Friday, May 4, 2012
Thoughts from a Finger Tip
Early in our educations we learn that the finger tips contain many, many nerve endings, all designed to send messages to our brains. Now, as day to day life wears on one doesn't really think about this kind of thing, we just feel stuff. It's kind of like how we don't really think about our heart beating, it just does.
Apparently, I have neglected this little detail about the finger tips and the nerve endings for far too long - time for a reminder. I'm not sure if you recall that I totally destroyed my front wheel on a ride in the Chequamegon National Forest last fall. Well, the time had come to replace that wheel. So, the night before last I moved through the whole process of making the thing tubeless. I battled with my weak air compressor, while Stan's stuff sprayed all over me. Finally, after way too long I had the tire holding air but, I missed my favorite t.v. show.
Last night I was back at it. All I had to do was mount the disc, throw it on the bike, make some quick adjustments and "boom baby" new front wheel - ready to ROCK! It never works out like that for me. Yeah, I got the disc on no problem at all and in reality the caliper didn't even need that much adjusting, but I can't stand when things on the bike aren't perfect. I began "tweaking".
Anyone who has ever adjusted a disc brake knows that as soon as you tighten down the bolts, because everything is perfect, the caliper moves a little, screwing it all up. This was my world at this point. I began to rush the process out of frustration. Bad move!
Almost there, I aggressively spun the front wheel to check for daylight between the disc and the pads, ooooh, just a smidgen more. I went to bump the caliper over a bit and I grasped it, inadvertently allowing my right (I'm right handed) index finger tip to slip inside the swirly "spokes" of the disc. Then, suddenly I heard a musical note, one not all that different than the one on the soundtrack of 127 hours - the Aaron Rahlston story. It was a searing guitar note that soared just as he cut the nerve to his arm. Only, for me the note literally came from my finger nail being scalped off by the swirly "spoke" of the disc. I looked on quizzical like as the wheel slowed in it's rotation. A strange aura took over my garage as my stomach got all "gooey" feeling. Not good!
I dared to look at the finger hoping it wouldn't be that bad. "Huh, my finger nail looks weird", I pondered. A quarter of it was gone, somewhere in the abyss of the garage. A pretty hued pink color adorned the end of my finger, but what was this "cleaved" crevasse within the pretty pink area? As these thoughts floated through my now floating mind, the skin/meat that had never seen the light of day, because it had been under my finger nail for 44 years turned into a miniature horror movie. The blood flowed... My knees went weak...
Instantly, my mind made the situation worse. "Great, I don't have a finger tip anymore, what will my life be like from here on out? Will have to get specially designed brake levers?" I ran upstairs, I guess to get a band aid. Seems silly, but a band aid was all I could think of to do. I ran past Amy who calmly asked, "How's it going?". I replied with urgency of a man reporting in from a battle field, "I think I just cut my finger tip off!" Amy helped me get bandaged up while she averted her eyes. Last time she helped me with a mechanical boo boo she had to sit on the bathroom floor, because she almost passed out.
All better now for the time being I finished the job with the brake and retired to the couch.
As I rode into work this morning I used the maimed finger for the first time since the incident. To say it hurt would not do it justice. All those nerve endings they told us exist in the finger tip, well, they weren't fibbin' us. The last 1/4 inch of my finger took on a life of it's own throughout my hour and a half commute. It had it's own heartbeat, it started to try to take over my thoughts, until finally I succumbed. Once I had completely surrendered to the "tip", it began to have it's own thoughts. I'm pretty sure it was breathing on it's own under that bandage too.
I made it to work and I took my glove off.... You can only imagine.