Slowing down.

The picture at the bottom of this post is an x-ray of my left small (pinky) finger. In the middle of December I unknowingly fractured it. At the onset, I thought it was merely bruised. I finally decided to have it looked at and x-rayed. It turned out that I fractured it in three different places and required surgery. Last week, I had two pins drilled into the first bone and joint of the finger to better align the bones and joint as they heal.

Life has moved at a slower pace as a result. The surgical dressing after the operation limited the clothing I could wear because of how think the dressing was around my wrist. Picking up things, cooking, working at a computer, driving and even sleeping have proven to be more challenging with one functioning hand. In a Chicago winter, it can be pretty frustrating. Extra layers of clothing are required and I need to constantly clear snow out from my vehicle and walkways. While I am right-hand dominant, I use my left hand more frequently for lifting, throwing, grabbing, eating, even brushing my teeth. The dominance isn’t distributed perfectly. The pain isn’t too bad, not enough to merit painkillers. It’s been a trial and experience.

The splint I now wear does help in practicing awareness and mindfulness, though. Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog has a guest-post from about a year ago on Craig Ballantyne’s 12 rules to live by. His seventh rule features two mantras: 1) “Nothing matters”, and 2) “It will all be over soon”.

While those may well be the mantra of a very depressed person, it can also help the majority of us in learning to see ourselves through both challenging times and rewarding ones. Spilling coffee on the kitchen table because of my splint isn’t the end of the world. I just laugh it off and clean up. My splint will be off in four weeks, I will have better control and dexterity then. I remember that life is finite as well, and to make the most of the time I do have, be it by learning, writing, spending quality time with my inner circle, or taking care of myself. ┬áIt’s not worth wasting time complaining or feeling sour about the splint or other restrictions.

My drum corps motto applies here too: 3) “Figure it out”. I tore up some thermal shirts from Goodwill so I’d have a warm layer that could fit over my cast. I’m wearing non-lace up shoes as much as possible to save time and frustration. And I’m not feeling bad about asking others for help. I am appreciating the fact that I have people who are willing to aid me and I look forward to the chance to pay their good forward. Until then, I’ll be drinking lots of milk.

2014-01-03

X-ray showing the pins drilled into my finger.