So, about 2 minutes after taking this photo;
I slipped on the paraffin-laden solid granite pavement, everything went flying, and I ended up getting a very different kind of photo entirely;
That’s my right arm, and somewhere in there a minimally-deforming radial fracture that I don’t remotely have the training to actually see. Though I definitely don’t like the look of that suspiciously lumpy bit of bone. Here’s another look;
As fractures go, I think I got the best kind. It’s now 3 weeks later and I’m almost back to a full range of movement and strength is starting to return. I can write, type, take photos and most importantly, play music once again. The people at St. James’s Hospital have been very good, and if you ever plan to break anything I can recommend doing it near them.
Science is really really cool. Randomised control trials have shown that a simple millennia-old sling (not a cast) is the best treatment, so that’s what I got. About a century of rigourous bio-chemical engineering has led to little pills I could buy in a pharmacy that magically suppress complex sources of pain with minimal side-effects.
Over that same century we’ve progressed from a naive understanding of “Röntgen radiation” as mysterious emanations from a vacuum tube, to a complex quantum-mechanical model of X-Ray interactions that allows us to record these highly-ionising photon jet-streams on a semi-conductor, convert the impression into a digital image and then have it pop up on my clinicians desktop. Right now, reading a random blog on the internet, you can see inside my body – as easily as you might look out the window.
And social science is used too. Because people frequently forget their appointments, there are text message reminders; a few days, and one day before anything that’s scheduled. Again, a trial has shown that this is both cost-effective and clinically beneficial. And when I go to the physio-therapy clinic, I get given a simple set of tried and tested exercises that have been shown to lead to improvements.
Cooler still is that despite all of the science, and care and attention involved in the whole process – really it’s the body doing the work. Through some magic – mostly unknown – system of DNA signaling, controlled protein unfolding, stem-cells and “stuff”, tiny microscopic organic “bits” somehow communicate and coordinate the building of whole new bone, mostly in the right place. So without having to do all that much, I can play Fussball and write dumb blog entries again.
It’s almost worth doing just for the experience.