broken bones

In 1994 I broke my wrist in a bicycle accident. It was the second time I had broken a bone.

The broken wrist has mended, the cast came off in November, and I slowly regained flexibility and strength. I’m back to normal now, minus a tiny range of motion. I celebrated fiberglass freedom by taking a long hot shower (and washing off a lot of smelly dead skin).

When I was in the seventh grade, a helpful bully broke my arm for me—the same, the left. The pidgin-influenced Hawaiians called it my “hand”, so it might as well have been the same bone. I stayed in the hospital overnight, in the same room as a kid with a broken leg. His visitors and nurses told him “At least it wasn’t your arm.” Mine tried to compensate, saying “At least it wasn’t your leg.” I wore a plaster cast for two months—the same duration as this one. They cut it off with a power saw, and I have a scar where it nicked me.

This time the doctor cut off the fiberglass cast with a gadget that looked like a vacuum cleaner with a rotary saw attachment. The saw was designed to be unable to cut skin, a plausible safety feature. The doctor, nothing daunted, burned me with it, holding the hot edge a moment too long against a knuckle. Unfortunately it left no noticeable scar.

Sure sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Maybe you’re thinking of heading out to break a bone yourself, so you can have your own funny stories. Well, your choice, but check your health plan first.

Original version, 1995 (I think).
Added here February 2013.