Paying an arm and a leg for an arm was a bargain

I might be in love with my new cast.

Keep in mind that love doesn’t have to mean you adore everything about your SO. This ol’ thing chafes my thumb something fierce. It’s waterproof, but it still takes a while to dry. The palm is very chunky and restricts how well I can use moderately sized computer mice. It’s quite solid, but it digs into my forearm a little bit and I haven’t gotten used to sleeping with it yet.

I mean geez, we just started going steady yesterday.

It took a long time to get. You know how yesterday I was all I’m signing off because I don’t want to be durdling around on my phone when they call me. They called me maybe five minutes later and took me to another room with other hospital beds. I waited for perhaps another 30 minutes before anyone saw me. They tended to two other patients, then two new patients were brought in. Then a fellow (like, he was a gentleman but also “Fellow” was his title) was all “oh, have you been seen yet?” and I was all “nope” so he saw me and said a nurse would be back to check/remove my old cast, then he’d come back in 20 minutes. Meanwhile, the other patients were seen and excused. He came back in 20 minutes and I hadn’t been seen by the nurse. So he called a nurse who came ten minutes later. She cut off my cast and I waited for the Fellow to come back with the Doctor. This was maybe another 15 minutes’ wait. Then they said I needed a cast, so a nurse would be back to give me one. Ten minutes later she returned and gave me the option of a free plaster cast, a $45 lightweight fibreglass cast or a $90 fibreglass cast that would be waterproof. The second she stopped talking I opted for the $90 blue one. $90 for the ability to easily shower or wash dishes/hands for the next five weeks was a bargain. I left the hospital and it was absolutely pissing down. I had immediate gratification for my purchase.

So this new boi is an azure blue, supportive and functional. Plus I have full access to my fingers and thumb again, so I can actually perform basic tasks. I took one of my friend’s ideas and ran with it. Since sharpies were kind of de rigueur, she suggested getting paint markers so people could make colourful doodles. The concept assuaged my disappointment over the lack of brightly coloured cast options available. I let my girlfriend have first dibs on placement and design. So my arm is now adorned with a silver love heart with our initials and an arrow running through it. Also my fist comes emblazoned with a pretty rainbow arch in celebration of Pride Month. If joy is this easy to come by, you’re losing out by not jumping for it.

Best of all, I managed to root around the Service Desk at work for a teensy computer mouse. I can once again do my job unimpeded by the clumsy boundaries of my cast. I’m not gonna lie, my inability to do simple things was playing havoc on my self-worth. My independence is incredibly important to how I view myself. If I’m incapable of doing things without aid I get frustrated. Wrong as it is, on some level I believe that if I can’t do it on my own, then it’s not something I deserve.

On that note, something I deserve is to get the fuck out of here. I’ve put in a solid day of work.

Cast you later, alligator.

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Is the Canadian medical system Pro Bone-o?

I’m A36, they just called A25.

I guess this means I’m live reporting the wait before I get my cast. I’m sure its as exciting for you as it is for me. Blame my lack of cellphone reception in tall buildings. Otherwise I’d be on the internet and we’d both be getting on with our lives. But I’m here and so are a number of people whose injuries look worse than mine. The dude next to me has a full arm cast. Still managing to left hand wield his phone. Whenever you think you have it bad, right? Gawd think of the sweat up there. I’m sure his arm has created it’s own micro-bacterial culture by now. Life as we know it, but just a bit smellier. At least HE gets internet here.

I know a game of “who has it worse?” serves nobody. That being said, there are a ton of slings and crutches here. As much as I’m jonesing to get to work, some folks look like they’re in severe pain. Maybe best to get to them first? I don’t know how the system works. I’ve got a number (and haven’t heard any new numbers called since A25), but I’d hope if it was urgent the hospital would have procedures in place to sort that out. They probably do. It seems that most people here are of advanced age. They old. I guess that makes the most sense. Bones and bodies get fragile as the years pass. I mean, post age 20 injuries have taken longer to recover from. I think I went to physio maybe five times before I left my teens. After that, I’ve had months (or weeks, even) when I’ve been that often.

