Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Opposable Thumb!

Remember when Larson had the cartoon of the cows sitting in the living room and the phone rings. One of them says, "Darn, I wish I had an opposable thumb so I can answer that phone."
I used to have that cartoon in my office when I was an O.T. I thought it was so funny.

Well, this week I decided to make raised bed frames while the weather was nice. And--just as one can only imagine---I hit my left thumb with the hammer. Not a light stroke, but a hard hit as I aimed for the nailhead. I don't know how many times I told my brother to always open up the nail near the cuticle and let some of the blood drain out. Use a hot needle or paper clip if nothing else. And he has done that. But when it came time to do the deed, I couldn't stick the thing into the fingernail. I mean, this is serious pain already, and how much more could it hurt doing that? Actually, there is little extra pain to the area since it already has been punched. But I couldn't do it. So for three days I have been wincing and grimacing as I try to use the stupid thumb. The bruise is the whole nail bed now. So I will eventually lose the nail. It is still swollen and painful. I just wish I had had the guts back then, and there would be faster healing and less pain. But I rationalize that surely there will be three days of severe pain, and lessening pain after that. How stupid!

So did you know that you use the left thumb in your knitting? Even though I am a right-handed person, I use my left hand a lot. I could hardly knit with the pain every time I tried to stabilize the needle or hold something. This morning I could hardly button my jeans button because the button is on the left side, and the left thumb pushes it through the hole. And denim is less forgiving than other fabrics. And I reached to open the microwave door with my left hand, and immediately pain shot up my arm.

I lost the use of my left arm after a backpacking injury in 1989. It is so weird to realize that I use that limb for a lot of different things that I never thought of. Even when the nerves regenerated and I learned to compensate for the ones that didn't, I found it incredible that I had to learn to do some things over again. I know the thumb is minor injury, but it reminds me that we take our ability to do things for granted. I worked with stroke patients, head trauma patients, and other neurological patients for most of my career. I am always amazed at the resiliency of the human body to learn how to do things and how to compensate for the loss of a part of that body.

Anyway-off the soap box. I have been knitting the second man-sock, and I have been knitting on the mitre blanket. Those are easy, repetitive, and mindless knitting. I don't have to use my left thumb so much with that kind of knitting.

I decided today I need to go set up the folding table in the sewing room and get back to the quilt I started sewing. TR gave me a cute pattern for a ball with patches of a large hexagon and a smaller pentagon. At least the sewing corner is clean. I did a good job of that. I will have to find a table or desk that will come in the window or at least in parts through the doorway.

Until next time, keep your hands safe.

No comments: