The somnambulist with one thumb

Posted By on October 15, 2010

.: When I was a kid I would occasionally sleepwalk. In the past few years, however, sleepwalking has become a nightly occurrence for me. Sometimes I vaguely remember it happening in the hazy manner one remembers a dream. Other times I learn about it the morning after; either my girlfriend informs me or I find evidence of somnambulatory misjudgment (e.g., a soiled pile of laundry next to the toilet).

.: Two nights ago, I was jarred awake after tripping over my coffee table, crushing my record player, and bending my thumb back to the wrist. The coffee table and record player turned out fine, but my thumb disagreed vehemently and protested the rest of the night. When I woke up legitimately in the morning, I found myself with a wholly unusable thumb on my right hand.

.: I had an x-ray taken and the bone doesn’t seem broken (why the radiologist didn’t just tell me if it was or not I don’t know). My dad said my limited motion is consistent with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, something more humorously known as Skier’s Thumb.

.: What it means to me is I won’t be using my thumb much during the next month or so. This means no right-handed pipetting, no polishing off a can of beer in one gulp then crushing it in my right hand, and absolutely no thumb wars (with right-handed people). Being introduced to others will be awkward, certainly, and I will flat-out refuse when invited to give a round of applause. Other troubles will surely surface; I just haven’t thought of them yet.

.: I’ve already noticed that, even though the most useful digit of my right hand is out of commission, my body still vastly prefers that hand to my even more useless left. I pick up glasses and open doors by pinching them between my middle and index fingers, and I can pinch the tip of my middle finger onto the nail of my index finger if something requires more precise dexterity. I need practice of course, but already it feels more natural than using my left hand for anything.

.: I’ll leave you then with a few things I’m not looking forward to:

  • Unscrewing things.
  • Buttoning/unbuttoning pants.
  • Tying/untying shoes.
  • Transferring hundreds of leaf segments to new petri dishes.
  • Momentarily forgetting about unusable thumb then attempting to use it.
  • Midterms (nothing to do with the thumb, just don’t like ’em).
  • Eating Asian food.
  • Typing.
  • Not being able to express approval via high fives.
  • Going to sleep.

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3 Responses to “The somnambulist with one thumb”

  1. pero says:

    Holyshit I’ve done that… (not by sleepwalking, but still). Hopefully, you will heal fairly quickly and without extreme pain.

    Mine healed well, and doesn’t bother me much (now).

    Happy healing.

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