So, it's now been three months since I injured my left ring finger in a cycling accident. Getting proper medical attention in the midst of COVID-19 has been a challenge, but to date I've had one in-person doctor's appointment, an x-ray, an ultrasound and several phone appointments with my doctor. Diagnosis is progressing even if treatment isn't.
I still don't have an exact diagnosis—the ultrasound revealed some swelling and inflammation of the tendon, and that's it—but we know what it isn't: there's no fracture, dislocation or break. The next step is an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss whether or not I should have surgery, and it may take a good while to schedule said appointment.
Medical considerations aside, how is my finger? Well, it's bent and swollen, but it looks worse than it feels. There's no pain, and I can type as if nothing happened. (This is very good indeed, because I type for a living.) I've found no discernible impact on any of my daily activities but one, and it's a big one: playing my stringed instruments. Again, there's no pain. The problem is limited mobility. Certain chords, like F#m and any minor barre chord in that position right up the neck, are impossible to play; others, I can play but it takes several seconds to change to and from them. Sort of a "This finger goes here, and that one goes there, and then this one goes over here" approach. Yes, Gsus4, I'm talking 'bout you.
Fortunately, I can still record music and am doing so as we speak. I'm not the greatest guitarist to begin with, so I often stitch parts together on different tracks then bounce them to create a composite whole. The damaged finger only means there's more stitching than usual. I recently pieced together a pretty hot solo that sounds like a fluent guitarist who really knows what he's doing. It's all done with mirrors, and even more so than before. But that's okay. What matters is that the final product sounds good. I've yet to encounter anything I cannot play if I break it down into sufficiently small bits.
It's performing I'm increasingly concerned about. As it stands, I can't play several songs in my repertoire, including some of my own. At least not without the "Hey, folks, wait for five seconds till I can find the next chord" thing. Capos and alternate fingerings may yet offer viable workarounds, but still, it's disheartening. On the bright side, I suppose this is as good a time as any to be unable to perform, as most venues remain shuttered.
Anyway, until I chat with the surgeon I'm not sure what I'll do. Whatever this is, it doesn't seem to be improving on its own. But surgery brings its own concerns, not the least of which is how long I'll have to be the incredible one-handed typist.