Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Finger Rot Disease

I seem to be falling apart at a faster rate than usual these days.

Mostly it’s my left hand, which calls to mind an old Paul Simon lyric that I’ll just let those so motivated figure out.

That’s the hand that was diagnosed with arthritis earlier this year. I went in for physical therapy after that and they basically said, “Well, sucks to be you!” and told me that it probably wouldn’t work but I was welcome to keep trying anyway. And they were right. It didn’t really work. My pinkie finger can only bend about halfway now, and the ring finger about three-quarters. This is a bummer of a thing to forget when you’re half asleep and for reasons that probably made sense in whatever semi-waking thought process you were having you feel a need to make a fist of some kind. That wakes a body up quick, yes it does.

On Monday I noticed a hard bump on the index finger of that hand. It didn’t hurt or interfere with movement that I could tell – as the arthritis spreads that last one is a bit tricky – but neither did it appear to be temporary.

“Great,” I thought. “I’m probably going to die from something stupid like Finger Rot Disease.”

So after two frantically full days of seeing students who were trying to register for spring classes, I finally found some time this morning to go to Urgent Care to have that looked at.

Because I don’t have a primary care doctor right now.

Yes, I am one of the fortunate few here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Uninsured who has a job that provides health benefits, but I also have a tendency to pick primary care doctors who retire quickly even if they are younger than I am. I’ve had three of them do that in the last decade, the most recent being about two months ago, and I have not had time or spoons to begin the search process again.

I’m also due for an eye exam as well. So many appointments. I might have time to start these searches in May or possibly 2025.

So off to the Urgent Care I went.

Urgent Care places are fascinating, especially when you’re there for something that is, in all likelihood, not that urgent. You sit there, doing whatever it is you do to pass the time, and you watch the parade of people who are more Urgent than you are go by and you can be annoyed by the wait or glad that you’re not worth bumping up to the front of the line and to be honest I’m annoyed by enough things these days so I’ll try to be glad for this one.

I managed to hit Genius level on the NYT Spelling Bee puzzle while I sat there, which is always my goal with that puzzle. It’s basically Boggle with fewer letters and one letter you have to use in all your words, and you can go on from Genius to Queen Bee if you get all the possible words but that always seems a bridge too far for me. I get to Genius and I’m done. Oliver does this puzzle too, and we compare notes. He’s better at it than I am most days but I can still give him a run for his money.

I also got the Wordle, which is something that all four of us do. We still post them in a group chat whenever we remember, and that’s a nice way to touch base.

Eventually they called me in, did the usual 20-Questions for intake, and I sat there until a PA came in to check it out. “Yeah,” she said after about 8 seconds (the joy of professional knowledge!), “that’s a ganglion cyst.”

Apparently they’re basically harmless unless they get infected or start to hurt for some other reason, so as long as it just sits there as it is I can ignore it. This is my favorite kind of healthcare advice.

So no Finger Rot Disease this time, and for that I suppose I am thankful.

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