25 March 2012

Dr. Tiny Hands

Dr Escargot and I met last week to follow up my recent surgery. I thought it was all about me, but judging by the look on his face, I think he likes to admire his handy-work. He smiled and nodded, and the glint in his eye said, ‘Job well done, everybody.’

Dr Escargot (Left), Me (Right)
He’s a lovely man and I trust him completely. While I slept (with the aid of Bellaruth and my anesthesiologist) he has twice looked around and cleaned me up. I couldn’t imagine not trusting my surgeon. It has occurred to me many times that this man, literally, has my life in his hands. But what I didn’t realize until last week was that his hands are so teeny!

After my examination, he asked if there was anything else I’d like to talk about. Since he asked, I mentioned a purple finger that had recently been concerning me. My middle finger had been quite swollen, and a startling shade of purple. It had since returned (almost) to normal, but I’d thought I’d bring it up.  He wasn’t terribly worried. But he did say that he had a purple finger as well.

‘Look,’ he said, putting his hand beside mine. My first reaction was to say, ‘My God you’re hands are small!’ though I knew that wasn’t the point of this show ‘n tell. But I was less concerned with his tiny purple fingernail than I was with the fact that he had the hands of an eight-year-old girl. They were certainly smaller than mine. ‘How did that happen,’ I asked. And what I really meant was, ‘How did a grown man get hands that little?’

After he left the room I discussed this with Jim. He said that Escargot was blessed with delicate digits, so he could maneuver his way around veins and arteries. But what else could he do? I doubt he could lift a hammer, hand brakes on bicycles would be a challenge, and he may or may not be able to grip the steering wheel of a car. A pencil would be fine.

His hands were also very soft, and looked a little squishy. Characters from Sesame Street popped in my head, and I pictured the muppets and their soft, clumsy mitts.  Bert, I think, had the smallest hands of all – which explained why it was Ernie who got to hold the rubber ducky.

But Jim was right. The tiny hands are an advantage for a surgeon in need of fine motor skills. And it made him more cuddly, and less intimidating. And I do have to hand it to him. He did one heck of a good job.

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