First off, thank you to those of you who have sent me emails asking if I’m ok because I haven’t posted here in a while. *smile* The answer is “yes”, but the effects of working too many hours are starting to really wear on me. In fact, I just woke up from an unplanned “nap” (more like a “pass out”) just 30 seconds ago and now I’ve got to hit the road again soon to do something else tonight across Kabul here.
Speaking of that, since the last time I wrote, I have been traveling in and around the country here a lot lately – quite thrilling I assure you (Ugh!) – and soon I’ll be flying out of country to a few places as well so you could say that my “ops tempo” , as we refer to it, has certainly increased. I’ll spend more time in other blogs talking about those adventures but at the moment I just don’t have the time.
Another good reason I haven’t written lately is that I’ve been injured and typing on the computer has been (still is) quite difficult. We formed a volleyball team a couple weeks ago and we were playing the French (yes, it’s like the Olympics here – one country versus another! *smile*) and we were a little over-confident after pummeling the Italians just the week before. It seems the French took this little friendly competition a little too seriously because just past the halfway point we were already about 20 points behind and they were unrelenting in their efforts to bury us! Then….. it happened. Their star player – a 6 foot 5 tall Frenchman – spiked the ball over the net. And who do you think was there to deflect it? Yep. Little ol’ me. Except that it came so stinking fast that I only got my hands up about two thirds of the way and didn’t have my arms and fingers fully extended, so the ball hit my right hand – particularly my pinky – and managed to pull it out to the side, completely disjointing my pinky at the knuckle. I felt a sharp pain, but it happened so fast that I didn’t think much about it….. at least until I looked down at my hand. Ugh. Looking at my hand, I realized that my pinky was “half good” in that the bottom half up to the knuckle was straight up and down the way it should be, but the top half above the knuckle was bent and disjointed out to the side about 75 degrees! Saying nothing, I calmly walked to the side of the court to let our commander, who was our “hot swap”, come in for me. To quickly, but quietly, let him know why I was stepping out I just flashed my hand to him so that the game would not be interrupted. But I think my hand must have been worse than I realized because he “instantly” recoiled in a painful cringe and diverted his eyes. I honestly thought he was going to puke!
Pinky: "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
The Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky—Try to take over the world."
As he stepped in for me, I walked over to an Austrailian who was helping referee the game on the sidelines and asked, “Hey, can you pull on this for me?” He looked at it….. and after he was done cringing…. gave it two good tugs (as I let out a couple good yelps!) and he got it to pull back closer to “normal’ than it was, but it was still very disjointed. That’s when he said to me (in his Austrailian accent), “I-eev played Rugbee fo’ years and I’ve disjointed my fin-geh many times. But I-eev ne-ve seen one this bad mate! You nade to go to the cla-nic.”
(by the way, these pics were taken "after" the Australian pulled my finger back closer to normal!)
I’ll fast forward. The "cla-nic" couldn’t pull it back either. (Yes, they tried…. And yes, I yelped – AGAIN!). Their opinion was that there was no way it could be pulled that far out to the side without also being broken. They were also concerned about blood veins and tendons being damaged. The only clinic that was equipped to deal with broken bones was the Czech Republic tent hospital at KIA (Kabul International Aiport), which was not good news. My little crooked pinky was now committing two of the hospital staff, myself (and Bixby who offered to stay with me), and about eight Macedonian soldiers in tanks who formed our QRF (Quick Reaction Force) to racing through downtown Kabul in the middle of the dark through one of the most dangerous routes in the country! *shaking head* Needless to say I felt stupid.
Once at the clinic, I was poked at several times while I just sat there, helpless, in a chair with my arm extended out on a stretcher in front of me as they spoke in their native language their theories on what they thought was wrong. I had no idea what they were saying. I wondered if they weren’t joking about how much this was going to hurt to have it yanked back into joint! They rushed me off to a small, portable X-ray trailer and had me assume several uncomfortable positions to try to get the right angle for the picture. When the X-rays came back they looked at them, puzzled, and then said to me, “Eet ees not br-r-r-oken.” But they didn’t look like they were totally convinced.
Thirty minutes later, they had put a cast on my right hand, covering only my two outer fingers (plastering my ring finger and pinky together) that went all the way from the tips of my fingers down to my wrist. “After” it dried, they decided that they wanted to take more X-rays. What?!! (I “told” you they didn’t look convinced!) The second set of X-rays were even more uncomfortable as I now had a cast on my hand and the positions they wanted me to assume were doubly difficult. After the second set was developed, they came back and said once again that it wasn’t fractured "that they could tell", but admitted that because my ring finger was now in the way of the pinky they couldn’t really see the bone as well. Ugh! At this point I just wanted to “suit up” and put my armor back on and head back to base here. I was done with these guys. So I did.
For the last week I’ve been wearing this annoying, itchy cast with the fingers bent down at an angle, making even hunting and pecking on the keyboard difficult. Last night, I couldn’t take it any longer. After taking yet another shower, with my handy dandy plastic bag wrapped over my right hand, I unwrapped it to discover my cast completely soaked. That was the last straw. I came back to the room here and cut it off. My finger is still a discolored yellow and purplish hue, and much to my surprise, “still” sticks out to the side a little. It is also painful to the touch and still quite swollen . And for the last 24 hours I’ve painfully banged it and jammed it so many times I can’t even count. About the only advantage to not having the cast now is that I can type more easily, but what’s funny is that now that my finger is still slightly off I keep missing the keys on the right-hand side of my keyboard! Oh well… what can ya do?!
Gotta go…. Will post more tomorrow.
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