thw nrw normal

So, this is me. Typing without a middle fingef on my lft han. This is what it’s like to type with a plastic pointy apparatus — a splint to b4 exact. Wow! I sure use that middle left finger for a lot fo keys. But look at how goor I’m getting — I’m starting to finagle this. Here and ther.

So Monday late afternoon (I’m going to focus harder now), I was spot cleaning the rug in Isabel’s room. She had eaten a fudge pop in the midst of a chaotic afternoon which meant she was wandering around eating it which as we all know is pretty much a death wish when it comes to me and my psychotic need for clean floors (to know me is to love me). Why would I not put her at the dining room table to have her eat it? That’s… a no brainer. It was one of those times, where you are handing Child F something so you can take care of the needs of Child C (while telling Child B and D to stop the bickering or you will make them write a page of scripture. Again.)

Isabel came and found me at some point with the popsicle stick and I knew it was time for a seek-and-recover mission (not seek and rescue) as that fudge pop was now most likely some giant puddle of sticky. I found the mess in her room, several large spots of chocolate on her (mostly) white rug. So while I was on the phone with our neighbor Tom discussing some new neighbors in the rental unit across the street (sigh. long story) I was spot cleaning the rug and I felt this POP.

Just like that, no pain. Just a pop in my left middle finger. I kept listening to Tom while I picked up my hand to inspect and what the heck the tip of my finger was pointing straight down. I couldn’t move the finger, it felt like a charlie horse (without the pain) and try as I might I couldn’t maneuver it. At. All.

“Um, Tom,” I said, “I just did something to my finger. I need to go.”

I hung up and took a breath and decided, okay, there is no need to freak out? Right? There is NO! NEED! TO FREAK OUT. But there was. There was totally a need to freak out because the top of my finger was just dangling there and I couldn’t move anything.

Long story short (this is the part where yadda yadda yadda me calling my husband and my parents and my friend Bill the Doctor who I now owe a large bottle of something high in alcoholic proof) and we figured out that I had torn the tendon in my finger. I had torn the tendon spot cleaning the rug. Lame.

Our friend Dave (another of Paul’s old roommates, along with Bill and Fr. Tim and some other guys) is a hand specialist occupational therapist. Which I always thought was, you know, interesting or whatever. I mean, it’s cool, but honestly just never gave it too much thought. Y’all, Dave is the greatest person in all the land (right up with all those other folks listed above who had to field frantic phone calls from me about my freaky finger and could we all just converge immediately in my driveway where I am currently pacing and trying not to flip my wig).

Dave came over and assessed the situation which was awesome because a) I didn’t have to wait overnight to get things figured out (the thought of my wee little fingertip just sort of dangling there was very likely going to prevent me from slumber) and b) this has helped me side-step (Lord willing) a whole relationship with an orthopedist’s office. Dave told me what to get at the drug store so my dad drove me there (me clutching my left hand to keep freaky finger in place, stay freaky finger, stay). And then Dave came over a while later and came up with a plan.

All day yesterday I wore this contraption and I won’t lie, I started feeling really sorry for myself. Dave said this is a six-week recovery and I felt like the world was coming to an end. Can you imagine? Some people have real problems and me, I can barely handle the thought of six weeks in a finger-brace.

Here was yesterday, which made my professional obligations almost kaput (the laundry wasn’t looking too hot either):

less than subtle

And then last night Dave came back with a splint that we fitted and now life is a lot better. It’s not going to be nearly as bad as I thought:

it’s like a little croc, but for my finger

I am feeling very Margot Tenenbaum, minus all the secrets.


  1. Is it a mallet fracture? I did 8 weeks in a splint at the beginning of the summer, and it wasn’t really all that bad. It goes pretty fast. It’s amazing that I learned a whole new way of typing! I still don’t use the finger as much and it’s been over 3 months!

    • Yes! Mallet, but not fracture I think since it’s tendon. but my finger totally looks like what a mallet fracture looks like. Glad to hear this will get easier.

      I have been meaning to email — I read your column this week! Great work!

  2. Too bad they don’t make jibbitz for the “crocs” finger splints!

  3. My middle child, who can now dunk a basketball, was showing off his new skill at the local grade school’s outside basketball court. He ripped a smile-shaped gash in one finger doing this. He had 9 stitches and a giant splint. The worst part? He only had his learner’s permit for a few weeks when he injured his finger and couldn’t drive with the splint! All is well now!

  4. Rachel, I’m so sorry about your finger, but this post is wicked funny. I spit all over my screen! I hope your recovery goes by quickly!

  5. Superb movie reference (and superb movie)!

    Did any of your conversations with your children after things settled down go like this?

    Ari: [about Margot’s severed finger] Did you try to sew it back on?
    Margot: Wasn’t worth it.

  6. I know it’s not funny. But it’s funny! You can use this on Isabel when she’s older when you need some guilt-inducing event.

  7. my friend, you are fun-ny! that last line about margot made me tear up with laughter. praying for a speedy recovery! 🙂 just keep imagining a wooden one and i think it will go quicker than you anticipate!

  8. Who knew spot-cleaning a rug was a full contact sport?

    Your story was totally hilarious! Thank you for sharing. And, will pray for you. Thank goodness for great friends and neighbors!

  9. That was great typing for having one less finger! They should make those splints in fashionable colors!

  10. Rach, same thing happened to my pinky on my left hand. Wore same kind of splint for a few weeks then couldn’t bend my finger so stopped wearing it. Now my finger just is bent down all the time. Doesn’t hurt but looks weird. Sooooo persevere. Amazing how much we take for granted about our bodies.

  11. I did the same thing about 10 years back. An even lamer moment: I was pushing the trash down into the kitchen pail so I could take the bag out to the garage. POP! went my pinky finger. When I got to the ER the ortho doc told me… it’s a good thing I wasn’t a major league pitcher cuz this is a career-ending injury. For me, it eventually healed, but it was difficult to rehab it enough so I could go back to playing guitar with that pinky on my left hand. I regret to say that years of string pressure that followed put a wicked little curl at the tip of that pinky, but the alternative of not playing because the finger had not mended well would have been worse.

    Loved your pics. Get a hand evaluation from a hand specialist if you are a musician. Or if you wanna pitch in the majors. Other than that — happy healing!

  12. OUCH!!!!
    Speaking as a Mom of twenty somethings: A long time ago (like 15 years and my kids were all in grade school) I broke my little toe. Our laundry was in the basement and after trying to hobble down the stairs with laundry baskets my kids came to the rescue and that weekend they all insisted on learning how to sort colors, fill the tub and run the dryer! It was so awesome! From that time on they did the laundry and only once or twice had pink underwear!! Maybe you could get out of some cooking time??