Twenty five some odd years ago, we had a dog. A beautiful little long haired dog, named Goldie. Goldie had 6 babies. The last born, and the smallest, had a crooked tail. That became his name. Kinley, around nine at the time, just loved Crooktail. He was absolutely the underdog. The slowest to open his eyes, the slowest to grow, the slowest to learn. Just like Kinley had always wanted. She loved crooktail. The friends whose male dog fathered these puppies had a little girl. It was agreed that she would have the pick of the litter. But that did not bother Kinley; Whitey was undeniably the superior puppy. So smart, he later learned to count to ten by barking, I am told. But, Kinley held Crooktail, wrapped in a cloth like a baby, when the little girl came to choose. To Kinley’s horror, the little girl picked crooktail. Kinley never liked this poor girl again.
Jump ahead with me thirty years. Barbara had noticed her right hand pinkie was bending down. Could not be straightened. Attending Kinley’s son Jackson’s ‘Grandparent’s Day’ celebration, Jackson’s teacher had prepared a way for each grandparent to leave the child a rare gift: a handprint, in living color. The teacher took Barbara’s hand, covered it with paint, then placed it on a sheet of paper. The hand print was incomplete. She pushed down harder. No luck. Barbara had been distracted, talking to Jackson at the moment, but when the teacher stood up, placed both hands on the hand in question, and came down with all her weight, willing to do whatever necessary to get Jackson a perfect hand print of his Grandma, Barbara noticed. “UH, hon, that hand does not flatten out.” “Oh, I’m so sorry! - - -
Skip ahead another few years. By now, the pinkie had been named. What else except - - Crooktail! A tight, permanent ninety degree angle. When Barbara forgot, and shook hands with a stranger the correct way, they received a hard dagger to the palm. Barbara tried harder and harder to avoid that. The word was getting around about how lethal Barbara could be with a handshake, and some people became standoffish, fearing that impaling right hand might be extended to them.
The problem was identified. Dupuytren’s Contracture. A genetic problem. The surgeon warned that if the issue was not addressed, the pinkie would forever close, followed by all it’s handmates. So that what is now just a nice slap across the face when I mess up, could become an incapacitating hard left fist to the chin. Forever.
The operation was done. How bad could that be, just one palm cut open in all directions, plus just one little pinkie totally mutilated. They called it a big operation. But with just one little hand? How big could that be? Two weeks plus have passed. Many more to go, they say. I became the full time caregiver, cook, and pill pusher. I cook two things. Peanut butter sandwiches, and eggs. But friends have helped out a lot, and I am pushing back my horizons. I prepared two TV dinners today for lunch. They were perfect.
Barbara has been a real trooper. But the rehab work extends on and on. From time to time, we each look at each other, and we both long for the good old days of crooktail. The Rehab lady explained that mostly men get this. And It could occur in even more private members of the body. My automatic reaction was to scoot away. “Is it catching?”
We do not minimize problems others have, in our age group, and know we have been very fortunate to have reached our age with relatively good health. But, even those such as us reserve the right to whine occasionally. Thanks for listening to it!