For some time now, I start my day with about a three mile walk that begins before dawn and ends with the sunrise. I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s a habit and I miss it if I don’t take that morning walk. Last Wednesday, I was out early as usual but that morning it was a chilly thirty-six degrees out and there was frost on the ground.
Not more than five minutes into the walk I slipped on a curb and fell. I tried to catch myself but couldn’t and did what we all naturally do in this situation and extended my hand out to break my fall. After all, it’s no fun doing a face-plant onto concrete. My hand hit the sidewalk first as I rolled and for some reason, my ring finger caught the pavement and hyperextended backwards as the rest of my fingers did the sensible thing and went forward.
It was still dark out and no one else was out and about, so I just picked myself up and shook it off. Yes, my hand hurt a little but I literally shook it a few times and continued walking the three-mile route. The pain subsided somewhat and I eventually got back home, then headed out for a cup of tea at the local Starbucks.
A short while later, I got to my office and began working on a writing project, which I am in the midst of, on my computer. For the next couple of hours, I continued to type away at the keyboard without any issue except for the slow swelling at the base of my finger. I figured it was a good sprain and that I just needed to take a few pain relievers and it would be fine in a few days.
By late morning, I headed to a lunch meeting at the studio in Burbank. During lunch, I noticed some discoloration appearing on the palm of my hand and the swelling continuing but now also on the back of my hand as well. After lunch, I figured it might be a good idea to get an x-ray, which I did on the way back to my office. The x-ray revealed that I had broken the finger at the base just above the knuckle. The first bone I have ever broken.
The doctor immobilized it with a splint and some tape while referring me to an orthopedic surgeon who I was able to see the next day. That was where it got a bit more serious because the surgeon wanted to make sure that I didn’t need to have the bones pinned together. After a few more x-rays, it was determined that the bones just needed to be realigned and cast put on with the ring and pinky fingers wrapped together. The realignment of the bones was much more painful than the actual breaking of the finger in the first place—ouch.
Now, I have a cast on my left hand for the next four to six weeks. I let my friend Rob, who is a sculptor, know what had happened but he had little sympathy for me. As he said; “You still have nine other fingers left, I only have six digits and four little stumps.” He lost those four fingers in tussle with a stone saw many years ago. As he so aptly pointed out, Mickey Mouse only has eight fingers, which further galvanize his lack of empathy.
The entire episode reminded me of several valuable lessons we should never lose sight of: 1) when you fall down, literally or figuratively, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward in a positive, productive way; and 2) no matter what your situation is, there is always someone else that is worse off then you are—just think about how lucky we all are to be alive and living here in today’s world. And finally, pay attention to where and how you're walking!
Dave Bossert— Commentary
Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on several boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.