A26 and A27. Double Whammy. Guess that’s the upside of killing time. Everyone seems to be walking out of here- wait, limping- with blue casts. Maybe my dreams of a rainbow technicolour dream cast are dead to rights. Much like a Dreamcast of any colour. A28 and A29 were just called. Wowee. What’s the bet they change the letter system just before we get to A36? Look, I’m definitely still not complaining. This Canadian healthcare system is wonderful and it’s only done good by me. If a little wait and a blue cast is the worst I deal with then color me chuffed. Abadee abadye. Full arm cast dude just absconded with a doctor in silence. Are there secret alliances afoot? Or anarm?

Whatever injuries people have, most of them have been tempted by food court Tim Hortons. At least their patriotism to shitty coffee hasn’t been fractured. A30! We’re getting there. A dude with a similar looking arm cast to mine is A34. He and I shared a knowing nod earlier. I guess everyone here has a story of some variety. Not all eventful, I’m sure. A ton of fracture stories are just “I fell. Le Fin.” A32. Oh hey, I recognise a couple from the night I came in, primarily because the husband kept giving me shifty looks. He just gave me another shifty look, but he waved. Maybe I don’t know what congeniality looks like in the first place. Whoops. His wife had a particularly nasty broken arm in emergency and I kinda questioned why I went first. Not complaining, of course. A33 and A34. If we get one more double whammy I’m in! People around are sharing war stories now. I guess sharing pain is halving pain? It’s a good way to kill time in any sense

I’m signing off now. I want to be attentive and not on my phone when they call. These doctors’ time is valuable and I’d like to treat it as such.

Catch y’all after the “break” I guess.

Why did he never release an album called Bega is Better?

There’s a lot going on in the world.

Don’t expect a trenchant essay after that general statement. It’s more justification for me blabbing on about assorted unrelated miscellanea. I’ve been fairly housebound over the past week. A little bit o’ stir crazy was always gonna be part of the proceedings. By the way, did anyone else think the “Mambo No. 5” lyrics were “a little bit of Mardi Gras in my life”? As a child I just thought Bega was a party animal. I guess I wasn’t wrong. How exactly did Pitbull corner his market when ol’ Lou dawg has bangers like this up his sleeve? At least old white people still lose their shit over him.

Anyway, there’s a lot more going on too. Did you hear, by chance, of how the U.S. Government is prosecuting asylum seekers as criminals and separating them from their children? This article is a massive, heavy eye opener. Some are merely infants. These kids are all being held in a detention centre with no fucking idea what’s going on. It’s an inhumane action by a heartless government. Trump’s response? ‘This is really the Democrats’ fault since they wouldn’t let me have my wall.’ Right, so if you aren’t able to forcibly impose your xenophobia with a large structure, you’re gonna do it by taking your impotent aggression out on hundreds of families? Super presidential. I wonder how many ardent Right Wingers are re-enacting That Mitchell and Webb skit right now… Or more likely, doing phenomenal contortionist acts in order to justify their continuing support for this administration. How badly must you hate other cultures in order to think that this is the right thing to do? Even if you wanted to stem the influx of migrants, surely you’d rather them be turned around at the border rather than incarcerated, separated and have state funds going towards these camps? How can this be seen as remotely okay by anyone?

In other news, New Zealand continues to push the boundaries of what quality journalism is capable of. Take, for instance, this investigative report into the suspicious erection of two Countdown supermarkets across the road from one another. How? Why? What is it that Big Countdown doesn’t want us to know? They’re asking all the hard questions. Journalism for the people, by the people.

I’m seeing The Incredibles 2 tonight and I’m quite excited. How excited? Incredibly, naturally. It’s been 14 years since the initial film and since then, super heroes are one of the most pop culturally pervasive media juggernauts in existence. The first one preceded all this MCU nonsense and took an interesting tack. The family dynamics and golden day yearnings made it a fantastic blockbuster that lovingly squeezed its subject to bits. All the tropes skewered, but never nastily. A decade and a half later, there’s so much more to work with. Super hero material is (yes) incredibly fertile ground. Times have changed in terms of diversity and representation and it’d be a (sigh) marvel if they could harness that momentum within the film. Honestly, I haven’t been reading up on it ’cause I want to go in blind, but early reviews have been glowing.

