On broken things

I mentioned a couple months ago that I had broken my finger, badly enough that I had to have surgery to repair it.  I haven’t had surgery– real surgery– since I was very young.  Wisdom teeth don’t count.  And I was absolutely terrified.  My hands mean so much to me, as both a writer and a gardener.

And yeah, I’m a little careless about them some days, most days, if we’re being honest here.  I don’t wear gloves when I probably should.  But I like the feel of the soil between my fingers, and I am surer when I can actually feel what I have my hand on than when all I can feel is pressure.  Sometimes, I move quicker than I should.  I didn’t think about it.

Now I do.  Because I am still afraid.  Even though my hand is mostly healed now, I am still afraid.  I remember the terror of sitting in the orthopedist’s office when he told me with only a glance at the x-ray and my finger that I was going to have surgery in two days.

And thanks to him, and an excellent physical therapist, I have a finger that still bends.  It’s not perfect, but it bends.  It will probably always be a little crooked, and I’ll likely never get my full range of motion back, but it’s much better than it was.

But I am afraid now.  I hesitate, where I never used to.  My hands are valuable, and I have been sharply reminded of that.  Typing was a chore with one hand imprisoned in a cast, and gardening was completely out of the picture.  Knitting was impossible, and even after I was released from the cast, painful.  It’s better now.

I have my hand back now, but I am more cautious.  I wear my gloves a little more often.  They wouldn’t have helped with this summer’s injury, but they could protect me from other things.  I think more about what I’m doing, about how I’m going to move, how I’m going to grip.

This injury taught me fear of hurting myself, and maybe it’s a healthy fear, but I resent it.  I resent the ways it slows me down, and makes me overthink every movement when I garden.  But my crooked, healing finger also reminded me of the value of my hands, and that is important.  I use them for all the things I love, and it is not bad to be reminded to be careful with the tools we use for making.


About weedsandwildthings

I am a horticulturist and knitter and writer, and many other things besides.
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