Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Agony of Defeat

One advantage to being a decidedly non-athletic individual is that I do not have too many sports related injuries to complain about. When I played football in middle school, I once lost sight of the football and stood straight up to find it, only to take a helmet to the groin from the midget who was carrying it. I fully recovered, though I played the rest of the game sounding a lot like Lucille Ball.

Then there was the time that while playing darts, I followed my throw through with a little too much enthusiasm and, with my sense of balance skewered by the two dozen beers I had consumed during the match, stumbled several feet off course before flipping over a table and getting a bloody nose. I am not sure if that counts though because I have done the exact same thing on several occasions just getting up from the bar to make my way to the bathroom. I also once got beaned in the melon while playing horseshoes. I was hit hard enough to make my ears ring but in the end, the only thing permanently injured in that incident was my pride since I somehow managed to do that one to myself.

This past weekend though, I think I really did it. I was bowling and though I am not sure what happened, I know that whatever it was it is extremely painful. In fact, it still hurts and I can barely type. The weird thing about it was that it happened while I was completely sober. A buddy of mine and I had taken our kids to the bowling alley and, as he is from Germany and painfully ignorant of the bowling concept, it was up to me to show the tykes how to send a fifteen-pound sphere of resin hurtling down a wooden lane at thirty-miles an hour, directly into the gutter.

I was on the third frame, when I had ordered the kids to pay attention to me so that they could see how I ran and how I handled the ball. Holding it up in front of my chin, I targeted the middle arrow, took my four steps while letting the ball swing down to my side and swung it back behind me. As I approached the foul line, I then went into my slide and brought the ball forward rapidly to let it go in a futile attempt to knock down at least one of the pins arranged in a triangle before me. I was in the process of letting the ball go when I felt my middle finger pop and, even above the din of a busy bowling alley, heard it crack like a popsicle stick.

The pain was instant and incredible. It brought me down to my knees immediately and I was buckled over in agony so intense that I did not even see how many pins I hit. To make matters worse, it was not really a fresh injury, but a much more severe aggravation of a football injury I had sustained the week before (I jammed it somehow while trying to open a jar of habanero salsa during halftime of the Detroit Lions / Tampa Bay game on October 21st).

Of course, as I was on my knees at the approach to lane 21, my buddy had to accuse me of faking the injury as an excuse to explain away how my two-year-old on the lane next to me was out-bowling me by three pins on the third frame. Frankly, I didn’t need an explanation for that as his lane was equipped with bumpers to keep the ball from going into the gutter whereas the lane the adults were bowling on had no such advantage, which we demonstrated time and time again. Actually, Carson came in second on that game, bowling a 61. His seven-year-old sister scored 63, barely beating him in the tenth frame.

I have no idea what I did to my finger. I know that it is not broken as I have done that before and know exactly what it feels like. I also know that I did not dislocate it, as I still have full movement in it as long as I move it slowly. Sprained? Could be, but I am not certain. All I know for sure is that it is excruciating and every time I type an “i”, I feel the pain all the way up to my elbow if I forget to use my ring finger.

Up until now, I had no idea how debilitating losing your middle finger is. As I said before, opening jars has become exponentially more difficult as has writing with a pen. I tried carving the Halloween pumpkins when we got home but eventually gave up. Typing has become sheer torture and I do not know how I will be able to continue driving my car in this condition as that particular digit is absolutely crucial in navigating urban rush hour traffic. Especially when you drive a car with a wimpy horn.


Blogger 60feet6inches said...

How is this injury doing now? I think I may have done the exact same thing last night. It hurts a ton between my biggest knuckle and the base of my hand. I cannot grip or put any pressure on it, but I also know it isn't broke and I do have full range of motion if careful. Can you please email me at 60feet6inches@gmail.com and let me know if and when you ever healed? Thanks, Matt

11:11 AM  

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