I was riding my bike back from the Fringe festival today, along Sherbrooke St, when I got to the corner of St-Mathieu, where I was struck with a slew of memories. Mind you, this is a fairly non-descript corner, the only remarkable thing being La Maîtresse, a resto that serves passable French cuisine for about $100/2 people.
But that’s not the story.
About three years ago, I was leaving my job at the Montreal Mirror to work as a tech writer at Phoenix. On my last night out, there was a gathering at the bar across the street to signal my departure. Several Guinnesses into the soirée, my boss bought me a tequila, which I hadn’t drunk since my university days, when I used it as a lubricant to get into girls’ pants.
After awhile, folks started to arm-wrestle each other. A fellow reporter was up against my boss, and she seemed to be holding up quite well. Being intoxicated, I figured I could display my manly strength, especially seeing as how I had been climbing for several months. Of course, being blond and ignorant, I had failed to notice that my boss wasn’t trying as hard as he should against the her. Also, the last time I had arm-wrestled was approximately 25 years before.
When it got down to him and I, the struggle was close; I was nearly pinned, but he couldn’t get my hand down. My fore-arm was bulging, but I wouldn’t give up. Silly me.
There was an explosion in the bar, and I witnessed this look of horror in my opponent’s face just as he let my hand go. As I pulled my arm back, I realised that it came back crookedly. “Um,” I thought (drunkenly), “I must have dislocated my elbow.” I was about to try to hit my elbow back into place when I realised that the pain was coming from my upper arm.
You know how they talk about exquisite pain? This wasn’t it.
Long story short, I was taken in an ambulance to the hospital, where the doctors ascertained that my humerous had split apart on a spiral, cutting through the radial nerve, making my right hand useless. I was taken into surgery the next day, where a plate was inserted into my upper arm, attached by eight screws. The bone healed fairly quickly, but there were questions as to whether I would ever regain the use of my right arm.
As I said, I was starting a new job, but I also had to learn to use a mouse with my left hand, as well as type lefty-only. I had regular visits at the hospital, where they monitored what little progression I was making.
After the visits, I would walk down St-Mathieu, facing the possibility that I was either facing much more surgery in the future, or that I would have the face the future with only one arm.
To make myself feel better, I would stop by a store called Kayakqua (now RocZone in the Faubourg) where I would treat myself to a piece of climbing equipment. I never knew if I would ever get to use this equipment, but it helped. Three years later, most of my climbing gear comes from purchases I made at that time. The arm healed, I can use my hand.