I'm dressed for Halloween: The fingers of my left hand poke pitifully out of their wrappings, my poor thumb a shade I can only describe as "prune." The bandage is so thick, my fingers dangle helplessly over the computer keys, unable to connect, so I tap away one-handed, something I haven't done since pre-high school typing class.
From the elbow down, I look like something out of "Monster Chiller Horror Theater," ready to lash out at unsuspecting Egyptologists who dare to disturb my tomb.
I had a benign tumor taken out of my wrist last Thursday. I actually went in believing I had a cyst, until sometime into my twilight sleep, I heard the doctor say, "We've got a mass." His voice went up, from surprise or concern, I don't know. At the time, I didn't much care. My arm was as numb as a tree branch. It didn't seem to belong to me. Later, the doctor said, "Do you want to see it?" "Sure," I said. I'm a writer. I should see as many things as I can, to add them to my arsenal. It looked like chewed-up gristle.
"These things tend to reoccur," he told me. "You have to have them removed, or they will grow and turn malignant." That seemed reasonable. At the time. Now, just five days into my five-week cast-wearing marathon, I realize how very little I know about my body...and how much I've demanded of it.
There's a song we used to sing at Mass that goes, "Into your hands, we commend our spirit, Oh Lord; into your hands, we commend our hearts." I find that, now that I am down one hand, I am doing more commending to God than ever. Into his hands, I commend my tiny, bird-like wrist; my health, my self-sufficiency. I know he will take better care of it than I did.
With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.