Malpractice makes malperfect

(Note: This is part 3 of a longer story.  Parts 1, 2, and 4 are here, here, and here.)

If Hippocrates were alive today, his oath would look something like this:

“First, don’t screw up.  Then blah blah blah medicine something…”

Thursday was the surgery to fix my (non-itchy) trigger finger.  There’s not much of a coherent narrative here, but I did want to point out a few highlights for those playing along at home.

Tuesday night the hospital called to make all the arrangements.  The call began oddly, with the nurse/receptionist’s first question, “Can you tell me what surgery you’re having?”  Note that she called me, and apparently this question (which I would hear repeatedly before the surgery was over) was a test for me, to see if I was the right person.  Once I guessed right, she proceeded to ask me the exact same 5 pages of questions I had answered when I went to the doctor’s office in the first place.

Now, honor compels me to point out my own shortcomings.  I don’t always pay attention.  I especially don’t pay attention when I think I know what’s what.  I once started an online relationship with a lovely young lady from Greenville.  It wasn’t until we got to the point of arranging to meet that I realized that she lived not in Greenville, NC (about 90 minutes away) but in Greenville, SC (about 5 hours away).  That didn’t work out as well.

I bring this point up only because I went to the wrong hospital. Continue reading

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Cutting the hand that feeds you

(Note: This is part 2 of a longer story.  Parts 1, 3, and 4 are here, here, and here.)

A few weeks ago I went to the doctor about something called “trigger finger”.  He gave me an extremely painful shot of corticosteroids to fix the problem.  Unfortunately, it gave out after about a month.  Now I have to decide the next step, so I’m doing what I never do in situations like this: making a list of the pros and cons of each option.

Option 1: More shots

Pros: works for a while

Cons: extremely painful; not a permanent solution

Option 2: Hand surgery

Pros: one-time fix; short recovery time; less painful than steroid shots

Cons: temporary loss of use of right hand; scar could be mistaken for stigmata

Option 3: Handectomy – replace with hook

Pros: Makes great back scratcher; hooks (like bowties and fezzes) are cool

Cons: Harder to type using hunt-and-hook system; modern piracy 85% less romantic than pirate movies; high potential for accidental scratches to self, friends and paint jobs

Option 4: Handectomy – replace with bionic hand

Pros: Optional features (laser pointer, extra fingers, cup warmer)

Cons: Stuff (cups, hands, etc.) accidentally crushed at first; not covered by insurance;  may require term of service in secret government organization

Option 5: Hand transplant

Pros: Eliminates crushing and hooking problems (see above); provides more natural look and feel

Cons: Unsightly wrist scar requires ugly bracelet or tattoo to cover; hand donor pool made up of 64% serial killers, 36% thieves; 92% of donated hands eventually turn rogue and kill or steal again

Decisions, decisions…

Helping a Hand

(Note: This is part 1 of a longer story.  Parts 2 through 4 are here, here, and here.)

Back in November, as part of my ongoing regimen of Immortality Aversion Therapy, I started having a problem with my hand.  The ring finger of my right hand started getting stuck.  Whenever I would close my fist and try to open it, that one finger would stay in place, and then suddenly snap up like a rubber band breaking.  All my other fingers were fine.  Since it didn’t hurt much as long as I didn’t clench my fist for any length of time, I didn’t get around to seeing a doctor about it until this morning.

I expect certain things when I go to the doctor, and I’m not often disappointed.

1) I had to fill out five forms (though I’ve been to this practice before).  Three of the forms asked almost identical questions.  (Apparently, these forms don’t get along well enough to share information.)  The others were some sort of permission slips (in case the doctor has to take my hand on a field trip, I suppose).

2) On the other hand (no pun intended), the receptionist that handed me the bale of forms was very cute, and the doctor’s assistant was downright gorgeous.  I have come to expect this, even though it defies the laws of probability.  (Note to self: find a reason to hire a receptionist and doctor’s assistant.) Continue reading