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temporary impairment

A fractured thumb, though a minor injury in the grand scheme of things, complicates life in ways one would never even consider until faced with the impossibility of accomplishing the simplest of tasks to which one ordinarily devotes little more than a passing thought.


thankfully, playing dominos requires only one good hand

Got something stuck between your molars? Good luck flossing with only one fully functional hand. It is possible, but far from easy. Need to open a screw-top jar? After clawing at one futilely for quite some time D finally managed to loosen the lid with a bottle opener. Before his ski accident D had been planning to give Emmie a bath. Now — forget about it; keeping up his own hygiene is difficult enough. Same goes for trimming her claws; he can’t even clip his own nails. His first night home alone, D tried to cook chicken to use with some leftover beans to make burritos. Cooking was never D’s forte, but spending close to an hour in the kitchen just to cut two chicken breasts made him miss S all the more.

After battling his button-down shirt for fifteen minutes to get dressed for his first day of work after the accident, D dispensed with shirts altogether. Good thing we’re in a season during which it is acceptable to wear sweaters to work. Thankfully, the Embassy has been very accommodating. Given the winter weather and his injury D did not feel comfortable driving and we live in a part of Chisinau where it can be difficult to get a taxi. The Embassy approved motorpool transport for him to and from work, taking at least one worry off his mind.

All things considered, D got off easy. In the 15-20 minutes that it took him to get x-rays and a cast for his thumb, three other people were brought to the medical center on the slopes of Bukovel. All three had vicious-looking leg injuries and required assistance to get off the mountain. A fellow Foreign Service colleague was also injured recently on a ski trip. He was waiting for the ski lift when someone skied into him from behind and twisted his leg hard enough to tear the ligaments in his knee. Considering the number of skiers D observed drinking surreptitiously from hip flasks, he’s thankful his accident was no one’s fault but his own.

When the Ukranian doctor wrapped his hand in plaster D was hardly in a position to argue, but when he returned to Chisinau D went to see the Embassy doctor, who agreed that the cast was overkill for this kind of injury. As soon as he cut off the plaster D felt immense relief. The cast had been too tight and D’s swollen, purple thumb was looking decidedly unhealthy after almost three full days inside the plaster. The swelling went down within hours. A week later, parts of his hand are still faintly purple and D’s left thumb is still noticeably bigger than the right one, but the injury is also clearly on the mend.

Although the splint that replaced his cast afforded D greater flexibility, it was no panacea. Typing left his hand exhausted and throbbing with pain. He managed to fend for himself at home, but everything required extra time and effort so that by the time he had walked the dog, prepared food, and eaten dinner it was time to walk the dog again and go to bed. Now that almost two weeks have passed since the accident, D’s hand is feeling considerably better, though it’ll be another couple of weeks before he will be ready to take off the splint.

There is a saying in Russian: whenever somebody suffers an injury, no matter how minor, people say that it will heal before the wedding day. It’s a tad too late for D on that score, but he hopes, at least, to be fully healed before our son enters this world. Otherwise, he might not be ready to change diapers and then S really wouldn’t forgive him for his recklessness.

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