I wonder what Lou Bega thinks about the U.S. immigration policies…

No zippy pun title today. This shit is un-great

Well this was heartbreaking to read.

I’ll save you the click if you’ve been there already, but it’s Chloe Dykstra’s essay on her abusive relationship with Chris Hardwick. It’s spread like wildfire through online nerd and comedy communities. Naturally there’s been a ton of support and aggressively defensive male neckbeards. It really is an awful depiction of how the insecurities of a partner can twist into overarching controlling and abusive behaviour. How an obsession with protecting an image can so violate the rights of another. Brutal stuff.

This isn’t about me whatsoever, but I want to mention something in the hopes that it gives some insight into how many might be taking this news. I’ve consumed an incredible amount of Chris Hardwick content. I’ve easily listened to hundreds of hours of the Nerdist Podcast. I’ve checked out other podcasts where Hardwick was guesting. I was most definitely a fan. I met the two of them at the 2013 Just For Laughs in Montreal and they were both really nice. I hadn’t realised they were a surprise midnight show and couldn’t get tickets. Hardwick was like “that’s no good. Meet me here 20 minutes before showtime and I’ll let you in backstage”. Chloe remarked that she owned the same Threadless shirt I did. We chatted about some of our favourite designs. It was a nice moment, especially as a fan. I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea that anything was less than ideal. They just seemed like a lovely couple.

Given the amount of image-mongering Hardwick seemed to do, I’m sure this was most people’s impression. For all the staunch white cis male dudes out there who’ve immediately jumped in to defend their idol and aim to discredit Dykstra, I really want to impress one thing. There was a phenomenal power imbalance. In cases like this, so many people tend not to understand how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship. Not speaking from personal experiences, but what I’ve often heard related is how the push and pull affects your worldview. The lows become so normalised that the highs make them all seem worth it. When the behaviour does something kind, it has an extra resonance beyond the norm. Then you feel guilty for thinking ill of them. In Dykstra’s case, this was a man 20 years her senior with an influential position in her chosen profession. She was in her early 20s. Not to negate her agency whatsoever, but how many of us knew what was best for ourselves when we were barely out of university? Can’t you empathise with not knowing how to deal with a situation that seemed so much larger than yourself? Would it be better to suffer through the relationship than to suffer the results of ending it?

There’s no excuse for stripping your partner’s autonomy, for using them as an object. That’s not a partnership by any definition. Outlining who your partner can spend time with, how they spend their time? That’s not seeing someone as an equal. Demanding that they’re always available for sex irrespective of their desires? That’s not consent. It’s abuse. All of it. I understand that for many, the meaning of consent seems to be rapidly changing. This is a good thing. It’s progress. We’re moving closer to a Fuck Yes or No mentality, which can only be a good thing. Yes, there’s nuance across the spectrum of desire. That doesn’t mean for a second that if someone’s not into it, going full steam ahead is acceptable. If you feel like putting your desires ahead of another’s needs is okay behaviour, that’s something you should take a closer look at.

I don’t have a great desire to broadcast Hardwick’s response, ’cause it rings a little hollow. That being said, it’s worth pointing out why it’s not a good apology (or even an apology at all for that matter). Look how quick he is to distance himself from the allegations. He’s not admitting fault for anything. A proper apology has three parts: Acknowledgement (he’s failed already), empathy/remorse and restitution. He’s taken no responsibility for his actions, acknowledgement of why she would’ve felt this way and no effort to do shit about it. He’s owned up to nothing and, worse yet, tried to use her as a scapegoat. He jumps immediately to discredit her as an unreliable witness. She cheated on me and then tried to get back with me, but I was so noble and said no. He tries to set up a moral dichotomy (but I’m a husband, a son, and future father. I have good social capital) as a way to dig in further (how could I be the one in the wrong). It’s an attempt to wash his hands clean of the whole thing. I know that I wanted better out of him, but I didn’t expect better. I have enough faith in how society is progressing that it’ll know better. Nerdist have already scrubbed his name from the company. They don’t want the association.

