The fingers are working. It has been over a year since the second operation to repair them. The surgery was a success. Scar tissue was cleared. Therapy and hard work paid off. A year ago this coming week the therapist signed the appointment sheet, “S.O.S. only”. Consultant and therapist sent my hand and me away with orders to continue the exercises and to massage the thin white scars and reclaimed fingers through to September of this year.
The rebuilt and restored digits are not yet really mine. Although they look like fingers they feel more like stuffed sausages, swollen, stretched, thick and tight, protruding from my hand. Like ‘meat substitutes’, reconstituted fingers are similar to but not quite the real thing: a bit conceptually flawed, usually falling down in name and often failing in practice.
But needs must during these difficult times. Everyone knows compromises must be made. We are, we are told, “all in this together”. My fingers and I must put aside our prejudices and accept if not fully embrace our differences.
The fingers had not asked to be crushed in a garage door. It wasn’t their fault they ended up this way. They are trying to do their bit. They almost straighten completely when extended and they curve nearly perfectly into a closed, crooked fist. Only the middle finger insists on making a statement, dragging up the past with a slightly twisted joint and too thick middle. “You don’t notice unless you’re looking”, people kindly say.
As children we did not usually notice what was wrong. Things happened when no one was looking. It was never clear who had done it. What was clear was that someone had done something wrong and the culprit had to be found. Continue reading