I miss my finger tip. I have a case of phantom tip. It hurts a lot and yet it is no longer there. I am palpably pumping every second or so through my tip and, when I bump into something with it, the pain is remarkably intense for something that looks like a little dot of red currently. For day now, my middle finger has been warm—warmer than all of the others—noticeably warmer to the touch. And red, and swollen, and misshapen on the top. I look at its deformity and feel sad for the lost part. I feel loss for the lost tip of my finger. And for the shape it used to give me. I wonder how many more days it will be until I can do yoga, or play violin. After all, this is what I have planned for myself over the next 10 days or so. And meanwhile, my lost finger tip is taking up so much room. It is making itself known to me with every limitation and every surge of pain when I touch something head on with my left middle finger. It is an impressive wound, for one so small, and with so relatively few drops of blood. On the other hand (not really the other hand but you know what I mean), it is healing so very fast. My body is working hard to fill in the deep red raw flesh wound with new layers of skin. New thick covering to protect me from the world. It is amazing how well it is doing really. My body is creating new skin where I sliced it all off. It reminds me of the stories about Grandpa’s lung removal. The surgeon peeled back the membrane which covered his ribs, peeled them right back all the way, and then cut his ribs to be able to remove the diseased lung. Then they placed the empty membranes, one by one back in place, more or less, and attached the end to his sternum. Over time, I do not know how long, his bones grew back–in the centre of the membrane, all the way to the end, to join his sternum. I remember seeing how his rib cage was not curved but flat. He too was deformed by his injury and disease, but the body grew its bones back. And my finger is making skin out of nothing–just life-force–the body’s own desire to survive and to live. Skin that will protect me from infection, and allow me to play violin and do all of the other things I do in a day. Which is a lot, but a lot less than when the kids were small and I was so much more alone with the housework than now. This time, with this injury, I am actually able to heal quite quickly because another person is actually around to do a lot of the wet work which would have interfered with the healing process. When the kids were small, my hand wounds would take forever to heal because I could not not get my hands wet–there was food to prepare, and there were dishes to wash, and faces to wash and laundry to wash, and to rest for even a day led to a paralysing disaster in the house. So I kept things going. And my wounds didn’t heal. They festered.
Today, I am grateful that I am not alone in my house, and my kitchen, and that I can keep my left hand dry for long enough for it to heal. Thank you my love, LJM. Thank you body. I love you both.