Monday, August 31, 2009
The AHA Experience
The first time I saw Edinburgh was when I was convalescing from putting my hand in a lawnmower. It is a beautiful and ancient city and has a deep association with medicine. The pianist and I were there for the Festival and for a meeting of the English speaking Orthopedic Association. It was the culmination of several months off for me, recovering from my mangled hand. The hour I put my hand in a running lawnmower, the family was in the living room, watching Nadia Comaneci doing gymnastics on the balance bar in the 1976 Olympics. I had been agitated and rushing around, repairing our boat with caulk,anticipating being late with rounds,my son had not cut the lawn as promised, and I was quitting smoking for the umpteenth time. The grass was moist and the mower became plugged. It was a hard mower to restart. I was in a hurry and it seemed like the outlet just needed a little quick clearing. You may not know, but if you have a major injury , in the first few minutes, there is no pain and things can be reduced or set on the field, but time is of the essence. Similarly with the lawnmower, I felt no pain but I could hear my fingers rattling against the rotating blades. When I went to the hospital, Ralph, the orderly in the OR told me later it took him half an hour to wash my hand and clean off the boat caulk, the dog shit and the grass mash. Things did work out well. My fingers ended up a bit shorter and a trifle twisted, but functional. I couldn't do any surgery till the healing was complete! The point of all this is, the months I had off were an AHA Experience for me, since hitherto, I had not imagined a life in which one did not live in a hurry up and fragmented fashion. My son, the only male issue, who lives with his family near Edinburgh, said to me very much later, how mellow I have become, and how he would have loved to have experienced that then! Too soon old, too late smart!