Monday, February 21, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

Sometime during the middle of last month, I had a stupid accident. Judging from the lingering pain, I suspect I broke a finger. I accomplished this in a manner so incomprehensibly ridiculous that I am too ashamed to provide details of the incident. You must simply take my word for it that I feel like a grade-A nincompoop.

Even more stupid has been my resistance to going to the hospital. Instead, for 4 weeks, I've been sucking up the pain and inconvenience of a potentially broken bone. Why? Because I thought it preferable to the pain and inconvenience of sitting who knows how long in a waiting room with two very active boys and a screechy infant.

Initially, I doctored my finger with the help of some popsicle sticks and duct tape. I did this for a few days before I decided that looked just too silly. So I removed my DIY bandage and simply started walking around with my left index finger held straight up at all times. If you have ever played the videogame Halo 2 from the Arbiter's perspective, that's what I looked like -- only without the kick-butt energy sword. If you have not played Halo 2, the Arbiter is a space alien. He belongs to a group called The Covenant, which is attempting to activate an ancient artifact that will allow them to take over the universe. However, the Arbiter has gone rogue and allied himself with humans. The Arbiter sounds cool, but looking like him (or rather like his left hand) is not so much.

Last night was a turning point for me. Even though my finger doesn't hurt terribly anymore, I nearly burned it off in the toaster oven because I've lost 50% of all sensation in that digit. This is not a complete catastrophe since I still have nine other fingers. However, I'd hate to see my typing speed diminished in any way, so I've finally made a doctor's appointment.

Now I'm a bit apprehensive because I know Doc will send me for an x-ray (which means lots and lots of waiting-room time). Also, my gut is 100% certain he's going to have my finger re-broken and set. This second thought particularly bothers me because "I don't like pain -- it hurts me."1 On the other hand, I know that choosing some temporary suffering will result in numerous benefits later on. Off-hand, I can think of a couple. A fully functioning finger would be nice. If it's not totally deformed by my earlier stupidity and stubborness, so much the better.

I've decided this whole experience need not go to waste, though. I've learned that I am periodically just plain dumb (there's no other word for it) regarding my body and its needs. In the future, I hope to demonstrate better judgment.

More importantly, I hope to show more sense when it comes to my inner life. Although I want to have a sensitive, teachable spirit, I have no illusions. I'm pretty positive I'll make some soul-crippling choices out of selfishness and pride. However, I also hope to have the grace to recognize when I need to be re-broken and fixed. In these cases, I hope I'll choose to do the right thing.

"[E]very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."
— C.S. Lewis

1Daffy Duck


I drafted this post a little over a week ago. Since then, I've learned that my finger is not broken. (Hooray!!!) However, the doctor suspects that I may have damaged a ligament due to the fact that I still can't bend my finger, and the only way to be certain is an MRI. As I sit here self-treating by squeezing a squishy ball, I'll let you guys take bets on whether I'll actually go and have that done. Ahhh... History will teach us nothing.


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