The Great Saline Mystery and Other Adventures With An Ex Fix

After a miserable week and a painful last few days of turning, I finally kicked the infection’s butt and the pin sites began to heal. Besides when my physical therapist tries to bend my finger until I cry and an occasional bad bump, the pain is minimal. It still hurts a little if I’ve had a long day, but I’m no longer waking up in the middle of the night because I accidentally twitched my finger and Tylenols are reserved for right before PT.

Not being in pain is great, but it means I’ve neglected my blog. Like all the great artists, the lack of suffering is stifling my creativity. I’m still more tired than I’d like but I think that’s just because I got a little lazy the last month. After tons of suggestions to watch Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, The Wire, etc. I’ve opted to watch reruns of Law and Order SVU on Netflix while I use the bone stimulator. Lame, I know, but there’s very little risk in running out of episodes and there aren’t too many cliffhangers to keep me up at night. Other than constantly falling way short of 10 hours on the bone stimulator, weekly PT appointments and pin care, life is pretty normal.

Perhaps the bling also isn't good for laying low, but I found the perfect size bead to go over the pins!

Perhaps the bling isn’t good for laying low, but I found the perfect size bead to go over the pins!

The main difference is that before the external fixator I didn’t have to tell people 20 times a day what happened to my hand. It’s ironic that in order to have my hand look normal I first have to draw so much attention to it. At first people didn’t seem to ask me about it that much except when traveling for some reason. Perhaps it was that I didn’t go out much except when travelling. I recently attended both a BBQ full of BME students and a party full of medical students, not the best places to lay low while recovering from an uncommon surgery. I’m for the most part happy to talk about my hand, but it gets annoying saying the same thing over and over again. It’s especially fantastic when a person asks if I’m left-handed and sighs in relief when I tell them I’m not, because then I’m reminded of the upcoming right-hand surgery in January.

I also had the pleasure of having a little kid stare at me at PT. My physical therapist was having fun seeing how far she could bend my ring finger before I fainted, causing me to cry out in pain. My physical therapist told me I was scaring the little girl at the table next to us. I felt guilty and then annoyed when the kid wouldn’t stop staring. Then I listened to the kid’s mom talk and realized the little girl was in fact a boy. For some reason this made me much happier. At least I don’t have an ambiguous haircut that confuses people.

Another thing that happened at PT was that I was forced to wear a splint while I sleep in order to increase my ability to completely straighten my finger. My physical therapist told me she would know if I wore it or not, so I had no intention of telling her that I ripped it off after a couple hours every night. She didn’t even mention it at the next session. Obviously that means I don’t have to wear it anymore. I also got to play in a bin full of warm rice. Well, just my left hand got to play in the bin. Still it was fun.



Last but not least, what’s the deal with normal saline? Apparently in order to get a bottle you need a prescription. I have a list of things I need for pin care written on the doctor’s prescription pad, but I’m not sure if that counts. I was running low and couldn’t get my hand on a bottle, so my mom sent me some from NJ. Apparently the store she got it from was reluctant to sell it to her, too. Even the people at PT say they have a hard time getting it! At Rosh Hashanah dinner, I asked a Fellow who was there if he knew. He said that it was used for meth, which was what I of course originally thought. But it’s only salt water and when I googled “how to make meth” I didn’t find any mention of sterile saline…?




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