Powerless in California

Yep, PGE has had our power off for most days, but that isn’t why I’m powerless. I’m struggling because I am in an impulsive mood, always rushed, always bored, not able to focus on anything. As a result I have sustained two injuries to my index finger, the right hand, the dominant one. My left hand is like a cat with a brain injury—willing to give it a try but crashing into things just the same.

In a very indirect way both injuries are related to the power shutoffs. The first, sewing through the tip of my index finger, happened as I was rushing to put a zipper into a petticoat, knowing the power would go off at any minute. I decided not to baste, the usual step for zipper installation. For those who don’t sew, each machine comes with a “zipper foot” which you put on your machine for this task. This foot, different from a standard foot, allows you to move the needle into a position that can stitch very close to the edge of the zipper. I was stitching very close and holding things in place with my index finger (I repeat, because I was rushing and didn’t take the time to baste) and ZAM! my finger was too close and the needle jammed down into the edge of it. Of course first instinct was to rip my hand away from the danger, thus a chunk of flesh was removed.

Not a big chunk. A tiny chunk, but, oh so painful, as tips of fingers can be.

I think the injury was lessened by the factI have been taking ukulele lessons and there was a bit of a callus starting to develop in this strumming/picking finger.

Fast forward: Power out, finger healing, making do. Until the power was out long enough that my ice towers in the refrigerator (read frozen juice bottles) were thawed. I decided to crank up the propane in our RV and use the refrigerator to refreeze the bottles. When I turned the valve of the propane tank liquid gas spewed out and covered my index finger. Instant frostbite. The internet says NEGATIVE 40 degrees. The internet also said go to the hospital, but I called first (note: when power is out I can climb to the top of our driveway and get a few bars of phone service) and the advice from the nurse was, yes, go to ER.

In ER they didn’t really know…had to make a few phone calls. I really liked the doctor. She called toxicology, the hand surgeon and did some research. I appeared to be at the minor frostbite level, so I came home with a clear mind and a painful index finger.

Here are the things I can’t do without my index finger: braid my hair, put in earrings, type (although I am, just not using that finger), follow the directions on my current sleep test from Kaiser to put the oxygen-reading-thingy on my right index finger, use scissors, hold my coffee cup, use the touch ID on my devices and strangely support my electronic toothbrush in the manner in which I am accustomed….BUT I have adapted. I am doing most of those things, using Mr. Tall finger or both hands or some sort of different approach. And my daily meditations are currently about gratitude, so I have just talked my self out of feeling powerless. But of course we have no internet (although we do have power now) so I can’t even post this blog.