Last summer, I broke my first bone. Or more accurately, I broke my first bones, plural. Busted my forearm and wrist in a bazillion places so badly that they were showing my x-rays around the hospital for weeks (which, I have to admit, kind of makes me puff up with pride.) And it was my dominant left arm, which really sucked.
I won’t go into the details of how it happened, but I will say this – I am 37 years old and I’m a big fan of extreme sports. Seriously – skydiving, mountain-biking, windsurfing, even kamikaze go-cart racing – I do it all. First time I’ve ever hurt myself badly. I really should have a really cool story for how I broke my friggin’ arm.
I apparently just pulled a total Wile E. Coyote at the top of a (very short) flight of stairs and stepped right off into space. I tried telling people I did it bungee jumping or that I got attacked by a Yeti, but I’m not very good at lying. I’m really not. It’s something I’ve been working on, though.
Anyway, I spent four months in and out of surgery, jacked up on painkillers, and basically chucking tantrums because I couldn’t do any of the aforementioned extreme sports, followed by a very limited return to work and six more months of physio. At which point I still hadn’t been given the go-ahead by either my therapist or my surgeon to return to all the physical activity that I used to do. And I had gained 20 pounds because of it. And yet, because the bone had healed at an angle 10 degrees off where it should be, they wanted to re-break it, implant a huge titanium plate and start the whole process all over again.
Yeah. I don’t think so.
So I reached that point where I was about to gnaw my own stupid arm off at the shoulder, or…divorce the experts and go it alone. I decided on the latter. I very sweetly (with a gift basket) broke up with my physio clinic. I bought a new mountain bike. I clenched my teeth against the excrutiating sensations in my wrist when doing downward-facing dog. I sang ‘lalalalala’ to block out the clicking sounds produced by my left hook when doing tai-bo. I lost 12 pounds in the first two weeks. Happy happy.
So today was my one-year anniversary of my surgery. I was obligated to revisit the place of my captivity of the previous summer. I had already decided that I was not going to allow myself to be talked into another slice and dice. But I was hoping to perhaps discuss some kind of alternative treatment that might allow me to not see stars when placing weight on my left arm.
So I weathered the drive, hydroplaning like a maniac on the highway in my stupid light-weight beach vehicle, drove in circles for eight years looking for parking in the underground parking garage, waited 12 years to be x-rayed (though that was fun, because I was now a veteran of the process and got to give people directions and smile smugly as I read my book while those around me gazed at their fresh casts with looks of shock and self-pity), then waited another 10 years to be seen by the surgeon.
And after all of this? Five minutes. FIVE MINUTES. I got five minutes with Dr. A. I promptly vetoed his mention of more surgery, and then he responded to my request for an alternative solution to the squicky, crunchy happenings in the joint area when performing any sort of physical activity.
His answer? His we-pay-the-highest-taxes-in-the-known-universe-Canada-has-free-healthcare answer?
I was too eager to wait ’til I could scan the prescription, so I had to take a photo, which is difficult to read, so I’ll help you out.
“Hockey tape (white).”
I swear to god.