How I Recovered From Bending My Fingers All The Way Back

One year ago today it was just another day. My wife and I had planned to go out on a Sunday to eat lunch and maybe to a park since the weather was unseasonably warm. As my wife was getting ready, I stepped outside to sit in the sun and do a little writing.

One step changed everything.

Somehow the sole of my shoe snagged the corner of a step which caused me to stumble into a fall. I’m still not sure how all of this happened but I rolled and during the process I put out my right hand to break my fall. The weight of my body fell on top of my hand as it rolled over to bend my fingers all the way back. I felt it and heard my knuckles cracking. Yes, it was gross. I was there and I have re-lived that moment every day since then.

I laid on the ground in shock. I was afraid to look at my hand as I feared that I would see bones sticking out of my hand. Blood was everywhere. I managed to drag myself inside and call out to my wife to take me to the emergency room. I have to give her a lot of credit for her taking charge and not panicking.

I spent the rest of the day in the waiting area of the emergency room. There was a lot of waiting as I sat there wrapped up for hours. I later watched the first half of the Super Bowl while getting stitches in two of my fingers.

I will spare you the photos. You’re welcome.

It took about three months before I could use my fingers normally again and six months before I could make a fist.  

It was such a freakish accident.  

One step.  How could one single step cause this freak accident?

I will be honest and tell you that my fingers don’t feel the same but I am glad I can use them without pain. The one finger that didn’t need stitches always feels like it is jammed.

Naturally I learned a lot about fingers after my accident. It is good that fingers aren’t complete bones or I would have really been in bad shape.

I learned that to properly heal injured fingers, it takes rest, ice, compression and elevation. I was also able to get some compression sleeves for my fingers from physical therapy. The compression sleeves really helped with being able to use my fingers while they were healing. Above everything else, the best thing I did to heal and recover was to take time off from work. I did not go back until I was ready. I know some people who have had worse injuries or medical issues and they go back to work in a few days. That’s silly. Work will get done. Healing properly is much more important.

There is a reason they call it being a patient – you have to be patient. This isn’t one of my best virtues. It is hard for someone like me who is independent to surrender to needing help to do the simplest tasks. You have to let people help you. It is frustrating but it takes time.

The physical part has healed better than I expected. The mental part took a while. I am very careful taking steps now. I read how some celebrities such as Carrie Underwood came back from their own freak injuries. The mental recovery was just as important to the process which is another reason to avoid rushing back to work. When you go back to work, there is no mercy. They expect you to be all the way back. There is no harm in taking more time than you need.

Another thing that I remember from this day last year is that when someone describes a shot as feeling like a bee sting, you had better hold onto something because it’s going to hurt. Especially if the shot is between the fingers. I can still feel it.

I’m also glad that all this happened before COVID hit us.   Unfortunately COVID cut my physical therapy short so I had to continue at home.  

So in case you wondered – yes, you can actually bend your fingers all the way back and still be able to use them again. I didn’t stick the landing on my fall but I am glad I still have all of my fingers.

The Fear of Touching The Door Knob

If you hang with me right now, you are likely to hear me utter a bad word. That bad word usually occurs when I reach for the door or touch something metal immediately followed by the crackling sound of static shock.

I hate the season of static electricity.

I remember growing up living in a home that had shag carpet. That stuff could really generate a nice spark. It was funny to rub my shoes on the carpet and touch someone on the ear but you would have to do it with the expectation that you would also be shocked unless you had a metal object in your hand.

Static electricity usually happens when it is cold and dry and I hate it. It almost always catches me by surprise.

So why does this happen?

It happens when we collect electrons which are negatively charged and when they come in contact with metal, they jump to it. The speed of their quick movement causes the tiny shock that we feel.

Can we stop it from happening?

Having a humidifier helps. This helps deal with the dry air but unfortunately we can’t always carry a humidifier around in our pockets. You could use Static Guard spray but the smell for that spray is really difficult to deal with. It also wears off.

Static electricity can be dangerous too. The danger of static electricity comes when the transfer of charge is so great that it creates a spark. One of the most common dangers of static electricity is when refueling a vehicle. If the driver is carrying excess electrons, it could create a spark when they touch the fuel pump and risk igniting gasoline. Another danger is electrical shock. When an object builds up too much electrical charge within means of release, you could risk electrocution if you touch a charged object.

Okay, enough of the scary stuff.

There are some things that you could wear but would you really want to wear them? There are anti-static wrist wraps which is connected to a wire that connects to your belt. That doesn’t sound very comfortable. I think I would rather survive the spark than wear some goofy wrist wrap attached to my belt.

