Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Hospital Chronicles Part VI: A Flash of Stupidity

OK, I know my readership is probably going into Hospital Chronicle withdrawl...what, you're not? Damn! Got to work on making my writing more riveting! Anyway, here is the latest installment.

This was a difficult post for me to write since it involves me doing something really stupid. That's arguably the case with my last three or four hospital visits that I've chronicled here, I know, but at least I had the defense in those of saying I was only a kid when they happened. This event happened when I was 19, about six years after my Car Crash incident.

I was living away from home at college, and it was nearing the end of the fall term of my sophmore year. I was really unhappy with where I was attending and what I was studying...and feeling some pressure from a certain group of people I was taking classes with to do better. All of which may have contributed to what I did...or maybe not. At any rate, one evening a fellow student said something that really really upset me and instead of confronting him directly, I stewed over it for a few minutes and ended up punching a wall. This was definitely not a smart course of action, as I'm sure you'll all agree. I got reminded of this many, many times in the following weeks, starting at the hospital.

An x-ray determined that I had fractured the last two knuckles on my left hand. They made a half cast to immobilize the pinky and ring finger of that hand, along with my wrist. All in all, it wasn't a bad cast, and it was removable since it was just wrapped with an ace bandage, so I could take it off when I used the shower. The ER doctor, who was oriental, advised me for the future to hit immobile objects karate-chop style, since your hand can absorb more force that way. Not bad advice, I suppose. Fortunately, I did learn my lesson, and haven't been tempted to take out my frustrations on any walls since then.

One thing that got REALLY old while my hand was healing was people who would ask what I'd done to my hand. When I explained how it happened, the invariable response was, "Well, that was pretty stupid, wasn't it?" This response made me feel like doing something else stupid with my good hand, so I eventually started ignoring people who asked the question, or I'd make up some other story.

My hand ultimately healed with no complications, no surgery or other nastiness required. As an interesting side effect, the two fingers on my left hand are now slightly more flexible than on my right hand. I can easily put my ring finger over my pinky using my left hand, which I can't do with my right one. Strange.

Since I was (and still am) left-handed, and finals were coming up, I got to learn how to write balancing my half-cast on a piece of paper. I didn't do extremely well in the finals, but considering my general dissatisfaction with that university and my program of study, it's probably understandable. I ultimately decided to leave college and enlist in the Air Force, but I did get my degree eventually, from a different university.


Marvo said...

During my sophomore year in college, I did my fair share of wall punching. I never broke any bones, but I do have a lot of scars around the knuckle area. Nowadays, I don't punch walls when I'm upset, I breathe. One...Two...Breathe in...Hold...Two...Three...Four...Exhale.

Chuck said...

Glad you were luckier than me, Marvo...I unfortunately chose a wall that looked like plaster but was actually made out of CONCRETE. Oh and learn.

Magazine Man said...

No one feels stupider about a "stupid" injury than person who has it.

At least you didn't shoot yourself in the foot, like my brother did. And boy, did he feel stupid writing about it.

Well, actually come to think of it, he may have felt stupid because I was the one who wrote about it, not him...

Chuck said...

I remember that story, MM! I'm sure your brother felt embarassed, but I imagine he learned his lesson also. That's one thing about stupid don't forget about them!

Thimbelle said...

Oh - you *have* to make up a story when you do something stupid.

The more outrageous the better.

When I broke my ankle, because I stepped in a pothole at the fairgrounds, I told people all sorts of stories - from the completely absurd to the slightly believeable.

Have fun with your stupidity, I say! Lie with impunity, and be creative!

T. :)

Chuck said...

Thanks thimbelle! I think you are entirely correct about making up stories to cover for stupid stuff you've problem is, I'm always too honest. But after that experience, I'm not honest about stupid accidents.

Katie said...

I friend of mine once sprained her wrist doing something stupid while driving. She'd come to visit, told me what happened and ordered me to never tell another living soul what she'd done. Later when we meet another friend who asked what she'd done to her hand I said, with a perfectly straight face: "Pirates. There was a large battle involving cutlasses. It was epic, worth of Errol Flynn."

If you create a fantastic enough tale no-one bothers asking what the real story is *grin*

Suldog said...


Good stupid story. It's right up there with my own hand-breaking incident. Good work. We'll beat those walls and desks yet, brother. We shall overcome!