A Simple Misunderstanding

February 6, 2012 — 5 Comments

In 2008 I broke my short arm.  I now have a plate and 7 screws holding it all together.  

At one of my follow-up visits after surgery, I totally freaked out the nurse.

She was checking my blood pressure and asking the standard preliminary questions when she said, “May I ask what happened to your arm?”

At this point my normal reaction would be, “I was born that way.”  But, since I was recovering from surgery, that was what was on my mind and I figured it was on hers, too.

“Oh, I fell down three stairs,” I replied.

“OH MY GOD!” she blurted out. “Are you serious??”

She looked absolutely horrified.  I could see the gears churning inside her head.  I couldn’t figure out what was so surprising…and then it hit me: She didn’t know I was born with a short left arm!  I just assumed she did and that she was asking because of the scar.

“Oh no!  I was actually born with my arm like this, but I also recently broke it,” I explained.

“Ohhhh,” she sighed.  “I was thinking to myself, ‘My God, he fell down three stairs and broke his arm badly enough that they had to amputate?'”

I laughed way more than she did when she said that.

We had a good discusion afterward and it gave me the idea for the subtitle of my yet-to-be-written memoir: I Was Born That Way…And Then I Broke It.

In retrospect, I probably just should have said, “Chainsaw accident.”


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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

5 responses to A Simple Misunderstanding

  1. Hilarious. Thanks for your post.

  2. Just see what a moment’s thoughtlessness can do, Ryan .. and it can work both ways – from you to this nurse ANd from us to you

    Bless you, Brother

  3. Mary Christensen February 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Back in my school days & tired of being asked this by others kids, Who on occasion would demand that I show them my stump, I’ve said “shark attack”, “Train accident” & “I reached for a dinner roll before grace”.

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