There is almost no way to avoid getting shocked from static buildup but there are some things that can help:

#1 – Touch metal with your knuckle instead of your finger. There are less nerve endings there. You’ll still get a crackle but it won’t be as electrifying.

#2 – Carry a metal object in your pocket like a coin or paper clip and use the object to touch metal first.

#3 – Wear leather soled shoes and cotton socks. In fact, wearing cotton will help reduce static.

#4 – Keep your skin moisturized. Dryness is the key culprit. The more you can stay moisturized the better.

I had hoped to give you some magical solution to protect us from the annoyance of static shock but it seems we have no choice but to get a charge out of life.

What Branch of the Military is the Salvation Army?

I have known about the Salvation Army all of my life. Most of us only think about this organization as the people ringing bells outside of stores during the holiday season. Aside from that and their thrift store, what exactly is the Salvation Army and what do they do?

The Salvation Army is actually a church organization which began in 1865 in London, England by William Booth who was a Methodist preacher. Soon after beginning his ministerial career in England in 1852, Booth abandoned the concept of the traditional church pulpit in favor of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ directly to the people. Walking the streets of London, he preached to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the destitute.

When fellow clergymen disagreed with Booth’s unconventional approach, he and his wife Catherine withdrew from the church to train evangelists throughout England. The couple returned to the East End of London in 1865, where many followers joined their fight for the souls of lost men and women. Within 10 years, their organization, operating under the name “The Christian Mission,” had over 1,000 volunteers and evangelists.

Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards were among their first converts to Christianity. And soon, those converts were also preaching and singing in the streets as living testimonies to the power of God.

When Booth read a printer’s proof of the 1878 “Christian Mission” annual report, he noticed the statement “The Christian Mission is a volunteer army.” Crossing out the words “volunteer army,” he penned in “Salvation Army.” From those words came the basis of the foundation deed of The Salvation Army.

From that point onward, converts became soldiers of Christ and were known then, as now, as Salvationists. The clergy titles are recognized by military ranks such as “major” or “lieutenant”. You will also see many of the officers wearing special uniforms in accordance with serving military service. This is to show their purpose in bringing salvation to the world. Their purpose is to bring salvation to the poor, destitute and hungry by meeting both their physical and spiritual needs.

The organization is currently in 131 countries running charity shops, homeless shelters, providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to countries in need. The Salvation Army raises $2 Billion a year worldwide which 96% actually goes to their causes.

If you would like to read more about the Salvation Army or support their charities, please visit their website here.

I don’t know about the military stuff but I think the Salvation Army has the right idea of what the “church” should be. It shouldn’t be a building where people come to gather once a week in a building, but the church should be people like those in the Salvation Army who go out to help people in need.

There’s a lot more to them than ringing bells and thrift shops.

How Are We Spending Our Time?

How do you spend your time? Is it time well spent or does it simply slip away from you?

Two years ago, when my dad was dying, he looked over at me and said, “I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with you and your momma.”

I tried to ease his mind and his regrets but the truth was that for most of my life, church was number one in his life. He spent over 40 years as a pastor in small churches in Georgia and North Carolina. His church and its members were always his priority. I could probably count on one hand the number of times he ever missed church. It was on his death bed that he realized how wrong he had been with how he spent his time.

Why is it that we don’t realize this until the end of our life? The older we get, the more we reflect on how we have spent our time. I realized myself that I have worked for the past 38 years. Where has that gotten me? What’s the point of it all? In the end I will not wish I had spent more time in the office.

The problem with time is that we never get it back once it has been spent.

I have worked hard over the past 38 years and have had some interesting experiences but what has that done for me? Sure, I have been successful and promoted during this time but the more money you make the more bills you have. It never seems to be enough. There’s not much you can do about that because you still have to pay the bills. We all do what we can to manage our work/life balance.

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.

The Bible says that time and chance happen to all men. How we choose to use it is what matters most. I don’t want to get to the end of my life with regrets about how I spent my time.

The pandemic has caused many people to focus on what’s important in life.

So how exactly do we spend our time?

  • 26 years sleeping
  • 11 years watching TV
  • 4.5 years eating
  • 13 years working
  • 3 years on social media
  • 235 days waiting in lines

Maybe we could change the way we spend our time. I have considered deactivating all of my social media accounts. Already deleted Twitter, Instagram is undeletable and Facebook is next. I lived before without them and spend too much time getting upset with what people post or their comments. Is it really important that I post anything on social media? Does it really matter to anyone? In the end, it doesn’t matter how many friends you have on your friends list or what others think about you. Life is too short. The average lifespan is 79 years. That’s not much time to waste.

