The Return of the Ring


Ever since I broke the ring finger on my left hand, I haven’t been able to wear my wedding ring on that hand; the knuckle on the finger is just too swollen. (In fact, I had taken to wearing the ring on my right hand; is that some kind of social signifier?) Yesterday, though, I happened to be passing the jewelry district on 47th Street, so I thought I’d look into my options. I know jewelers can "stretch" rings a bit to make them a little bigger. Well, the difference in my ring size on that hand was way too much for stretching — thanks to the break, it went from a size 7 to a size 10! The only option was to cut the ring and add some gold to fill in the extra size. And that’s what I had them do. I have to say the jeweler (a nice elderly man originally from Istanbul) did an amazing job: he matched the design of my vintage ring so well I can barely tell which is the new part. And all in about two hours!

I try not to get overly sentimental about many things, but it really means a lot to me — and, it turns out, to Sari — that I can now properly wear my wedding ring. It’s been almost four years — Welcome back, ringy!



This is the last time i’ll write about my finger or physical therapy:

The other day, while Mayte was working on my finger, she passed on some important knowledge. Tapping the outside of my hand, between my wrist and my pinkie, she said, “This is what boxers break.” Indicating the other side of my hand/wrist, she explained, “This is what skaters break.” Pointing to my middle finger, she told me, “This is what basketball players break.” And then, pointing to my broken finger she said, “This is what little Jewish boys break.”


Pain and Torture


One of the first things my physical therapist asked me was, “You know what P.T. stands for, right?”

“Uh, ‘physical therapy’?” I quavered.

“No,” she cackled, gyrating my poor finger in all sorts of impossible directions. “’Pain and Torture’!”

And boy is she right. I thought I knew what pain meant after the ER doc re-broke my finger to get the bones back in the right place. But what I’ve been enduring — three times a week for the last three weeks — is worse, because it just goes on and on and on.

Broken ring finger, drawing hand

Life, Work

“We need to re-set your finger,” the doctor said. “Now, I can either do it real fast, or we can give you a couple of injections to numb it up and we can do it that way.” I contemplated my puffy, black-and-blue left ring finger, with the tip turning slightly inward. The doctor and I looked at each other. I was scared of having the broken finger popped back into place, but I was sicker of being in the ER. It was last night, going on our fifth hour there, and it was now almost six in the morning. “Whatever you wanna do,” I sighed. As the doctor pulled the curtain around my chair (to shield me from inquisitive eyes or to spare the onlookers from the gruesome sight?) I gave Sari a despairing glance. She widened her eyes in fear and sympathy. Then the doc and I were alone in our little space.

Giving me another glance, he grabbed my finger and without any ceremony, yanked and twisted the last two joints. The pain was so intense that I almost didn’t feel it — it was like a burst of white light directly into my brain. My feet flew up into the air, and I could hear Sari let out a freaked-out giggle. For a second I imagined her view of the scene, with just my feet showing, and then flying up like that. It was horrible and comic all at once.

As my finger pulsed in shock, the doctor compared it to my other hand, made me make a fist, compared the two hands again. “Almost there,” he said, “but I think we gotta do it one more time.” It was true the finger seemed straighter now — straight enough for me, at least. I looked at him weakly. “You sure?” I whimpered. I mean, it WAS my drawing hand, but all I cared about was whether it would work or not, not how pretty it would be. “You gotta live with this for the rest of your life,” the doc said. “You want it to be perfect.”

Then it was back to the p-a-i-n. For some reason, this time the doctor not only yanked but felt compelled to grind and twist the digit as well. I confess to yelling a bit this time. But after some more attempts at fist-making and more comparisons with the other hand, he seemed satisfied. All I needed now were some follow-up X-rays and a splint, and we’d finally be released from ER purgatory. And all just nine hours or so after the whole stupid story began.

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