my Dad would say, and I will be off to massage my finger as I look at the fog rising over the bay and keep an eye on the eagle that keeps an eye on me.

5 thoughts on “The Ring Finger

  1. Sorry about your finger. 😦 but I love how you tied it in to marriage. I’m right there with you with kids. Never thought I’d be 48 and have a 10 year old. I train for marathons to get my “me” time. It’s agony sometimes but preferable to cutting my finger like that.


    • Yeah, ‘me-time’ is a bit of a joke at our time of life! I admire your running and I imagine it is good for the brain and body. I bought a reasonably good pair of running shoes in the spring but have not started my planned ‘running’. My exercise and actual fun ‘me-time’ is my belly dancing!


  2. Hello, thanks for writing about your story, especially with pics! I cut my index and middle finger on hedge trimmers last month. The index finger was just hanging there, and doctors are still not sure if I’ll be able to keep the tip. The therapist debrided the dead skin and the skin underneath was a pink/purple color, just like yours in the pic. Thanks for sharing. I feel like I need support therapy for this!


  3. Dear Leilani,
    It has been 7 year since I wrote this post and I reading back in time has been a trip this morning – Thanks so much for writing!

    In fact, your post has made me think that I need to update the blog with a new post and tell the tale of this dam finger again. Long story short, I went on a family trip to help look after an ailing elderly loved one while wearing the cast and left the cast on too long and then the physio did not really take and now I do in fact have a claw finger. If the ring finger does represent how well I look after myself the truth is I am pretty bad at ‘self care’. I am presently in recovery from more ill health due to non self care but I am getting better through daily yoga and a really strict diet!

    Also, my 13 year old son is now 20 and I can’t say that the laundry/cooking thing at home really caught on. But my husband still thinks I look fantastic no matter what and we are still happy even though my ring finger is permanently crooked!

    Special note to you: take the time to do whatever the surgeon says and get the best physio and do all your exercises! Good luck!


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