We need to change it up. We can all start by unplugging from our phones. We are all slaves to our phones. If you don’t agree, just put your phone away and watch people and you will see most are looking at their screens. It’s way too easy to pick up our phones when we are bored or don’t want to interact with people. I have actually been in a room full of people before when I realized that we were all on our phones instead of talking. How ridiculous is that?

Every moment is precious. It’s just sad that we don’t realize that until either someone we love passes away or we are at the end of our own lives. This isn’t gloom and doom about how short life is but a wake-up call that we should examine our lives and see what’s really important in the way we are spending our time.

All Tied Up

One of the many benefits I have enjoyed with working from home is that I have not had to wear a tie. For the past eight months, I have not had to tie one around my neck. Before the pandemic and teleworking, wearing a tie or having one available was essential at times for my job.

Let me just say that I hate wearing ties. I grew up in church and often had to wear a tie and then I joined the military and wore a tie. I have never liked ties. Ever.

So I got to thinking recently about ties and wondered who came up with ties? What’s the deal with wearing them as an essential part of business attire?

Some variation of the neck tie actually dates back to 200-300 B.C. Soldiers of the Chinese Emporer Qin Shi Huang wore them to protect the Adam’s Apple which was thought to be the source of a man’s strength which is puzzling since it does nothing like that today.

We also have Croatian mercenaries who served in France in the 17th Century to thank for ties. They were the first to wear knotted neckerchiefs to signal their position and alliances. King Louis XIV of France admired the neckwear so much, he began wearing ties as a status style item.

So we can thank King Louis #14 for promoting this as a fashion statement.

In modern times, the neck tie entered the work place which divided the white collar workers from those who operated machine as some sort of symbol of social status. It has evolved into a constant in business attire. People still look at the neck tie as a distinguishing accessory for someone who is polished and professional. Although we all know this is far from the truth, it is still viewed as a necessity for the business professional. Ties are usually worn especially when attending traditionally formal or professional events, including weddings, important religious ceremonies, funerals, job interviews, court appearances, and fine dining.

In 2019, presidential candidate Andrew Yang drew attention when he appeared on televised presidential debates without a tie. Yang dismissed media questions about it, saying that voters should be focused on more important issues.

I don’t think you will see neck ties going away completely. They are less of an issue with the increase in numbers of people teleworking but there are still times – even virtually – that neck ties will be worn for Zoom or Webex meetings. People expect it and it continues to be a necessary accessory.

Can We Really Agree To Disagree?

We don’t all agree. That point is definitely something we can certainly all agree on. When the subject of politics or religion comes up I can tell you that there will be a lot of disagreement.

Over the past four years, I have seen just how people agree to disagree. The fact is that you can’t disagree. There is no agreement about it. If you don’t like someone’s politics or whatever the issue is then instead of agreeing to disagree, you are wrong or intimidated to feel stupid if you don’t agree.

Social media has made things much more heated with people being able to post hateful comments and protected by the anonymity of their screens. You can’t have your own opinion because someone will attack it simply because they don’t agree whether they have legitimate proof or not.

Most recently, I have chosen to turn off the comments to my blog because I don’t need to read any of them. Positive or Negative. I don’t need them. I have a right to my own opinion without being attacked for them. What I post in my blog is my opinion and I don’t need to debate anyone about it. If someone doesn’t agree with me, they are welcome to start their own blog or social media site. I agree we can disagree but it simply doesn’t work. It is sad how people look for reasons to attack someone and tear them down.

So this notion that we can agree to disagree is total bull hockey. It doesn’t exist. It seems we can’t simply have our own opinions without being attacked for being labeled a Democrat or Republican. If we all have a right to our opinions, it shouldn’t matter. We all have our opinions and shouldn’t be intimidated to change them just to go along with the crowd.

Don’t be bullied about your opinion. We can still get along and not agree. The Bible even says “if it is up to you, live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) Let us have our opinions, even if you don’t agree. If you really mean that you can agree to disagree then do it. Don’t say that when everyone is agreeing with you.

If you think you can change someone’s opinion, good luck with that. I have never seen anyone change their opinion when someone disagrees with them. I have never personally witnessed someone change their minds. Debating is a waste of time. No one wins. It becomes an arms race in the battle of wits. I am not a quick-witted person so I choose not to involve myself in debates.

I think we can have our opinions and live in peace with others. We don’t always have to push our opinions. Just treat people with respect and refrain from using your trigger finger on the keyboard to post a reply or comment to tear someone down. It takes a lot more courage to encourage someone. After the year that we have had, we all need some encouraging words. If you can’t do that, then don’t say anything at all.

