May 21, 2021

Its smashing

Years ago when I worked at the Country Doctor Community Clinic in Seattle, we would do call for a week at a time, rounding daily on our hospitalized patients and on call for our OB patients on the weekend. Arriving late one morning after rounding, the nurse was waiting for me to review some urgent matters. It turned out, no other doctors were in that day and she had been waiting for me, instead of paging me. I leaned over to listen carefully, hanging onto the doorway. Just then an MA passed with a patient to room them and closed the door, which happened to have my finger in it. Apparently, my scream was heard through out the clinic. I went into an exam room to run water over my finger, crying loudly. All I could think of was playing my fiddle that morning before leaving and fingering a tune with that left middle finger. I was afraid I’d never fiddle again, or at least not for a very long time. This was a time in my life when fiddling was my solace, especially during my call week.

Bob, the PA working that day, came into the exam room and said, in his understated fashion, “Betsy, get a hold of yourself. You are the only one here who knows what to do”. That did it. I calmed down and realized I needed to get to the ER to get an X-ray to rule out a fracture. And back to the hospital I went. Eventually, my finger healed and I was able to play again, although it did get infected after I delivered three babies in a row on call a couple days later, slowing down my recovery.

I was reminded of that today, after I once again smashed that same finger. This time when closing the garage door. My crying was heard only by me, since Jamie was away. Eventually, I stopped crying and was able to assess the situation. Jamie walked in while I was burning a hole in my nail to relieve the hematoma. No ER visit this time. My big dilemma was to ice or not. I chose ice, despite new data showing that ice may slow down healing of some muscle injuries. It sure did help with the pain. The timing of these things are never good, but grateful that I didn’t have a gig next week at Folklife. I should heal up by the time I meet with friends for tunes in a few weeks.

We are all starting to return to a more normal life as more and more are vaccinated, but still there are worries and limitations. The new CDC masking recommendations have been questioned by many, because still so many have not received theirs yet, meaning still so many are vulnerable. Add to that the news of the New York Yankees COVID-19 outbreak. Eight coaches, staff, and a player tested positive despite being vaccinated. This news can make one wonder if the vaccines work. When you look into it more, you realize that this outbreak is reassuring. One person had mild symptoms and tested positive. The others also tested positive later but never developed symptoms. Three articles are linked below that explain well why this is not a failure of the vaccines. The Yankees are testing three times a day, using the PCR tests that can detect even a small amount of viral molecules, but doesn’t show if they are enough of a viral load to transmit infection. These are not the usual breakthrough cases that we hear about because they may have only been detected because of such frequent testing. At least one of the links listed will not have a pay firewall, so read them if you want to understand better.

The CDC has said that we should all defer to our local situation and health department regarding masking. I want to continue to protect the vulnerable. The Washington Post has an excellent interactive showing how the unvaccinated are still vulnerable to COVID-19. Many of these unvaccinated are not due to vaccine resistance- many have not been able to get theirs yet for other reasons. Masking up is still helpful for their sake.

Wash your hands, cover your nose around others if they are vulnerable, and don’t smash your fingers.