M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, May 01, 2002  

A reader who is also a friend e-mailed me regarding yesterday's entry. Apparently my mention of Trash's finger injury raised more questions than it answered. Since it answered no questions, that wasn't hard. Fortunately, since Trash is being a good sport about my using her as fodder for my ramblings, I'll try to rectify the situation now.

About a month ago we were redecorating the bathroom (even I'm getting bored with this home-improvement theme) and Trash was busily trying to remove a rusty nail from an old piece of wooden trim that I thought we should keep. However, instead of dropping obediently onto the floor, the nail slashed open her right index finger, right on the back of the knuckle. Stupid nail.

Since Trash’s tetanus vaccinations are up to date, we figured all she had to do was patch it up and wait for it to heal. We’re still waiting.

That’s not entirely true, actually. Last week she checked with our nurse-practitioner, who said it sounded like Trash had a nicked tendon and probably an infection. She prescribed Keflex and lots of movement in the infected finger.

After about a weekend of that course of treatment, her hand felt as if she’d been crucified. Off to Urgent Care we went, where her finger was X-rayed and put in a splint. The physician’s assistant who saw her said that yes, the tendon was damaged, but there was no sign of infection. And in order to let the tendon heal, the finger would have to be immobilized. Hence the splint that put her hand in the configuration of a permanent point. Please note that this is the opposite of what the nurse practioner had previously said. Finally, the PA made her an appointment with a hand surgeon for the next day (yesterday). Just for a consultation and the opinion of a specialist.

The hand surgeon had, by all appearances, scheduled himself to perform Trash’s surgery in his head even before he met her. I guess the insurance on his yacht is coming due. He gave her finger and X-rays a cursory glance, then said she was going to have to come in in a couple of months to have him remove the scar tissue.

“What scar tissue?” Trash said.

“It’s not there yet, but it will be.”

“Maybe we could, you know, make sure it’s there before you, like, cut me open.”

The hand surgeon responded to my wife’s concern with the unshakeable self-confidence and decisiveness that, in our experience, always goes along with a medical professional who is full of shit. Then he instructed her to keep moving the finger—yet another total reversal of previous medical advice. Except he said it in the form of this charming mnemonic device:

“Motion is lotion.”

Okay, we all know from the O.J. Simpson trial that if something rhymes, it must be true (or, to put it more accurately, “if you say it in verse, you could do a lot worse”). Whatever. This little bon mot has the added benefit of sounding like some kind of skeevy come-on line. Worst of all, we have no clue what Trash is supposed to be doing with her finger. Although, after hearing her story about the hand surgeon, I have some ideas.

Obviously she's going to get a second opinion. Or, more accurately a fourth opinion. But that still leaves open the possibility of a tie on the whole "move the finger/don't move the finger" issue. So I'm opening this up to the readers. E-mail me using the link in the "about" section of this page. I'll tally the votes and we'll go from there.

If you think about it, this is really an exciting and innovative use of web technology. Where else are you non-medical types going to have a chance to actively participate in an injured person's recovery? Or, alternately, get sued for malpractice? Either way, everybody wins. Or at least we do, which is the important thing.

posted by M. Giant 3:01 PM 0 comments


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