Posts Tagged ‘vodka’

A wrist, a splint, no xrays. Yet

February 21, 2010

A fellow on the friends’ list,

Gave a call, and here is the gist:

     “I have this pain

     I’m sure it’s a sprain,

I know I didn’t fracture my wrist.”

The call comes at quarter past eight from a friend who knows me well enough that not only does he know I have wrist immobilizers for each side, but he probably knows where I keep them.  He fell from his horse yesterday, he has been icing and elevating, but it hurts like the dickens.  He’d like to borrow the splints.

Five years ago our Tae Kwon Do instructor suffered a serious case of testosterone toxicity one evening, and we did push ups till we could do no more.  Tendonitis followed shortly thereafter, and I’ve never thrown away the wrist immobilizers.

My friend is absolutely positive it’s not broken because he has great range of motion.  I’m not so sure.

He knows my Sunday schedule, and knows where to meet me.  I’ve not seen a sprained wrist in this particular anatomic location, my fingers push and probe and I determine that the anatomic snuffbox (the hollow at the base of the thumb) isn’t tender.  I have ruled out the worst wrist fracture.  Despite his assurances, the wrist doesn’t move well, and the swelling is obvious.

I loan him the splint, slipping it on and velcro’ing it in place, and I watch relief play across his face.

Because I know him so well, I can rely on him to show up to the office tomorrow morning to get xrays.  It’s a relief to him to bypass ER and Urgent Care, and to take care of it on a flexible basis.  For my part, I’ve taken a history, and done as much physical as is needed; the only piece of the puzzle I’m missing is the xray.  He can come in tomorrow on his schedule, get the xrays taken, and I can review them at my leisure.

I enjoy doing stuff like this with my friends.

Late in the day, after a good long workout and a short nap, Bethany and I stop by the grocery store for a bottle of wine; we’re going to dinner at the house of another set of friends.

I drink very little, I know nothing about wine, but I’ve decided on a price.  I snatch a bottle of Simi from the shelf.  Later I will find out I made a good choice.

In the checkout line I stand behind a retired doctor.  I recognize him, he doesn’t recognize me.  He moves unsteadily as he buys his four large bottles of vodka, and I see hopelessness and hangover smeared across his face.  I smell the alcohol on his breath though I stand at arm’s length.  I remember when he retired.

If a person chooses to believe in signs, he can see signs of whatever he wants wherever he looks.  Still, it is difficult for me to ignore what I’ve just seen.  I don’t want to end up like that.  Even if it doesn’t involve alcohol, I don’t want to see out my last years with that kind of despair.  Clearly, I have to slow down my pace of work and I have to have something to fill the void.