Not quite a blessing in disguise

Last Monday, I walked my dog through our neighborhood just like any other evening. Still tired from my Sunday hike, I considered letting Kula do a few rounds in the yard instead of walking him but then decided to walk anyway.

We were on the last leg of our walk, when I tripped and fell, crashing heavily onto my right hand. I rolled onto my back and lay on the concrete sidewalk for two minutes. Darn it, it hurt. The hand, especially the pinky, swell up; my left palm was bleeding; and my left knee and right hip felt none too good either. Good old Kula stood there patiently until I recovered enough to get back onto my feet and walk home with him.

My hand was not only badly swollen but also had turned blue. Not knowing exactly what to do, I iced the hand and took an Epsom salt bath, soaking my aching body, then went to bed.

Next day, I had it x-rayed, which showed a clear break in the pinky. Off I went to see an orthopedic specialist who put it in a cast, leaving me with thumb, index and middle fingers to use. He said the cast had to stay on for three weeks, a splint after that, and the pinky would take ten weeks to completely heal.

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Great! How would I be working on my manuscripts? Surely I can’t type with this. What about my piano lessons and my playing? I was finally getting somewhere with my practicing and now I would have to stop for ten weeks? At the art class on Saturday, how would I hold a brush or a pencil? And how about working with a computer mouse or a stylus?

At first I felt defeated and frustrated, but then I thought that I would not let a little broken finger stop me from doing what I want and need to do. It made me realize how I’ve taken my hands and what they can do for granted.

My left hand is actually quite good in taking over most tasks. Fine motor skills are a problem, but the lefty is catching up fast. It turns out that I can work a mouse just fine with two fingers and my thumb. For now, I’ll be concentrating on playing piano with my left hand, learning new techniques while the right hand takes a break.

Although my broken pinky is not a blessing in disguise, it is a great opportunity to try something different and see things in a different light instead of viewing it as a handicap. In ten weeks, I will probably play a solid left hand on the piano.

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