The Hand Guy


Recently while attempting to drill out a steel pin the drill bit broke. The drill with the broken bit jumped and drilled into my wrist up to the chuck. I pulled it out and while it bled a little it seemed to be a nice clean puncture wound. With a few unprintable comments about Chinese drill bits I continued with a new bit. At first there was no pain but by about an hour later it was sufficiently painful for me to suggest to my wife that she drive me to the hospital - given my belief that only sick people go to hospital, this was a tough decision indeed.


We duly arrived and so began the wait/interrogation cycle, fortunately I had had sufficient foresight to bring a book. An initial inspection and, when asked on a scale of ten, I described the pain as eleven - now scales are a bit of a hobby horse of mine so I resisted the temptation to ask if it was an ordinal or cardinal scale since I was confident that such a question would have gone through to the keeper. Anyway my answer resulted in a dose of drugs that removed the pain altogether. Things were looking so good that at the next interrogation I suggested a band aid and I would depart. This was greeted with astonished silence and in a shocked voice my interrogator said no you have to see the Registrar.


My interactions with staff had clearly had a result. This was without doubt a senior highly skilled interrogator sent to cross examine me thoroughly. Within minutes I realised that I had met a professional and that this was going to be a tricky battle of wits. I adopted the traditional approach and answered each question, after due consideration, monosyllabically. Then we got to the really tricky ones, are you right or left handed ? Obviously I had to answer very carefully so I said - I change gears with my left hand - I did not want my left hand to be considered inferior to my right and thus unworthy of full treatment. She looked at me a little strangely and then asked - are you taking any medications ? Surely she was not casting aspersions on my mental acuity ? While I was considering a suitably scathing reply, she suddenly said - look we women like people to talk to us, it is what we enjoy. I replied - I should have brought chocolate - she laughed and the rest of the interrogation passed swimmingly. I realised later that she had beaten me hands down, I had fallen for the "nice guy" routine !


Now followed an interminable round of x-rays and ultrasound. Luckily the x-ray guy was male and the conversation was limited to nods and grunts, however the ultrasound girl was a different story. A friend of mine described these young females as 'haveachats' which I think to be a succinct accurate label. When not talking to (at?) me she was talking on her phone so in the space of forty minutes I got all her biographical details plus a good synopsis of her current social life. Hey I was bored so I listened which was I must admit only slightly less boring.


Sometime later (about two chapters), I was approached again by the chief interrogator, the tricky 'nice' one. I was not about to be taken in a second time so I was on my guard. Her opening gambit was - you may have been lucky. Now it seemed to me that I had been unlucky but I held my tongue. We think (always the royal plural in medical speak) that you have missed the tendons but are concerned that you may have nicked the tendon sheath and we will need to go in and have a look. While I am wrestling with the problem of how many the 'we' represented that were going in, she continued - The Hand Guy wants to have a good look. Now the reason for the caps in The Hand Guy is simply because it was spoken in caps, as you do when referring to God, with suitable obsequiousness and reverence. We need to transfer you to the survival ward (or perhaps she said surgical) she says. But surely a bit of local and a quick look is all that is needed, I reply.


Now comes the kicker - no we need to get a cannula into you immediately, get some antibiotics into you then get you ready for the theatre and a general. I faint. After they have revived me I learn that wrist inspections can only be done under a general and the intravenous antibiotics are 'just in case'. Worse is to come, I need to be transferred to another hospital which is the domain of The Hand Guy, I will wait in a bed here until The Hand Guy is ready. She bustles off and a serious looking young thing approaches me with a tray full of murderous tools and proceeds to attach me to a trolley which has a bag of sea water hanging from it. She chats away and asks - when were you last in hospital. Fifty five years ago I reply. She looks a little startled and says - you must see some changes. I look around and after due consideration reply - no.


Unfortunately I have missed dinner and am now tethered to my bed by a sinister looking plastic tube so I ring my wife and ask her for a big Mac which she duly brings. I complain to her at length about the trials and tribulations I have endured. Her unsympathetic response is to say - get over it it is only a drip. A nurse approaches to take (yet again !) my blood pressure and says - how are we feeling now. I look deliberately around and say - there is only me here and I am fine. She and my wife exchange sympathetic conspiratorial smiles which does little to improve my mood.


In fact that was the high point of my evening. No transport is available, and no beds the other end. I must wait for morning to see The Hand Guy. By morning the drugs have worn off, I am tired and no longer amused. The mythical Hand Guy is about to meet a very Unhappy Hand.


Finally my number is called (figuratively speaking) and I am off to meet The Hand Guy. Now so far no one has used a gender specific pronoun when speaking of The Hand Guy and this is odd, so I have begun to wonder if The Hand Guy's gender is unassigned. No time for further reflection, the anaesthetist is giving me the run down on what will be happening as I am wheeled in and placed on what I consider to be a very low table. My hand is laid out on an even lower side table. Why so low ? As I am considering the possible height, or lack of it, of The Hand Guy I am transported through space and time to another room in another place at another time. Somehow I have lost forever two hours of my life. How are we feeling says some one I have never seen before and who is busy taking my blood pressure (they do appear to be obsessed with blood pressure ! ).


Where is The Hand Guy I ask. All finished she says, you can go home in an hour. I spend the hour in deep thought as I consider what I know of The Hand Guy - the logic makes my conclusion inescapable - I have been operated on by a charismatic hermaphroditic dwarf. The facts speak for themselves.


The hour has gone fast enough and the chief interrogator arrives to debrief me. Do not get it wet, no heavy lifting etc etc. The stitches can come out in ten days, either here or your local GP can do it she says. I have plenty of Stanley knives and long nose pliers at home for do-it-yourself - so I say GP thus avoiding more exposure to the medical profession. But I still must return in a few days so that The Hand Guy can inspect his/her handiwork.


Some weeks have passed and my hand is pretty good. An old crush injury to my wrist that used to give me trouble has disappeared but it has been replaced by a clicking noise when I move my wrist side ways. I ask my wife, who seems far more conversant with medical matters, if there is any warranty but she just gives me one of those looks. I never did get to see The Hand Guy, just an acolyte. Maybe if I went back yet again I might get a glimpse. On balance though I think not.Type your paragra
ph here.