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A copywriter with a broken arm is like…

(Insert your own punch line.)

Nobody respects a broken arm. That’s one thing I’ve learned after three weeks with my right forearm and part of my hand in some variation of a cast, with three more weeks to go. “What did you do, punch somebody?” people invariably say when seeing my condition. By comparison, wearing a boot after achilles surgery this past winter drew lots of sympathy. Feet and legs are noble; arms are somehow a joke.

My accident, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, was indirectly related to the foot surgery. I felt I was finally ready to return to free weights after working on machines at the gym. I was carrying a 55 pound weight bar when I tripped on the foot of a bench and went down, head first. I did not let go of the bar, maybe thinking it might fly off and hurt somebody else, and when I hit the mat it bounced and came down on the top of the radius bone, breaking it in two places. A physical therapist told me it is very common for people to make accidents much worse because they do not let go of whatever they are holding. In my case, a freak mishap I could not repeat if I tried.

Lots of things are difficult to impossible with one arm, like pulling on socks, buttoning pants (which is why I’m going to holiday parties in sweatpants this year), opening jars, hand washing dishes, cutting foods, wrapping presents and of course typing. My wife was out of town the day of my accident and for several days after, so I got to drive myself back and forth to urgent care and the ortho clinic (yes, that’s illegal) as well as trying all the above.

I am thankful the arm will apparently heal without problems (though it does have a plate in it, one more of a growing collection of metallic body parts) and am making a resolution to be more mindful of my surroundings in 2018. Two surgeries in one year is one, and maybe two, too many. You too, be careful out there.

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