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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Wright

Brittle

Updated: May 8


I didn’t expect the writing journey to unfold seamlessly, but I never anticipated what came to pass. Within six months of joyfully gliding down my new path, I snapped my left arm in a surfing accident. It was a clean break, severing the ulnar like a wishbone parting ways. As I sat in the emergency room, doctors debating surgical options, it dawned on me that writing might be challenging for a while.

 

I had no idea. It would be difficult, but I was blissfully unaware of what else was in store.

 

After they put Humpty Dumpty back together with plates and a checkerboard of screws, I felt nothing but gratitude. It wasn’t that bad; my first break at forty-five was more of a miracle, thanks to my Viking-grade bones. Writing was more manageable after a month of recovery with fewer throbs and aches. I felt so much better that I got back out on my board in some tame surf after two months, once medically cleared—big mistake.

 

After a precarious set dodged with some desperate paddles, my arm felt peculiar, a lifelessness I’d only known once before. It was no longer useful, much like that awful day in July when I paddled on my back with one good arm to the distant shore. Maybe it wasn’t that bad? Denial didn’t stick. Instead, my mind lit up the panic button. I knew what the x-ray would look like well before stepping foot in urgent care. Sure enough, the screws came loose, resembling a hastily discarded broken toy. Welcome to the surgical one percent club. Lovely.

 

The second operation should’ve been even easier. I knew what to expect. Once again, I hit pause on writing as recovery consumed my daily life. This time, the surgeon didn’t hold back, employing his arsenal of high gauge materials and a box full of screws. The x-rays looked like someone got slap-happy with a nail gun at my expense. But he insisted that even if I fell out of a multistory building, my arm wouldn’t budge. This was supposed to comfort me? He was a surgeon, not a diplomat. If I wanted assurances, I’d have to look elsewhere. But like all things, eventually, I would heal. My body would figure out how to maneuver around these god-awful Terminator parts.



My arm still gets a kick out of reminding me on occasion, just enough to keep me cautious. The feeling of metals kissing reminds me of my new and improved constitution whenever I lean my forearm on a table. Hard-on-hard is an unpleasant trigger. The pull away is instinctive, faster than a hand retracting from a hot stove. Then, I remind myself that this is the epitome of a first-world problem as I rub the discomfort away. And back to the computer I head, a bit heavier in the arm but wiser and more appreciative because of it.

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