Tuesday, August 23, 2011


My finger tips and the fipple flute

I am obsessed with my fingers, particularly the tips of them.  Last February I cut off a short piece of the right ring finger with a car door.  Cars are dangerous things!  The finger healed in the course of time, but now it is about five mm shorter than it was.  Worse than that, the tip now feels like a callus.  A callus is thick, tough skin that your body grows on any part that is continually exposed to hard, rough material.  People who don't wear shoes develop calluses on their feet so that they can walk on rough surfaces without feeling any discomfort.  My right ring finger now has a callus.

I have a slight talent for music, just a little more than the Emperor in the play "Amadeus."  In high school and college I played the clarinet.  I wasn't a great player, but I could play well enough to be one of the second clarinets in the college band.  The band played at the week-end football games during the football season and gave concerts at other times of the year.  For me it was a substitute for the required courses in military training at the Michigan land-grant college (MSU nowadays).

Later I collected three fipple flutes, also known as recorders.  I have a soprano, an alto, and a tenor.  Until last February I was a fairly accomplished player ot these instruments.  Now, because of the callus on my right ring finger, I have difficulty fingering the second note on the scale of any of these instruments.  I can manage with the alto by placing the part of my finger that's soft over the holes in the instrument.  The tenor is more difficult for me.  I think I can play the soprano; it's the smallest of the three.

I keep hoping that my finger will eventually reject the callus and the tip will become as flexible as the tips of the other fingers.  I also keep thinking that I may have to acquire a rubber thimble for that particular finger.  I have seen rubber thimbles in an office supply store, but they were too small for my finger.

The doctor who treated my wounded finger suggested that I should use hand lotion, like Lubriderm, to soften the finger tip.  Apparently it is a common thing for a wounded finger to grow a callus to protect the end of the remaining bone.  I haven't been using hand lotion regularly.  In order to expose the finger to the lotion continuously I have to wear a throw-away kitchen glove with lotion in the one glove finger that goes around the right ring finger.  I haven't been going to that much trouble.  I keep hoping that the finger will eventually get tired of being different from the other fingers and reject the callus.  That hasn't happened yet.

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