Hmm, why did I have to fall and break my finger??

Not having done any exercise in a long time, I decided to play racquetball with my friend, Arash. In the back of my mind I was thinking, hmm, probably not a good sport to pick up the day before a final. Anyway, I needed some exercise and something to get my mind off schoolwork. So wearing my brand new sneakers (they hadn’t seen much action since arriving at CMU), I hit the racquetball court. It was the first time I ever played racquetball, but since I had played squash a couple of times before (a few years ago), I figured it would be fun.

We’ve been playing for five minutes or so when Arash hits a mean serve that slams off the far wall and comes straight at me. I’m still “warming up” and am a bit discombobulated (and feeling uncoordinated) from not playing any indoor sports in three years; I attempt to get out of the way of the speedy ball. Somehow I trip and fall, landing on my right hand; it was an embarrassing, non-glorious way to hurt myself.

My pinky and ring finger really, really hurt after the fall. (Emphasis on “really hurt.�). But I thought to myself, it’s been a while since I fall down like that, so maybe it’s supposed to hurt this much. To make things fair, we both agreed to play left-handed, and eventually we switched back to playing right-handed. My pinky’s fingertip got swollen to what felt like twice its normal size; I thought it was going to “blow up� if that’s at all possible. I kept playing, determined to beat Arash and rallied to an 18-16 win after being down by as many as 7 points.

Now at home, over two hours after playing, my finger pain unbearable. I stuck my pinky into a bowl of ice and that too was pretty painful. (Later I found out you’re supposed to put a towel or something between the ice and your swollen skin). Over IM, my sister insisted I go to the ER to see what happened.

I went to UPMC Shadyside, walked in and was the only person in the ER that Friday night. What a difference to NYC hospitals! It looked and smelled clean, and it was completely empty. The x-rays revealed a broken fingertip, the bone had split down the middle which explained why the finger still looked straight. It was the first bone I have broken, so now that I know what it feels like, I won’t ignore the symptoms and I won’t wait so long to get medical attention!

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