So if you’re looking for the comment option on this post, don’t waste your time. It won’t be there. I don’t have time for haters. Just agree that we can disagree.

Next on the Election 2020 Reality Show…

In the current reality show being acted out daily on the news, it seems that the election just won’t end. Although the election has been called for Joe Biden as most elections have been called in the past, the current administration is refusing concession. Contrary to what people think, there still is a process ongoing with making the election outcome official. The United States Electoral College continues their work in completing the election. A candidate’s concession or failure to make a concession speech does not impact the duties and responsibilities related to the Electoral College system.

So what’s next in the process?

The next big date on the election calendar is December 14th. This is when the electors meet in their state capitals to officially pledge their votes. I wouldn’t count on a smooth process for this procedure either. This has been 2020 and anything could happen. Electorates are supposed to be bound to vote for candidate who received the most votes. Essentially, this is the candidate with the most popular votes in each state. So can electors refuse or change their votes? Yes, it has happened and these are called “faithless electors”.

In 2016 there were 10 faithless electors.

  • In Washington, Democratic Party electors gave three presidential votes to Colin Powell and one to Faith Spotted Eagle and these electors cast vice-presidential votes for Elizabeth Warren, Maria Cantwell, Susan Collins, and Winona LaDuke.
  • In Hawaii, Bernie Sanders received one presidential vote and Elizabeth Warren received one vice-presidential vote.
  • In Texas, Christopher Suprun voted for John Kasich for president and another elector voted for Ron Paul, giving each one presidential vote. Suprun also voted for Carly Fiorina as vice president while the other elector voted for Mike Pence as pledged.

In addition, three other electors attempted to vote against their pledges but had their votes invalidated:

  • In Colorado, Kasich received one vote for president, which was invalidated, and the elector was replaced by one who cast a vote for Clinton.
  • In Maine, a Democratic Party elector voted for Bernie Sanders but was forced to cast a vote for Clinton.
  • In Minnesota, another Democratic Party elector tried to do the same but was replaced by one who cast a vote for Clinton. The same Minnesota elector voted for Tulsi Gabbard for vice president but had that vote invalidated and given to Tim Kaine.

Faithless electors have never changed the outcome of a Presidential election.

So, if you are hoping for the drama of Election 2020 to be over, mark your calendars for December 14th.

Click here if you want to read more about the Electoral College and the electoral process.

Racist or Ignorant?

I was raised by my parents NOT to be racist and to treat everyone with respect. This is odd since I was a child in the 60s and 70s and grew up in small towns in South Georgia. My parents forbid the use of the N-word and taught me to treat everyone the same. So, I never paid attention to someone’s color unless they made an issue of it. Even though I wasn’t racist, I still had times when I was either insensitive or ignorant to it. It is hard for a white person to truly understand. The recent tragedy of George Floyd has uncovered an ugly division that still exists. I had assumed we were better people today that we shouldn’t have a problem with racism.

Obviously that was ignorant thought on my part. It reminded me of other times in the past when I have been ignorant or insensitive about race.

I am reminded of the time when I was going to the football games of my favorite team. There was a protest that was initiated against the band playing “Dixie” as the team’s theme song. I went into the office one day and expressed my disgust that people were protesting a fight song until my co-worker and friend, Sam, explained to me why the song was offensive. Since it offended him, it then offended me. I understood it and I was happy when the school removed any references to “Dixie” to the band.

Speaking of Dixie, it sickens me to see people display or fly the Confederate Flag. The flag should be in a museum and not on public display. The war is over. It is a symbol that is insensitive to the feelings of black men and women.

I was also reminded of the time when I attended a church with a pastor that liked to tell racist jokes when he was not behind the pulpit. He thought it was okay to share these jokes with me since I laughed at them and never called him out about it especially considering the fact that we had some mixed races in the congregation. Looking back now I see that I only encouraged his behavior by laughing at his jokes and not ever calling him out about it. I repented of condoning his jokes and I hope that he has repented of this at some point.

I have also seen where employers have fixed the hiring process to ensure that they hire minorities- not based on qualifications – but simply because of a quota. While I understand the reason for this practice, I also think this is unfair to all minorities to simply make an office or company “look” like they have diversity. Given the appearance of diversity doesn’t mean there is equality.

So, yes, there are still race issues today and I am ignorant if I say there’s not. We really need to fix this.

It is ridiculous that we have police shooting and killing black victims. The actions of these overzealous law enforcement officers taint the many who are good and do their jobs without regard to race. I know I wouldn’t want to be in law enforcement. Unfortunately, officers tend to get jaded and desensitized to their subjects because they do see the negative side of society. It is too easy from some of them to fall into stereotypes and make assumptions about people based upon their race. It’s going to take more than requiring classes on race sensitivity training.

