It started in January, even with the spring semester; my right pointer finger swelled up like a ripe, young dick. Red and throbbing, it kept me awake at night. My health care provider sent me to emergency, a county hospital, where I hooked up with a hand surgeon by the name of Dr. Lim. It was Lim or Dijet, I had my pick. 
 
Over time I eventually saw them both, Lim and Dijet. Three fucking surgeries followed that January visit. Acute Paronychia was the diagnosis. When I went home and googled AP I found it had more hits than Diana Ross, probably more hits than Taylor Hicks will ever dream of having, but only the standard format of questions in text that Lim and Dijet asked me at our meetings: do you wash your hands excessively? Are you a food service worker, a house cleaner, someone who might have his or her hands in water for long periods of time? Do you bite hangnails? 
 
I’m on Prozac, it’s true. After my third surgery, which was my nineteenth visit to the hospital clinic, I became seriously depressed. Gas prices that morning had hit an all time high of 2.91 per gallon so I conserved and stopped on my way back from the hospital clinic to pick up my glasses at the Health Partners Eye Clinic off Lexington. 
 
The man waiting before me had no hands and needed his glasses adjusted. He sat in a wheel chair; two stump-like paws placed his kneaded up glass frames on the counter asking for an adjustment. The optometrist suggested a fresh start, showed the handless man a sturdy frame that would survive a hit and run. “Try these,” he said, setting them on the table in front of the handless man.
 
I was next. “I’m here to see if my glasses are in.” 

“Did we call you?” he asked. 

“I was in the neighborhood,” I said. I offered the receipt of purchase to the optometrist now assisting me. 

“Here they are, let’s see what kind of adjusting they need.” He opened the glass case and without faltering he attempted to slide the glasses on my face. 

I stopped him at that moment. “No,” I said. “I can manage.” My right hand was still numb from the surgery. My finger incased in a bandage was still visible, tucked inside a fist.  

                                                      ~

Image courtesy of   http://www.hap.be/urgences/

 

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Published in: on August 30, 2006 at 11:11 pm  Comments Off on