Sunday, November 4, 2012


I admit to half-assing my gardening this year.  I was ambitious in my initial planting, as usual, but didn't follow-through with successive plantings.  After my cucumbers failed, I just left my bed sitting empty for the rest of the summer.  Sometimes it's good to let the soil rest, though.  And I needed to rest, too.

No fun being strapped into this.
I was just opening a can of tomatoes for some enchilada sauce when the lid sliced into my pinky finger.  What seemed like a fairly bad cut that probably needed stitches ended up being a really bad cut that required surgery to repair the flexor tendon in my finger.  And my right hand was stuck in a splint for 6 weeks, with strict orders to not use that arm for anything.

I've been lucky enough not to have had too many major set-backs or medical issues in my life, and this injury just showed me how lucky I've been to be so able-bodied.  All the things I love to do in the garden, the kitchen, on my yoga mat, around the house and at work took five times as long to re-learn with my left hand- if they were possible at all.

Without the ability to quickly whip up some homemade soup, cookies or even a fresh garden salad, I lost my appetite and my motivation to do just about anything.  I watched a lot of New Girl and read a lot of books (even reading a book is more challenging with one hand).  Luckily my sweet partner Mike took care of me and discreetly asked my friends to come check in on me.  I even had friends come over to help harvest my garlic and elderberries and weed my garden back from a jungle-like state.

I ended up learning to do just about everything with my left hand, as I accepted the fact that it would just take more brainpower to do things that I used to do without thinking.  I learned to tie my shoes and put up my hair with one hand. I watched YouTube videos to figure out how to get toothpaste on my toothbrush.  I even canned a batch of pickles!

Turning my half-splint into a hand puppet helped.
Now my hand is working pretty well.  It's been 3 months since I injured my finger and I have re-gained most of my hand strength.  My pinky finger is still struggling to bend fully or straighten fully- and I can't move it at the first knuckle, but I do my finger exercises every day and see my physical therapist every week.  They think that within the next year I should regain the full range of motion.

So long, tomatoes!
I can do nearly everything I used to do now, except reach the far-right keys on the keyboard, hold small things like vitamins or beads in my right hand, stir thick batter with wooden spoon click the end of a click-pen while holding it or hold a toothbrush without looking like I'm having a tea party. I'm still struggling in my yoga practice- I can put weight on my right hand, but holding adho mukha svanasana for more than about ten breaths is pretty painful.  On the upside, I have gotten a LOT of practice on my standing asanas lately!

Yesterday I worked in the garden like nothing ever happened.  I pulled baby trees that tried to sprout up on the strawberry patch, trimmed the blackberry canes & elderberry shrubs, composted the tomato remains and put away all the cages & supports.  Besides being a little stiff from the cold and switching to my left hand for any challenging tasks, I'm back in business.

Pinky is just a little wonky now...


Anonymous said...

Great to see you blogging again! I hope your pinky continues to heal--it must be so nice to be out of the splint/cast!


Michal said...

Oh my gosh what a bizar story, but i'm glad to see that your okay and healed nicely :) never a dull moment!

Pearl said...

yikes! that's a bad cut. I've made knife mishaps but never needed a sock puppet splint level.