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.”