You’re the doc, Doc!

Well, it seems I will be 10-digited again soon.   Hallelujah!



As illustrated in the above before and after pictures, my pinkie is on the mend and I will soon have the use of all 10 of my fingers. I have new-found respect for physically challenged people. And I will never take for granted simple tasks like typing, showering and scratching.

I went to the doctor today expecting another diagnosis like the one from 2 weeks ago, where after having worn a cast for 4 weeks of an initial 6 week diagnosis I was told, not so compassionately, that I would need to continue wearing the cast for another 4 weeks at least because at my age bones do not heal as quickly.

“Demo saa…” I’d sighed.

“Gomen nasai,” Dr. Uchida replied.

So, with no hope I sat in the waiting room for my turn. More x-rays. And then, a miracle! After viewing the above After picture the good doctor says, “Well, it looks like it’s about 50% healed.”

“I see.”

“You will still need to exercise it like so, and slowly it will get back to normal. Maybe another 4 weeks or so.”

“4 weeks!”

“Of course it might be less but…”

Then I realized something he’d said…”Did you say exercise it? How? It’s in a cast!”

“Oh, we will take that off now…”

“Now? You mean right now?” I was caught totally off guard, plus this whole conversation was in Japanese and sometimes the Japanese use vague words while my brain still gets stuck on direct. He pointed to the nurse who was standing behind me with a little hand held electric saw, like something a woodcarver might use.

My god, it was true. I was going to be freed.

“Please, come over here and lie down.”

The sound of the saw put me in the mind of being in a new dentist’s chair, and the way you have to trust that this professional will not make even the slightest mistake  with that drill because the pain would be unbearable, not to mention the blood loss. And this saw was aimed at some vital artery in my wrist. But the good doctor adroitly cut the cast and  removed it revealing a hand that could have been used as a prop in Evil Dead 2. The portion of my hand that had been in the cast was about 5 shades darker than the rest of my hand and felt stiff and lifeless. It was scary. Like rigor mortis and gangrene had teamed up to beat the hell out of it.

“What’s wrong with it, Sensei?” He momentarily revealed his own distaste. Maybe he had done this procedure a thousand times but I could bet he’d never seen a black person’s hand after a prolonged period encased in cement before. He even stuttered like he was beholding a kami-forsaken oddity.

Yes, he scared the hell out of me!

“Umm, well, er, once we wash it it should be better…”

“You’re the doc, doc,” I said in English, a la Michael J. Fox in Back to the future, but he didn’t catch the reference. I’d always wanted to use that line but never had the chance.

It seemed I had accumulated over the weeks several layers of dead skin and an indecent amount of dirt and grime. But, Doc was right of course, and a little hot water and soap remedied that. It peeled off in gooey clumps like a wet paper towel does when you use it to remove a stain on a carpet. The nurse did this and she too could hardly hide her disgust behind her plastic smile. I felt for her.

Once that ugly task was done he put it in a splint which he explained I could remove to wash  and exercise it anytime.

“Thanks, doc,” I said. “This is great timing, actually.”

“Why is that?”

“Friday, I’m going to China!”


coming soon…The road to China

7 Responses to “You’re the doc, Doc!”

  1. 1 Vin
    July 30, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Oh cool, you’re going to a country that sets the bar for racial equality and understanding–China! XD ha ha ha

    I don’t know how many times you’ve been, or how much Chinese you know, but it’ll be useful to know, “黑人”, “hei ren” = “black person”. Actually, it might be better to not know any Chinese at all. That way it’s still possible to admire and respect their culture. XD hwa ha ha

    That was one hell of a break! Nice to see it’s healing up. Can’t wait to read about your trip to China.

  2. 2 Kevin
    July 30, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Being that health care is such the topic event in our native homeland, I’m surprised to see that you neglected the opportunity to call out the cost of your broken pinky and healing.
    I’m always pleasantly surprised at the cost of the bill here when I’m able to use my national health care coverage. I always end up calling someone in the US and telling them and I had this or that and it only was only this little.
    Congrats on the quick healing and safe travels to China. Looking forward to your next posts.

  3. 4 Aka Gaijin
    July 31, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Glad to hear that you’re almost fully mended…


  4. August 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    ick – I am glad you are on the way to recovery – too bad you got to use a quote and it was lost! Have fun in China – that is definitely on my list of to do in the next 10 months….

  5. 6 deanS
    August 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    A limb newly revealed I’m sure is always an odd thing to behold. My son managed to break his arm on the 2nd day of kindergarten and the reveal was amazing to look at and smell for a 5 year old’s arm. It took 2 washings to clean it all up in the end(1 at the docs office ,2 in the bath) and yeah that saw is pretty freaky.

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