The ugly truth is that America still has race issues. While racism does exist, there is also ignorance and insensitivity.

It is disappointing to see how divided our country is right now on race, politics, sex and religion.

56 Things

Today as I turn 56, I am reflecting back on 56 things that I have learned about life so far:

  1. The older you get, the faster the world becomes.
  2. People will let you down.
  3. No matter what you do, you will let others down.
  4. Money only brings temporary happiness.
  5. A house is not a home.
  6. Whether or not you attend your high school prom really doesn’t matter.
  7. Don’t base your self-worth on what others think about you. Just because they have an opinion doesn’t mean they are right.
  8. Trust God and leave the results to Him. Don’t try to “help” him out.
  9. Don’t marry the person you can live with, marry the one you can’t live without.
  10. You body will wear out. Things will break or not work as they should.
  11. Everything does happen for a reason but you won’t always like the reason
  12. Church attendance is overrated. Going to church doesn’t make someone a Christian.
  13. You don’t know you are in a cult when you in one.
  14. Don’t breathe through your nose when changing a diaper. (Trust me on this one)
  15. Be good at adjusting to change.
  16. Be quick to forgive. The longer you wait, the more bitterness will set in.
  17. If people gossip about others to you, they will gossip about you to others.
  18. Never make an important decision when you are hungry.
  19. Learn from your mistakes.
  20. Give people a second chance
  21. You can never detect your own bad breath. This amazes me since our nose is so close to our mouth.
  22. Never assume anything.
  23. Never talk about having extra money around your house or car.
  24. Be careful what you post on social media.
  25. All of your Facebook friends aren’t your friends. You also don’t HAVE to friend everyone from high school or all of your relatives.
  26. Know your limitations. Just because you set your mind to do something doesn’t mean that you can.
  27. Don’t judge someone based on how they look. Actions speak louder than anything else.
  28. If work was fun it wouldn’t be called work.
  29. Do the right thing even when no one is looking.
  30. If you do a million good things people will remember the one bad thing.
  31. You can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends.
  32. Follow your heart but take your brain with you.
  33. Be on time.
  34. The one who really cares about you will be the one who cares for you.
  35. You can’t control what others do, you can only control what you do.
  36. When I die I want a representative from the Atlanta Falcons to be a pallbearer so they can let me down one more time.
  37. Don’t get so wrapped up with your favorite sports team.
  38. Take time to sit in silence.
  39. Work isn’t the most important thing in life.
  40. Hallmark doesn’t have a card for everything.
  41. There’s only one God and we’re not it.
  42. Nobody likes a smart ass.
  43. Take a European vacation.
  44. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  45. You can’t finish something you don’t start.
  46. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  47. Time doesn’t always heal all wounds.
  48. It’s never wrong to do the right thing.
  49. Do more than what’s expected.
  50. When one difficult co-worker leaves, they will be replaced by two.
  51. You can’t always plan everything.
  52. When times get tough, hang on.
  53. A good attitude can change everything.
  54. True love does exist.
  55. Wear Sunscreen.
  56. 56 years go by faster than you think.

What Is Cabin Fever?

With most of us in lockdown mode for over a month now, people are getting antsy and anxious to opening up their lives again. Although there are some legitimate reasons for caution, people are ready to get rid of their “cabin fever”.

What exactly is cabin fever? Is it really a thing?

Cabin fever is defined as irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors. It isn’t actually a fever; however, it can lead to some psychological and emotional issues. It can also lead to a higher risk of depression or, in some cases, suicidal thoughts. The lack of natural sunlight can increase a person’s anxiety.

With us coping with stay-at-home orders, this can lead to cabin fever as we grow restless, bored, lack of patience, overeating and sadness. If you are already a person who suffers from depression, being isolated for long periods of time can make you more vulnerable to serious effects of cabin fever.

So how can you cure cabin fever?

  • Get outside. Find a way to spend some time outside and enjoy some fresh air.
  • Work on a hobby. We all have something we enjoy doing. This is a perfect time to focus on it.
  • Start a good book. With society taking a time-out, we finally have time to sit down and read a book.
  • Work on some chores you never had time to tackle.
  • Write a letter to someone. An actual handwritten letter can brighten someone’s day.
  • Exercise. When you exercise the body, you are giving your mind a break.

It is easy to let the mind get lazy when you succumb to cabin fever. Giving into it can also contribute to physical problems such as headaches and nerve problems. It is important to recognize cabin fever early and make a plan to derail it before it drives you – and the people around you crazy.

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