Stockholm Syndrome

The external fixator is set to come off a week from Monday, 99 days after I got it. This is exciting news, but at this point I’ve gotten so used to it that it doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I only remember it when someone asks me about it and then I have a conversation that goes something like this:

Other person: What’s that?

Me, (looks to see if there is something strange they are asking about, everything appears normal, it must just be my external fixator): Oh this is just an external fixator. I had surgery and this is holding the bone together until it heals.

Other person: Oh, what’d you do to your hand?

Me:  Nothing, I had surgery to lengthen one of the bones.

Other person: Why’d you have to do that?

Me: Because the bone was too short (rolls eyes)

Okay, most of the time it doesn’t go like that and if they are cute, I’m definitely friendlier. But at this point I’m so used to the fixator that I accidentally sat on it once. The only times I think about it are when I have to clean the pins and when someone asks me about it. One time a couple eating dinner outside literally flagged me down as I walked by to ask me about it.

Sometimes I enjoy the attention, it’s an easy conversation piece. Other times I just want to go on my day and not talk to strangers. I’m from the east coast after all. One time a lady asked me if it was a step counter. I’m not sure what type of step counters get drilled into your hand. Perhaps they would be really accurate that way. A lot of people tell me it looks like a laser and that I should attach one. These people are less original than the step counter lady.

But despite it all, I’m a little nervous to get the fixator off in a week. I think I’m worried that without the fixator people won’t be able to tell that my hand is hurt but it still will take a little time to heal. There are going to be 4 new holes in my bone after all and I’m still not completely flexible. My physical therapist cut me down to every 2 weeks instead of once a week. I think that was more because my improvement has plateaued until the fixator is off than because I’m doing so well. I’m trying really hard to not loose flexibility now that I see her less, but I’m nervous that has happened. So without the fixator what if people just heave heavy items at me and expect me to do several sets of push ups right away? Gosh it’s been so long since I did a push up. I’ll miss not having a good excuse not to do one.

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