I’m not yet convinced that my hand will ever make a fist again, or that my fingers will stand up straight. For more than ten weeks I’ve been trying to train them, but like beginner yoga students, they don’t assume quite the right position without a push. The ring finger will bend nicely at the middle joint but hardly at the tip. Its little neighbor bends somewhat nicely at every joint but doesn’t stay in its own path, preferring to lie on top of the ring finger. The hand therapist measures my progress in millimeters, and when I get frustrated, she assures me that I’m getting better even if it’s not obvious.
Due to a reckless moment on my bike in early March, my right hand has progressed from total incapacity to partial usefulness to, now, a stiff and sensitive version of almost-normalcy. It started with foolishness, pain, and regret. During the second half of a long bike ride, I came to a familiar juncture where the bike path broke continuity to cross a busy street. I hadn’t been there in a while but I knew the way to get back on the path was to ease up onto the sidewalk via the curb cut … or was it? Maybe I had to get on the street, in the bike lane, instead. With a split-second maneuver I decided to do the latter, and a moment later saw that I’d been wrong. There was a curb between me and my intended route. From a place of bad judgment came the idea that I could jump it on my steel-framed touring bike. So I tried, and speedily crashed forward into the pavement. Continue reading