A message from the left wing | Friday 7 December 2012

On Tuesday I came off my bike, in a way familiar to many Melburnian cyclists: getting stuck in the tram tracks and being thrown onto the road (and usually oncoming traffic).

I was really lucky, as atypically for Camberwell Rd at 7:30am on a weekday there was virtually no oncoming traffic. The driver behind me was from my work and she stopped to make sure I was okay. The one car in the oncoming traffic lane also stopped to check on me… because people are generally pretty great.

I said that I was fine, but I gradually realised that my shoulder hurt like a mother-bitch and I was pretty dazed (my helmet saved me from likely being brain damaged – WEAR A HELMET KIDS).

I used both hands to pull my bike (still shiny and in perfect condition, single speed arsehole that it is) up the stairs and thought, “hmmm… something’s wrong here” as my right arm didn’t really seem that keen on movement, and outright opposed to lifting weight.

I decided not to get changed out of my hugely attractive attire of bike shorts (with dignity preserved thanks to shitty running shorts), grey running t-shirt, business socks and $7 K-Mart volley knock-offs, and instead sat down at my desk to get the day ready for my staff, planning to shower and get dressed later.

Half an hour later I called my lovely wife Lily to pick me up as by now I was holding my wrist to keep my right arm from moving; my fingers were starting to look swollen and a little red/purple. I’m right-handed, so typing out our plans and training one of my staff on a new process was proving to be a bit of a hassle.

“Do you think this looks swollen?” I said to the first aid officer.

“Yeah, it does..” she said, grimacing. “Hey, is [staff member] coming in today?”

[Staff member] was not coming in. There were things to be done. So I did them.

Eventually my boss came in, I briefed her on the rest of the day’s events, she told me about her stubbed toe, and Lily came to the office door to take me to the hospital (but not before I made her stop for coffee – I am not addressing any trauma without coffee).

The eventual conclusion was that I had broken my radial bone at the joint (elbow) and had bursitis in my shoulder (the bursa is apparently not the body’s financial administrator [bursar], but a sack of fluid that provides a cushion in the moving joint and can become inflamed).

“You’re going to need to see a surgeon, most likely not for surgery, but to get referred for some very aggressive physiotherapy to stop your shoulder from locking up while your arm is in a sling for the next four weeks,” the charming and very British young female doctor told me, altogether too merrily to my mind.

“I’ll give you a certificate for 10 days, but what do you do for work?”

“For work I’m a manager in a local government customer service area… call centre mostly.”

“Oh well, then you’ll be fine.”

“But I’m also an illustrator…”

“Just a hobby, though..” she said, looking like she was suppressing an eye roll.

“No, well, yes. I get paid money for it. I get commissions, it goes places. I was hoping to start on a graphic novel over the summer.”

“No, you’re not going to be able to do that. Four weeks in a sling. There are no rules, you can try earlier, but it will probably hurt,” she said. “…But you can go to work in 10 days. You can type left-handed these days.”

I don’t know if typing left-handed was ever verboten, but she’s the expert I guess.

She left me with the other doctor, and to explain it to Lily (who looked after me amazingly well and guarded me with big concerned eyes and prompts about where I was hurting for the doctors) through the haze of Endone now pulling me into sleep.

So that’s where we’re at.

My gigantic new Wacom Intuos5 arrived on Wednesday. The below is my left handed attempt to test it out.

I will be back, and I will be better than before. But for the moment I may stick to slowly typed text and maybe trying to learn some code.left wing


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