Thursday, August 21, 2008

NO MAN'S LAND/one hand clapping?

(warning--images in this posting are slightly graphic)Three weeks ago I had an operation to fix two severed tendons on my left hand. The accident was preventable, yet unexpected. I was caught offguard, and life changed instantly, reminding me vividly of the fragile way we walk a thin line of safety and luck amidst a vast, dangerous environment. Tendon repair surgery is difficult to perform and to recover from. Classic medical training has sectioned the tendons of the hand into three zones, each with a varying level of success at regaining function. Until advances in recent decades, the red area was dubbed "no man's Land", where no amount of skill on the part of the surgeon could guarantee that the fingers would ever work again. My cuts fell directly in the red. The incision in the "orange" area is simply where the ends were located and retrieved.
The way that tendons are strung through our bodies is like the way that thread must be passed through a sewing machine to make it work. The complexity amazes me. Apparently at the place where your fingers bend on the underside of your hand, the tendons pass just below the skin, and can be cut by even a shallow scratch. What I did was deep, and the ER people knew instantly what had happened. 1 week

It took 5 hours of surgery to restring things. If looking at this picture makes you squeamish, imagine the constant, actual sensation that I've enjoyed for almost a month. This is a sensitive area, and I can assure you it feels worse than it looks.Experiencing this kind of pain takes away the fluffy veil that most days come wrapped in. The kinds of things you read about in the news feel less distant when you're experiencing the same throbbing sensations as the latest victims of the most recent explosions.
The human body is a miracle, working to heal whatever wrongs occur. It is selfless and tireless and magical, and my faith in biology is gigantic. The way we choose to use these magnificent bodies is often unfortunate, our actions contributing only shame to an otherwise flawless creation. Most days I conclude that it's much easier to love us than it is to love ourselves. In reaction, I've tended in life to distance myself from the "normal", perhaps alienating myself from the larger whole, yet at the same time trustfully relying on myself and other, solid, like-minded friends to create bubbles of sanity within the vast madness.
The medical system is an entity I've grown to mistrust due to the constant barrage of pharmaceutical advertisements on TV. The drug dealers seem to have paid-off or strong-armed every aspect of the system, and I have chosen to remain wary of what seems like a dangerous experiment being performed on the entire population under the guise of helping but, like most other corporate maneuvers, actually done in the name of profits alone. Without intervention, however, my tendons would never have healed, retracting like rubber bands deep into my arm, so now I found myself groveling at their feet, asking for emergency assistance which they were obligated to provide. In the end, my faith remains low, not due to the level of competence, but based rather upon the necessity of money to accomplish anything and everything.
2 weeks

Of all the mistakes humans have made, putting our faith in money has by far been our most detrimental decision. It makes me sick to think of the amount of time that is wasted by people doing nothing but earning money, especially compared with the potential that we could realize if we were motivated by other, less trivial factors, like want or need. All the world's ills could undoubtedly be solved by our species save for the moment when the bill arrives.
I wonder if sometime, while examining the archaeological evidence with deeper, more sophisticated technology, our scientists will discover that the dinosaurs actually perished due to poverty and economic collapse, not some asteroid at all. Conversely, I would not be surprised to read tomorrow that medical researchers have discovered that biology is also motivated by a microscopic monetary system and that cells start to age most rapidly when they begin to fall behind on their loan payments and organs shut down due to repossession. We treat money like it's a natural process when in fact it is our invention: a tool we've learned to use and an idea we've accepted.
3 weeks

When I had the stitches removed, the pain was excruciating, 40 slivers in a row, pulled from deep inside my skin. No anesthetic was offered, as I have no insurance. For 20 minutes I gripped my arm tight with the good hand and clenched my teeth. Now is the crucial time to begin mobility exercises, and this morning I had an appointment to have a new splint fabricated and begin physical therapy. Doctor's orders.
When I arrived at the hospital, however, I was turned away, for not being able to pay on the spot and owing too much already. "Come back next week", they said, "if you manage to make an arrangement." After 4 weeks of missed work, this does not seem likely. Again, my faith dims in humanity and I'm left to fend for myself, wondering what went wrong and longing to be caught in a parallel universe where decisions are based on logic and ability rather than cost and budget. Everytime I try to imagine why money is valued over life, I come up answerless. It's an overwhelmingly perplexing, yet inescapable, problem we share. Oh well, it could be worse... and at least 8 fingers are okay...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well dude the way u percived the world is totally right every one is after money and fame......its very disheartning that the much needed help was not provided to u....but what is the purpose of life why are we in this world what is my goal and what i have achived are the question the man is not able to answer and his life ends and he is in front of god to face his trail(life after death is the real life)nothing is the life of this world but mere play and amusement-al quran(the word of god)