Thursday brought a rare opportunity to get together with all four of my siblings, the reunion taking place at my sister Deb’s house in southwest Portland in the early afternoon, prior to my regular Thursday night shift on the news desk.
Sister Sandy, who lives in Mission Viejo, Calif., was vacationing in Oregon; brother Craig drove down from Samammish, Wash.; and other brother Duane, who also lives in southwest Portland, wrapped up his golf game in time to arrive, with a cooler full of beer no less, before I had to head south for work.
The cold beer came in particularly handy for Craig, who had just had stitches removed from the right index finger he had smashed with a sledgehammer while building a retaining wall. The digit was still quite swollen and somewhat painful.
Craig recounted for us the discomfort of the whole event, including the shots of local anesthetic he received prior to having it sutured. “That didn’t feel real good,” he said.
That led me to remark to Duane, who happens to be a physician, that I thought those Novocaine shots had actually gotten less painful over the years; I’ve had a lot of them, in many places: upper lip, side of my neck, back of my hand, left biceps, right shoulder and, the tour de force, inside my mouth, where an oral surgeon gave me about eight injections before removing a lower front tooth in preparation for orthodontia.
Duane said part of the improvement was because of better buffering agents in the drugs, which makes them burn less upon their arrival into the body.
“I think it’s mainly the person giving the shots,” said Debby, who still holds something of a grudge against our childhood dentist.
Hard feelings or no, I definitely agree with her that the syringe operator plays a big role in how much it hurts.
Craig’s injured finger, meanwhile, reminded of the left thumb I broke while building a cage so we could adopt the homeless quail that hatched from the eggs my daughter Pam’s second-grade class had incubated. Smashed it with a hammer and ended up losing the nail as well.
While that injury, like the other five finger fractures I’ve sustained, certainly didn’t, to borrow Craig’s phrase, feel real good, that pain paled compared to that which accompanied a couple other incidents, one absurd, one grotesque:
– About 25 year ago, I was bitten on the ass by a very grumpy pregnant mare. I wasn’t even doing anything, just standing there, and she wheeled her head around, got a huge mouthful of buttock, clamped down and, as horses do, pulled away without really opening her jaws, thus yanking tissue in a manner that created a bruise for the ages. That episode is not the only thing I have against horses, but it’s definitely one thing, and a big thing.
– When I was 19, I came down on the side of my friend Dave O’Dell’s foot during a pickup basketball game and wrenched my right foot 90 degrees inward, where it locked. I really can’t describe how bad that hurt for at least 60 seconds or so, until shock set in. Thankfully we were only about a mile from Willamette Falls Hospital. I still feel sorry for whichever friend — I think it was Dean Yasuda – had to ride to the hospital in the back seat with me, supporting my twisted and extremely sweaty foot/ankle by propping it up inches from his nose.
I imagine some kind of physical trauma can hurt worse than dislocating your ankle, but if it can, I don’t care to experience it.
I’m obviously grateful, though, for the family reunion we got to experience Thursday. Before we close, here’s a photo of us all together for the first time in five years: