Which is Worse?

By: Jane

May 28 2011


Category: Injury/Illness


I have the answer to my question. I took a little poll on Face Book yesterday, asking, “Which is more difficult: using your nondominant hand, or using your dominant hand without the thumb?”. I thought I had a spider bite on my left thumb, (I’m left-handed), which was causing swelling and pain….but at least I had the use if the rest of my hand. Most responders really didn’t think the question mattered as much as getting medical attention. As it turns out, I was wrong, but they were still right. It wasn’t a spider bite. It did require medical attention, though, which I didn’t seek, unfortunately, until my entire hand was swollen and throbbing, and I was 120 miles from home. At midnight. Duh.

The culprit may have been something that stuck me in the hand when I was pulling weeds without gardening gloves.


I’ll never be absolutely certain what caused it, but whatever it was, I have a deep flesh infection which requires antibiotics, pain killers and follow-up medical treatment. I cannot fully open my hand, nor can I close it. All of my fingers hurt, my thumb and pinky are particularly swollen, and my wrist feels like a tendon snapped. All in all, I’d say it feels like I smashed my hand in the car door. (And yes, I do know what that feels like. Duh.).

Last night we’d decided to wait until after 8:00 to head down the shore, to avoid traffic. Just before leaving I was writing in my journal, and noticed that I was having trouble holding the pen. That should have been a red flag right there, but….well….Duh. About an hour into the ride I called my son, who is a Physician’s Assistant. He sounded concerned, and said that I should seek medical help in the morning if it wasn’t any better, and to go directly to the E.R. if it got any worse. Another hour later we decided to go directly to Cape Regional Hospital.

It was packed! But I have to say, they got us in as quickly as possible, treated us very kindly, in spite of the fact that the place was a zoo, and gave me good medical care. After the doctor prescribed meds and told me I needed follow-up care within 48 hours…and sooner if things got any worse…Steve decided that we were going home. So, as it panned out, we took a five-hour excursion just to check out Cape May Courthouse’s hospital. We’ve talked now and then about retiring in Courthouse, which is 2 or 3 miles inland from Stone Harbor. Based on my experience last night, I’d say we have another reason to consider doing that.

The answer to my original question is that it is more difficult to use only your non-dominant hand than to use your dominant hand without using the thumb. I’ve done it both ways now. First of all, it’s my non- dominant hand. You should have seen my signature last night. Unrecognizable. Bet it’s good for the brain though. The other problem is that, for now, it’s my only hand. Try buttering your English Muffin, opening a jar or getting dressed one-handed. Good for a laugh, but it gets old VERY quickly. Especially if the other hand hurts. In addition, my job is about 40% piano playing. That ain’t gonna happen any time soon!

If this weren’t so painful I’d consider milking it for all of the special attention I can get. As it is, I just want it to get better as quickly as possible.


8 comments on “Which is Worse?”

  1. Ouch – sounds painful. I will pray for you an hope the swelling goes down soon. Thank God for well trained children. My daughter Lindsay is a lawyer and we ask her for legal advice all the time.

  2. Jane, Sorry to hear about your hand. An infection isn’t anything to fool
    around with. I am glad you called Ray but it is ashame you were so far
    away from home. It is amazing how fast things get infected. You are lucky
    you didn’t have to be admitted and get IV antibiotics. Please take care of
    it and don’t do too much. Enjoy the nice weather and read a good book.
    I plan to get the book “The Shack” you recommended and will read it this
    summer. I am not much of a book reader, just magazines and cook books
    for me. I will try and read this soon. Take care Jane and if you need me
    just call. Try and enjoy the rest of the Holiday. Mary

  3. Hi Mary,
    Ray’s quite concerned, so I’m definitely getting the impression that this is nothing to fool around with. That, and the fact that it hurts like crazy. He says that if it doesn’t improve by tomorrow admission is a definite possibility. I’m going on 4 hours since my last percoset and the pain is not too bad, so that’s an improvement.
    I think you will like The Shack.I think it’s one of the best books I ever read.
    Thanks, Mary! Have a great Memorial Day!

  4. I hope you get better super fast. It sounds really terrible. 😦

  5. Wow! That sounds terrible! Poor little you! It’s a good thing we have pain to tell us when something is wrong-it’s just not fun. I prayed it does not get worse.

  6. Thanks, Holly. Right now it’s not getting worse, but it’s also not getting better. I have an appointment with a hand surgeon tomorrow that it looks as if I’ll have to keep. Thanks so much for your prayers. I do believe that prayers are what is keeping the pain under control.

  7. omg. I am so sorry. I will be lifting you up in prayer. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

  8. Thank you, Irm. I finally get to see not one, but two doctors tomorrow. It’s been a loooooong weekend, and I really appreciate your prayers.

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