Last week I injured my thumb. Specifically, the area where my right thumb joins my wrist. After a few days of non-improvement despite rest (sort of), ice, Aleve, and an Ace bandage, I went to my doctor, who diagnosed it as tendonitis and said keep doing what I was doing and it would be better in a week. If not, it might be gout, so I should see him again. I rejected gout as too old-fashioned – something one of my professors called “a literary disease” because it occurred in novels written centuries ago.
It was not a bad injury, especially when compared to Kim’s chronic pain or what’s happening to the people in Ukraine when Russian soldiers invade. It was more like “discomfort” than real pain. Kim asked me to rate it from 1 – 10, and I gave it a 5 or 6. Knowing me, she probably adjusted my number to a 2 or 3.
But still, I decided that I needed to rest my thumb, which means not use it, and suddenly I became aware of how often I use it.
· buttoning a shirt or my jeans
· opening a bottle
· using a pen
· eating with a knife, fork, or spoon
· applying my thumb to my Mac so I don’t need to remember and type passwords
· opening my iPhone
· giving Kim a back massage
· turning the key to start my car or open the front door
· brushing my teeth
· tying my shoes
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not really complaining, and my thumb is improving daily. No, I’m just newly appreciative of all that I/we can do with our opposable thumbs. Whoever or Whatever came up with this idea deserves a lot of credit. No wonder we have evolved so successfully (though recent events make me question that last statement). I give the Creator two thumbs up!
My semi-disabled thumb makes me appreciate some of the other physical things we have going on. Think about the little hormone that tells our bodies to stop salivating when we go to sleep. Think about how seldom we actually bite our tongue. Or cuts that turn into scabs. Or directional hearing, where the minute time differential between a sound’s reaching the right and left ear indicates the direction the sound came from! This is amazing enough, without even mentioning the eye, or childbirth. Being alive and reasonably healthy is miraculous – nothing to thumb your nose at.