Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

On breaking an arm

So last Sunday, I broke my right arm. And I am right handed. Expect a giant drop-off in my updates until I can type again.

The summary: I was riding my bike a few blocks from home. It’s all old warehouses in the neighborhood, and there are a lot of railroad side spurs that are abandoned, like with a set of rails half-buried in asphalt crossing the streets at funny angles. I remember riding next to one thinking “it would suck if my wheel fell into that groove.” Next thing I know, the bike falls out from under me, I fall to my right, I stick out my right arm, and pow. Had to ride home with a broken arm and a fucked up left knee, although I think the knee is structurally OK, just rubbed raw with the gentle touch of asphalt.

Went to the Oakland ER, which was an adventure. 7 hours of jonesing addicts thinking that if they screamed at the doctors enough, they’d get a taste. Also a Hispanic kid was in for a heart murmur or something, and his entire extended family of 768 were all in the waiting room, eating candybars and talking on cell phones right under the “no food/no cell phones” sign, as the movie Mama’s House 2 played on a TV with no channel or volume controls.

X-Rays were murder. Turns out I chipped the elbow end of the radius. Not much of a structural issue – you can’t set it or put screws or a plate in it, it pretty much fixes itself. But in the meantime, lots of swelling, lots of nerves focused in that area, and the arm doesn’t want to bend, and the wrist can’t turn. I got this space-age fiberglass instant-mold splint that I ace bandage on, and can take off to shower (thank you – heat waves and plaster casts don’t mix.) Also got some vicodin and a sling. I missed a day of work – I can drive now, and my left handed typing and mousing slowly improves. I have to slowly wean out the splint over the next few weeks – should be AOK in a month or so.

I did this same thing in 1992 on my left arm. No space age cast then, though. And I only had codeine syrup for pain. But that was my left hand. And computers didn’t involve as much mouse work then. I don’t know how you one-armed people deal with Windows on a daily basis.


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