10 Funny Things About Breaking Your Humerus

#1. It’s really your shoulder

While the distal end of the humerus is your elbow, aka your “funny bone,” the proximal end is, in layman’s terms, your shoulder. [For any medical professionals out there, yes, yes, we know there are two other bones involved in the overall shoulder configuration: the clavicle (collarbone) and the scapula (shoulder blade), but they aren’t funny.] So after you faceplant in your garage one Monday morning and can no longer raise your arm, it’s likely the ER doc will diagnose you with a broken shoulder.

#2. Pain relievers can result in greater pain

Google “broken shoulder” and you’ll get 20 gazillion results in .001 seconds confirming that a broken shoulder is one of the most painful injuries you can sustain. To say it causes severe pain is like saying Cam Newton was a big hit in Boston; in other words, a bit of an understatement, or more accurately, a gross misrepresentation of the truth.

Diagnosed with this particular injury, you will be privy to a wondrous panoply of analgesics, from opiates to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), without the need for seedy/illegal dealer interface. Be aware side effects include: dizziness, nausea, extreme abdominal distress, and fainting, or syncope as they call it in the ER.

Syncope, pronounced sink-oh-pea, or sinking when said with a Caribbean accent which many hospital staffers seem to have, sounds rather poetic. You, like me, may find yourself sinking repeatedly, but not into sweet oblivion. CPR performed after sinking episodes may fracture a rib. The nausea isn’t fun either.

Alas, if you, like me, suffer such side effects, you will never be eligible for any of that Sackler/Purdue Pharma payout.

#3. It’s a character development workshop

If you’re a writer, this experience will provide a treasure trove of material. First, there’s the transport technician, who says, as he wheels you down the corridor, “So many old ladies have flashed me it’s a wonder I’m still attracted to women, or anyone at all for that matter.” After he parks you outside the MRI and CT imaging rooms, you hope he didn’t just lump you into that category. Then you meet the hirsute fellow whose Statue of Liberty tattoo has transformed the Lady Liberty on his forearm into a carnival sideshow. From there, the fast-talking night nurse, with eyelashes like shag carpet, explains that regardless of the dual IVs in your good arm, they need to draw blood by inserting a third needle. You have the sinking feeling syncope may soon return.

#4. Bottoms up when it comes to getting dressed

When you cannot lift one arm past your waist, and that arm is bruised and swollen, clothing presents a challenge. You will be amazed to learn that you can step into v-necks and pull them up over your hips. Likewise, lowcut, spaghetti-strapped anything. You might look kinda sexy if it weren’t for the standard-issue baby blue sling—oh, and your hair.

For the next six months, there is zero chance you’ll be sporting ponytails, braids, or even a sloppy bun. Hats are out because it takes one hand to hold the chapeau and another to stuff your hair into it. The matted hairstyle you’ll slowly develop will have nothing to do with cultural appropriation.

#5. Halfway ≠ Half-assed

One-handed means you are only working at 50% capacity. Take this as permission to finish absolutely nothing during the next three to six months. In fact, maybe view this as the ideal time to start projects given you have an automatic free pass for failing to cross the finish line.

In addition, whatever you to choose to do will take you twice as long, reducing your productivity another 50%, taking you down to 25% which means I could have stopped halfway through item #2… Man! I am so out of here.

All kidding aside, I’m so grateful to friends and neighbors who’ve been taking care of me, especially Barbara Krumdieck for getting me to the ER, bringing meals, and feeding my true addiction: chocolate; and to Kurt Rindoks who is making great strides toward mastering the sloppy bun and who loves me no matter how awful I look/smell/feel.