Who knows how this’ll affect the comedy community? So far it’s been suspiciously silent. So many prominent comics have directly benefited from the systems Hardwick put in place. I don’t think anyone wants to put a foot wrong, but their absence of input is pretty devastating.

Most of all, I hope Chloe is doing okay. It’s a massive deal to unearth so much of the toxic shit she had to deal with. Whether or not people “know” Hardwick, he’s a huge figure within certain industries. Fingers crossed she has good support networks to help her handle the fallout. She’s not helpless by any means, but there are a lot of eyes pointed at her right now.

I hope this all gets better. I may be waiting some time.

If Paddington got a girlfriend, would she be called Lady Marmalade?

News flash folks, Paddington was fucking delightful.

I’ve been harping on about this for some time, so it probably serves to give a token amount of backstory. I remember seeing the trailer for Paddington years ago. I thought nothing much of it. I’d watched the show as a kid. I remembered it being enjoyable enough, but that was about it. He had a hat? Liked marmalade? I think he wore Wellington boots? I had no idea of his personality or the artifice that made Paddington anything more than generic kid’s tv. So when I watched the trailer I thought I guess they’re desperately fishing for the dollars of those parents who loved it as kids. The concept of “it’s not for me and that’s fine” came to mind. I remembered something about delays in bringing it to the screen, but that was the last of it. I ignored the franchise and went on with my life.

Then came Paddington 2. It arrived not with a whimper, but with a roar. Upon hearing of it I was all set to immediately dismiss it. So I did. Then the critical reception came and it was mind-blowing. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, B+ or A reviews from actual legitimate film sources (remember kids, Rotten Tomatoes is an aggregate rating of whether or not a film is terrible. 100% on RT could mean that everyone rated it 6/10). What was going on? How had this harmless but insubstantial film become the darling of the cinematic reviewer society?

I immediately assumed something was afoot. Lady Bird I understood getting a 100% rating. Paddington 2, a sequel no less? It was some kind of joke. A bizarre hoax. This was some Berenstein Bears sort of shit. I already knew we were in some insane parallel universe after the one two punch of Brexit and Trump. The rise and rise of Paddington 2, however, was the icing on a peanut butter and rubber cake. What in sweet fucks was going on? There was no way it was that great. I didn’t have any desire to watch the film, but I’m also incurably curious. So I told myself I’d see it, but when the time came I couldn’t pull that trigger. It was never right. I was never bored enough or in the right mood.

Then I fractured my wrist and had time.

My girlfriend and I had just watched Annihilation. We needed a palette cleanser after the outstanding film shat itself in the last third. I’d been jokingly trying to get my girlfriend on the Paddington train (no pun intended, honestly) for a while and I think she flat out didn’t care enough to dissent. She resolved that if it was shit she could sleep or play on her phone. Within the first minute, we were both hooked. The setting was fun and vibrant. The world they’d explored with these technologically competent bears was goofy and neat. By the time the action got to London, we were already in love with the little guy. The cast was fantastically well rounded, featuring Julie Walters, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman and Peter Capaldi. The Brown family members were all intriguing in their own fashion and Kidman was a gloriously ruthless villain.

The plot made sense and it was a riot getting there. With one of the central tenets being Paddington as some walking disaster, they set up a myriad of Rube Goldberg style scenarios for him to create havoc. The movie was heartfelt without being saccharine. It was genuinely enjoyable to watch without so much as a sagging scene. Some gorgeous large scale set pieces to see, aided by helpful (and not gratuitous) CGI.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m legitimately excited to watch Paddington 2.

Swing at The King? Swinging was what got me into this mess

My life right now is structured around healing, but it struck me yesterday how much of my everyday is focused on maintenance.

