"...and when we come to town, the people gather 'round
and marvel at our health..."
Cosmic Cowboy, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 1973.
No crowds gather 'round when I lumber in for my annual physical, but isn't it nice to have that examination? It's a reassuring assessment of how things stand. Sort of like a report card, but they don't mark you lower for bad behavior.
Well, they do, but anyhow...
The past few months, I've had a slight problem with my left little finger. (People who cut me off in traffic while driving cars bearing anti-Obama slogans know that the other fingers work quite well.) It turns out that the problem is something called "trigger finger," in which the tendon that makes the finger straighten out (or not) is ensheathed within a sheath that restricts its movements. Sometimes, if I curl my hand up to grab a bag of groceries or money from a bank heist, I have to straighten out the pinky by using my other hand (all the while, steering the getaway car with my knees.)
The best way to fix it, according to the great Dr Albert DeLoskey, is to go to a hand specialist and get a cortisone injection.
The worst thing to do, he cautioned, is to squeeze a rubber ball, trying to "fix" it.
I have been squeezing a rubber ball at work and in the SUV since March.
"Hello, Hand Clinic?"
Listen, everyone grumbles about doctors and I don't know why. Where we go, with but one exception, the docs are kind and thoroughly professional, they never keep you waiting, always work you in somehow in case of an emergency, and they know what they are doing. Which is good, because I don't know how to fix my hand, but someone does...
I got to thinking about how I would have fared had I been born in 1751 instead of 1951. For one thing, I would not have liked it; there was no cable tv, baseball, pizza or Facebook then. Frontiersmen had to go out and shoot and trap and fish for their suppers, and even then, if they wanted, say, a side of cole slaw, they were SOL.
Over the years, I have had a knee replaced, a broken piece of bone removed from my spine, cavities filled and crowns installed, and countless other medico-dento (made up word) problems solved. I'm glad I'm here for all this. In 1811, I would have been limping around in pain, living on soup and oatmeal, and watching tv with a doggone antenna on the roof of my prairie hut.