I have had many nicknames during my lifetime. Freddie, of course, is my everyday nickname. Freeka, my blog name. My mom used to call me Reeculous Ticklehoufer. I liked that name. Mainly because it came from my mom and it was just…ridiculous.
Perhaps the silliest nickname I ever acquired was, ‘Fred the Bed.’ That came from my best girlfriends at summer horse camp. I don’t think there was any relevance, or event, or behavior behind it. Just that it rhymed. These grown women still call me that. Good thing they don’t live nearby.
I share this as a preface to another dumb poem I wrote. It’s part Dr Suess and part explanation as to where the heck I’ve been all summer.
While most people kick off their summer around the Fourth of July, my happy season…my joy…my summer giddiness, came to an abrupt end that memorable weekend.
Hark ye revelers…for the story of my bum thumb…
Yup..I broke my thumb falling off an ATV in Pennsylvania, going zero miles an hour. My right thumb no less. My favorite, most cherished thumb. The one that makes me a right-handed human being.
I was riding tandem, looking for photo opps, when my nephew’s girlfriend tried to turn the ATV around going up a steep embankment. As it started to roll, I elbowed my camera bag over my left shoulder and took the downhill fall with all my weight on my right hand.
CRUNCH went my thumb….followed by LOUD, NAUGHTY words that frightened the wildlife. (animal wildlife…well ok, maybe Katie too)
Here is my chauffeur, Katie, having a blast without a passenger. Behind her is the seat I fell from. Lemme tell ya…riding tandem stinks! Said Fred the Bed
Why is my thumb so Red?
Could it be Broke?
Am I Awoke?Said the Thumb
You are so Dumb!
I am about to Croak
And you just Spoke?
X-rays in Pennsylvania revealed a broken Bennett bone. That’s the bone that hinges the thumb to the rest of the hand. The bone that allows twisting, pinching, squeezing…as in the ability to brush my teeth, use a pitchfork, or wipe my butt right-handed.
Uh boy. It’s gonna be a long summer.
Said Fred the Bed
You are messing with my Head
It’s the Fourth of July
Please don’t lie.
The Yankee doctor fixed me up with a splint so I could drive the ten hours back home to my favorite Southern bone doctors. Because of the holiday weekend, and more X-rays with the Boone Ortho doctors, I didn’t have surgery until a week later.
I had the best nurse. She told me to remove my earrings and watch and any loose teeth. Then she asked a series of questions, including the standard. On a scale of 1-10…what is your pain level? On a scale of 1-10…I think they asked me at least eleven times in four hours.
Finally, she asked if I was comfortable and apologized for the long delay. Then another nurse asked another round of questions starting with the famous 1-10 pain scale opener. She concluded by asking me if I felt like hurting anyone, including myself. Whaaaa?
Now why would she ask that?Moments later…they took away my cell phone…then my thumb.Next thing I knew…there was Recluse Man in a fuzzy-wuzzy world…Said the Thumb
Play your own Drum
But wear this stiff Splint
Like a message in Cement
Oh to hell with my thumb. My hand was very swollen, my fingers were black and blue, and I had a deep wound on my outer pinky from the first splint pinching so hard.
(Outer pinky. I like that. “Hey there…wanna see my outer pinky?”…or… “OK to bring my outer pinky along?”…or…”Wow…my outer pinky is shedding!”)
Yeah…to hell with my thumb…I was feeling no pain with those big, white pills they gave me.
I decorated my splint…
…and hung out with the tribe…
It felt so goofy-good to be home post-surgery. Did I mention those white pills?
One day Recluse Man was painting the barn…
…when Pockets and I decided to get in on the fun…
That wonkey ponkey!!
Dang…she figured out the self-timer?
We had a blast!
…just ask Star…
Red roller, red roller…send Lily back over…
Then one day the white pills ran out and reality set in.
May I mention the frustration from trying to use a mouse left-handed with a big-fat-right-bum thumb on the keyboard. Or getting a lefty fork all neat inside my mouth without stabbing or slobbering. Or brushing my teeth…or…tying shoelaces…buttoning… unscrewing… doorhandles… knives…cast iron pans…and OMG…showering with a plastic grocery bag up to my elbow, trying to squirt out shampoo and lather one-handed.
Maybe the worst part was how much it hurt to hold my Nikons for long. Like more than three frames.
I have even greater respect now, for all those who have found ways to overcome limb and appendage disabilities. Humans and animals alike.
Said Fred the Bed
To the Thumb she thought Dead
I will Succumb
Just please..once again be my Thumb.
You are the sum of my Yum
My very right Thumb
The strum of my Hum
The opposite of Glum!
One week after surgery, I found myself back at the doc’s office. The nurse removed the splint to reveal the two pins in my hand…I think she left the gauze for effect. I just want you to know I had the following photos full size, until Recluse Man walked by and gagged.
You can thank him for the thumbnail size. It even sounds appropriate…
YIKES! New splint Paleeze!!! My hand was still very swollen and weak…
Three weeks after surgery I went in again for X-rays and a third splint. I shed a handful of skin as I scratched and waited and ignored the ‘no cell phone usage, no photos please’ sign.Meanwhile Recluse Man had to cover me on farm chores. Secretly I was smirking. I don’t think he realized what goes into making the zoo and the farm happy everyday. Poor guy.
We got a lot of rain and the grass grew mightily.I rounded up my own lawnmowers and pitched in…Many days and nights passed…
Then finally six weeks after surgery, the pins came out! It was a little creepy..the thought of actually pulling the pins out. But it was painless and the best part…I was sent home with a removable splint.
The longest pin was 2.5″…dang. I painted my nails in celebration. After all…I was a left-handed pro by then.
I quickly switched to a thumb brace so I could finally use the mouse right-handed…
But something wasn’t right. My thumb was stiff as a clothespin and I thought it might never heal properly. Since childhood I have had a funky, right thumb. It tends to stick or pop at the knuckle. After all those weeks in a splint, it took days of massaging before I got my thumb to pop back into action.
That first pop was a thrilling moment…
Said Fred the Bed
To her comely Thumb
You are not dead but Instead
What a beauty you’ve Become
My long lost Chum!
As a footnote, (great pun…just wait), check out some photos from this Labor Day morning when our farrier worked on the barn gang. Gypsy got two front shoes, one with a pad for some sole-ful healing on her left foot.
As you can see my thumb is working just fine…
Then…whoa boy! Star had his very first shoeing experience. Another sole-ful foot healing, and as long as he was twitched (most humanely), he was the perfect client.
Right Star? Said Fred the Bed…from my thumb…to your thumb…♥♥