Expat Adventures, Ep. #134b
Yesterday I had the little operation to repair my trigger finger. As I wrote in mid-November, I’d injured it 2 months ago while cleaning my gun when I broke M’s carbon Putzstock. The handle snapped off and sliced through my finger. I put some Bepanthen on it and a band-aid, thinking it would heal on its own. The doc diagnosed the resulting wound as an Überbein, which translates, among other things, to “Bible cyst.”
Thanks to my son’s girlfriend, who is studying to become a Physician Assistant, I now know that it got that name because back in the day people used to take care of such cysts by slamming a Bible (the biggest and heaviest book in everyone’s home) on it. PSA: This method is no longer recommended.
I showed up punctually for my “surgery,” and after waiting in the holding pen for two hours, I was shown into the operating room. The doc numbed my finger with a shot of Novacaine on each side and then went for his lunch break while it took effect.
When he returned the finger was deadened, and he started slicing away. He pulled an 8mm piece of the carbon Putzstock out of my finger, and asked if I wanted it back. I said “Yes, actually my husband said I should ask for it, though I think he was joking.”
Nurse: “He’s a Swabian? Of course he wants it back. They’re so sparsam (thrifty), he probably wants it to put the Putzstock back together!”
The doc asked if I need a Krankschreibung - a doctor's note to get out of work. Uhh...for a slightly damaged finger? No. M says Germans love those and doctors offer them freely. These days I only teach one evening a week, so I think I can handle it.
Then the nurse wrapped me up. Goodness gracious!
With Saturday’s Drückjagd looming a day and half away, I asked her what I am allowed to do and not do with that bandage. She said I can do anything, just not let the bandage get wet. Tromping through the forest for 2 ½ hours as a Treiber alternately sweating and getting rained or snowed on shouldn’t be a problem then.
I did go in for a bandage change this morning and got one much more reasonable in size. I spent this afternoon (Friday) experimenting to see what I can accomplish while keeping the thing dry. First things first, I can still do a Falknerknoten (falconer’s knot) with only three good fingers and a thumb. Priorities.
|Good thing I won't be shooting tomorrow,|
'cuz that's my trigger finger!
I then put on a
rubber glove (who knew a year ago how often we’d be glad to have a huge box of single-use
rubber gloves in the house?) and taped it with adhesive tape, and was thus able
to wash my hair. That works for doing dishes and washing the floor as well. I
only had it on for 30 minutes, though, not the 4+ hours I’ll have to keep it
dry in the woods tomorrow. I was able to get my Treiber pants and jacket on,
and if you’re wondering what would be so hard about that, wrap your index
finger in a sock and then get dressed up in winter gear. It’s not that big a
deal, but it’s awkward. Happily I discovered that, even with my trigger finger
twice its usual size, I can still type relatively normally.
It doesn’t fit into the bright orange Treiber-gloves M bought me for my birthday, so my Schwiegermutter suggested I cover it with a plastic bag and a winter sock, which I just might do!
Incidentally, M has not asked me to do any gun-cleaning since I lost the fight with his carbon Putzstock. So I guess I have a sort of Krankschreibung after all.
One last expat-related note: I am pubicly insured, and I won't see a bill for any of this - 5 doctor's visits including getting stitches out in 10 days and minor surgery. I have no deductible. Medication (anti-biotics & pain killers I didn't need) cost €5 total. In the Homeland I'd have to re-think Christmas to pay for this.
For those who are curious, here's the carbon piece, which was lodged between my cuticle and knuckle, next to my undamaged finger for size comparison.