... Ben Holliday, Thumb Patient.
Editor: Thank you for sharing your time with us once more, Ben. We realize how busy you are and so we don’t take this for granted.
Ben: Well, that’s true. But, we do what we need to do for The People.
Ed. Ah-hah. Well, I couldn’t help but notice when you sat down that your left thumb seems to have been replaced by a hard-boiled egg masquerading in a nylon stocking. Dare I ask if you are pioneering a new, cutting-edge fashion here?
Ben: Oh, you are SO droll. It would be amusing, but improbable, for me to have that kind of discretionary time and energy! No, no, I’m afraid this is not really quite such a jolly little diversion as that.
Ed.: Oh, I’m sorry. What happened?
Ben: What, indeed? It remains a mystery, don’t you know?
Ed. No, I don’t know…that’s why I’m asking….
Ben: All right, I see the lilting, jocular atmosphere here has abruptly dissipated. I somehow developed a honking large, ugly, red and very painfully throbbing infection in my left thumb. My thumb didn’t even know itself anymore. It was even making it hard for me to sleep…
Ed. How dare it?
Ben: Infections have no sense of propriety or proportion anymore. Ours is a coarse society. But, I digress.
Ed. I understand this has been ‘cooking’ for a good week and a half already and that you are finishing a second course of antibiotics…
Ben: True, and true. If only they had punch cards for every time you go to the walk-in clinic or primary doctor….you know, good for free vats of chocolate milk or something charming like that…
Ed.: But at the moment, you have an egg on your thumb.
Ben: (sigh) – It is not literally an egg. It is a multi-layered sculpture of colorful organic material (encoded with my own DNA), Betadyne, antiseptic ointment-saturated dressings, and several miles of cotton gauze, overlaid with this stretchy beigey stuff. I really don’t think this look would work for you…just sayin.’
Ed. (pretending to be crestfallen): You have a unique gift for improbable fashion statements.
Ed. Without betraying any trade secrets, how did you arrive at this new look?
Ben: Well, it all took place in a little treatment room at Rockford Orthopedic Associates, just down the hall from where I used to meet with Dr. Green Bay to do follow up on my right knee after it was laid open last December (08). As my thumb became abscessed and was not responding quickly to the (did I mention, expensive?) antibiotics, Dr. B decided yesterday that I needed to have it surgically drained. Which is his silly little way of saying, ‘ having your finger sliced open and making a mess.’
Ed. Is there any truth to the whispered murmurings we’ve heard that exclamations and even an expletive were heard from your treatment room?
Ben: Well, I never!!!! Heh-heh. Okay, I’ll come clean. That needle was a long sucker…longer than the syringe. D., the physician’s assistant ‘shot’ straight with me (pun intended) when I asked him if it would hurt, but he’s still guilty of understatement. I mean, I was amazed not to see that thing coming out the other side of my hand.
Ed.: But this was just necessary to numb the area, correct?
Ben: That’s what they all say. It’s a racket. I think actually it’s an enhanced interrogation tactic from the CIA that they’ve adapted for trusting patients. They torment you so much with the anesthetic injection that nothing they do afterward will make you bat an eye. Anyway, I am quite sure that any display I made did not exceed the mortification elicited in my long-suffering mom at my fifth-grade school physical...but that’s another story for another time...perhaps another epoch...
Ed: Well, to conclude, was this an effective enterprise today?
Ben: One can only hope. A disgusting amount of ‘material’ was ‘expressed’ out of little Thumbkin here, and it no longer throbs. Now comes the At-Home Therapy!
Ed: Gracious! What does this entail?
Ben: Well, for one thing *twinkle* a shot glass…
Ben: OK, it’s really not that fun. A few times a day I have to dunk my thumb, yes, like a donut, into a shot glass full of a 50-50 water and hydrogen peroxide solution to try to banish the last of these brazen bacteria that had been encapsuled behind my thumb nail. And when THAT’S not enough fun, I get to do more glucochecks, because this silly thing has made my blood sugar readings go up.
About all I can say is that the day was not a total loss: after my ordeal, my maternal chauffeur treated me to Steak-n-Shake. But next time, I’ll just stay healthy and pay my own way…