It brought me back to one of those thought experiment questions that was going around. “If you could continue to have either the mind or body of a 30 year old as you aged, what would you choose and why?” I immediately jumped on the mind train. Having that kind of mental alacrity on hand, without the hurdles of gradual degeneration would be amazing. The quickness of wit, the curiosity and openness. Sign me up. My friend on the other hand saw it differently. She said you’d feel like your body was a prison. If your body stayed in good health, you wouldn’t notice the effects of ageing as much. It’d ease the passing years and allow you to continue to explore the world. Plus you’d have a bangin’ bod. Case closed. Come to think of it, If LeBron pays $1.5 million a year to have the body of a 20 year old, maybe she’s onto something.

Maintenance. It’s what keeps me going back to the gym and running. Strength and a healthy heart make the rest of life more bearable. It’s why I (begrudgingly) sleep each night, because my body (once again, begrudgingly) needs it. It’s why I watch what I eat and try to ensure I have enough protein/fibre in my diet. Need the protein to build muscle and the fibre to make sure the excess stocky protein doesn’t get lodged in my digestive tract. Food is how I keep my body running and if I’m ever super drained my first question is food or water?

I also take other substances to help me tackle the world. To keep my body running as smoothly as possible. I’m not sure if all of it totally works as advertised, but I’m certainly not gonna regret it if it does. Plus placebos have a 30% success rate or something, right? It’s all come from a variety of sources. Nutritionists, doctors, friends, probably my mum. So here’s the list of what I take every day (plus of course the stuff I’m taking for my wrist).

  • First up, allergy meds. I have a nasal spray called Mometasome. It’s a corticosteroid that cuts down on inflammation in my nose. I’ve had environmental allergies my whole life. This one lets me breathe through my nose, a luxury I didn’t know for my first 26 or so years on this planet.
  • Next allergy med is Cetrizine. It’s an antihistamine by any other name, but a little bit higher dosage. No runny nose, itchy eyes or any somesuch for me. It’s certainly made the outdoors a lot more habitable.
  • Post shower I’ll have a drop or two of Vitamin D. For my boooooones. I don’t get a ton of sun, despite the aforementioned antihistamine, so taking a few drops helps. Supposed to be good for the heart too.
  • Omega 3 capsules. Two per diem. I’m still not 100% on what Omega 3 are meant to do. I know they’re apparently great for heart function and the body doesn’t produce them on their own. I’ve heard they support healthy brain activity, which is something I too support.
  • At the moment for my wrist I’m taking two Naproxen/Esomeprazole a day. The doctor said it’s great for inflammation and the combination makes it far easier on your stomach than ibuprofen.
  • At the advice of my EMT friend, I’m also dabbling in homeopathy (something I usually try to shy away from). At this point I’ll do anything that could help me heal faster. I’m taking Arnica (to reduce swelling) and Symphytum (bone healing? Seems dubious but if there’s a chance it works, I’m on board). For each of them she suggested 30CH strength, five or six tablets each day, 1-2 at a time for the first week. After that, maybe one per day. Fingers crossed.
  • Lastly, before bed, I’ll take two Calcium & Magnesium Citrate capsules. (I’ve heard that) Calcium is great for bones and helps muscle function. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium. Seems like a no-brainer, if it’ll keep things running at their peak.

Who knows how all this junk is interacting? For all I know, vitamin in-fighting is turning my innards to mush. Or maybe it’ll give me super powers. If it’ll even just help me age gracefully, I’ll take that too.

Watch the throne LeBron, I’m comin’ for ya.

To be fair, couches take up a lot of room

I wonder what I’m gonna talk about today…

The thing is, it’s the one big happening in my life now. I’ve got no kids at home, just a girlfriend. Every moment of these recovery days is in the service of getting back to a level of self-sufficiency. I need to get back to work so I can pay the bills. I want to get back to activity so I can keep myself sane. To work my body and feel better. To have the dexterity to perform all manner of tasks efficiently again. To return to social spaces without getting totally worn out. To navigate life as an autonomous, independent person. So I’m taking my time, limiting the use of my right hand. Staying home rather than venturing out, so my ankles can heal up.

