My mother-in-law and wife have stated on several occasions men should only have a baby the size of a pea. The closest a man can experience to childbirth is passing a kidney stone, which thankfully I haven’t had that unique experience. My wife has suffered from severe psoriatic arthritis for many years and continued to work with only minor expressions of complaints. I know she suffers greatly and it very disturbing to be powerless to relieve the pain.
Her hands are a mess and she is constantly dropping objects. In addition to her hand, her left knee has been a candidate for replacement for several years and it has only been very recently that she is considering replacement surgery.
Early Sunday evening our dog had an accident in the house and wet the living room carpet. I quickly got a wet towel, a special spray cleaner provided by our carpet cleaning company and dropped to the floor to begin cleanup. I am the go-to guy for cleanup duty when I am home.
I was rubbing the stain away and one of my fingers got jammed. Not much pain, just a bit of discomfort but the tip of my right ring finger was dangling. I could move it with my left hand and the tip would instantly drop.
My wife looked at me and asked, “What did you do?”
“I don’t know. It looks like I jammed it.”
My wife joined me on the floor to help finish the cleaning. She worked with two bad hands and I continued with my left hand.
In an instant we both started laughing. I think I need to go to the emergency clinic I told my wife. She laughed a bit more. A cloud formed over her head and it stated: men are wimps.
Mentally we both could hear the doctor saying, “How did you injure yourself?”
“Cleaning dog pee.”
Then the doctor and nurse would laugh. I would be standing there looking like… a wimp. But needless to say we did make a trip to the emergency clinic. And laughed all the way to the clinic.
Could I justify being there by saying I was afraid that I might have broken it or tore a ligament and was concerned that I would wake up in the middle of the night with a swollen finger. The rest of the story is anti-climatic; the finger is not broken and it was not swollen in the morning.
The doctor and nurses did not laugh. The treated me professionally and with concern. A few X-rays were taken; the doctor examined me and gave me a reasonable diagnosis. Jammed finger, a splint was furnished and ice treatment suggested. A word of caution from the doctor was given, “If it doesn’t straighten out in a few days you may need to see a hand surgeon for repair of the ligament (perhaps he said tendons).”
At that point my mind went blank. A surgeon?
I can hear my wife and mother-in-law laughing. Two days later my finger is still dangling but not as drastically, but I still can’t move the tip voluntarily. I really can’t comprehend the possibility that I am considering a doctor's visit while my wife is looking at knee replacement.
Perhaps my finger jam was a much needed lesson in empathy.