Yesterday I delved further into the Toronto medical industry. At my evening doctor’s appointment, I was told that the x-rays showed I had an ulnar styloid fracture in my wrist. As far as fractures went, it was the best I could’ve had. A light fracture at that, maybe a month’s healing with a cast. He also looked at my ankles and thought they were most likely lightly sprained, but could do with x-rays to be sure. He was curious to hear how I’d sustained such an unusual set of injuries and laughed at the mention of a giant standing 360° swing. “Vertically” I said. His jaw dropped. He said that with a good cast and rehabilitation I could be good to go in a month’s time. He sent me off to emergency to get checked out and cast up.

I had a dream run at Toronto Western Hospital’s emergency department. Two hours end to end. Having never visited a hospital’s emergency department before, I didn’t know what to expect. Someone directed me towards a sign up sheet. I’d been warned about the lengthy waits at busy hospitals. “How long do you think the average wait is?” I asked. “You’re the first name on the waiting list, so probably not long.” She replied. Before I’d finished jotting down my details, a clerk said “don’t bother, just come on through.” I told her her the details from my doctor “and you injured it how?” She asked. I mentioned the vertical 360° swing. Her reaction was much the same as his. I handed over the sheet he’d given me. She laughed. “He starts this form ‘strangely enough, this patient…'” She printed me out an armband and told me to sit and wait.

All of 20 minutes later I was checked out by an ER doctor and told to go through to x-rays. I waited there for at max five minutes before a young man in a lab coat told me to follow him. I lay down on a table as he took x-rays of my ankles, each in four different positions. I struggled to hold in a fart and distracted myself by marvelling at the amazing x-ray rig. It was attached to the ceiling on multiple tracks, so it could move anywhere in the room. It was awesome to see how manoeuvrable it was. He took more x-rays of my wrist just in case they couldn’t read the ones taken by the previous clinic. I was told to go and wait back in emergency. 15 minutes later a doctor pulled me over for a quick consult. She asked how I’d done it and I told her “well my friend replicated this massive swing he saw at Burning Man” She stopped me. “Burning Man says enough.” Apparently she was friends with my GP. She told me the ulnar styloid fracture diagnosis was correct, and they were gonna cast it up. It’d take about a month to heal. My ankles were confirmed as a light sprain. “Give them two weeks before running. If they hurt, stop.

She took me over to the casting area. There was a chair labelled “casting seat”.

Me: Isn’t this usually a couch?
Doc: It’s a hospital. Budgets are tight around here 😉

She wrapped my forearm and hand in a soft bandage, then pressed a more firm one on top of my arm reaching right to my knuckles. She put some kind of adhesive substance on it, then wrapped it in a soft cloth bandage. I told her it was my first ever cast. “Well unfortunately your friends won’t be able to sign it. It’s cloth.” She told me. “But when you get your fibreglass one it can be any colour you like.” I smiled. “Can I get a cool rainbow one for Pride?” She laughed. “Depends how bored they are over in fractures. If it isn’t busy, I don’t see why not.” She left me there with my arm in the air while I waited for it to dry. 15 minutes passed and a nurse told me I was free to go. The fracture clinic would give me a call and let me know when my fitting was. If I got fit in a more mobile cast I should be free to get back to work. As it stood with this cloth one, I was warned not to get it wet. Or feed it after midnight, obviously.

The clinic called today and told me the earliest I’d be able to get a fitting was Monday morning. I guess it’s gonna be a dry weekend.

I was amazingly lucky with a slow night at the hospital. Two hours after arriving I had x-rays on both ankles and my wrist, and a wrist cast. The staff were very friendly and informative, making a rough situation a hell of a lot more bearable. I was pretty damn unlucky to have the accident in the first place, but I’m all sorts of grateful for everything OHIP’s done for me. So far all I’ve paid is $30 for the meds. We’re pretty bloody fortunate here in Canada.

I figure that’s something worth talking about.