Thursday, 23 June 2011

The burdens of being upright

If I were an animal, I think I would be a shark. Slinking around the ocean like the slinkies of the sea. And I do like slinkies. They are a lot like some people I know: pointless and useless, but they bring a smile to my face when I push them down the stairs.

Speaking of being pushed down stairs, a few months ago I had the displeasure of falling off a balcony. After dislocating my jaw, a fracture in my back, and breaking it in three places, and shattering all the bones in one arm, I began thinking I might prefer the life and style of an animal. Or an inanimate object. I soon ruled out the latter, however, after the realisation that the only object I would really like to be is a slinky, and this would not help me greatly when falling off balconies. And as I am already adept at picking myself up uninjured at the bottom of a staircase, my life as a slinky would be somewhat redundant.

But who ever heard of a shark falling off an eight metre high balcony? Not I, rabbi. So shark it will be.

Or at least it would, if the surgeons had asked my opinion before performing life-and-limb-saving surgery. Waking up thirty hours later with little memory of the previous day's events, the question burning on my lips was, naturally, to do with body modification. The nurse looked at me quizzically as my puffy face mumbled...

..."Am I going to get a hook?"
"No sweetie, your arm's still there."

At the time, I was rather pleased to still have four limbs. In fact, I still am. This is the second time in two years I have nearly lost an important appendage, and thanks to Dr Ringo at the hospital in Dar es Salaam and Dr Beard here in Sydney, my left arm and right leg remain, for the most part, in tact. However, thanks to many weeks musing while in hospital and the suggestions of some of my favourite friends, I am beginning to realise that precision surgery is rather limiting itself. I am naturally impressed the doctors managed to tape my body back together, and can't wait to go to the airport and set off metal detectors with my new titanium-enforced body. Nevertheless, I have some suggestions and even blueprints of ideas for further surgery I may need. The doc wants to do a bone graft, though I'm leaning somewhat towards a hook.

Unless you know Harry Potter (which I don't), it's impossible to transfigure your body into a shark (it's true, I looked it up). My dreams of becoming a shark, immune to balcony-related injuries the world over, have been quashed, and I'm looking for the next best thing. I had many theories as to how they patched me up in the hours following The Fall, including a very serious one about skin from my leg being put in my mouth. It was the most logical conclusion as I had a dressing on my leg and a mysterious flap of skin keeping my face together from the bottom lip down. I was seriously impressed, until I found out that skin grafts from leg to lip are just not done. Nevertheless, the nickname "Leg Lip" was inspired, and the term of endearment is sure to last many years to come. Thanks Amzzz.

Amzzz is also insistent that if and when I have a bone graft to my arm, the source bone comes from my butt. Determined that Bum Arm not become a myth like the fabled Leg Lip, I have a good mind to ask my surgeon if this is indeed possible. But the possibilities do not end there. If acquiring a hook is out of the question, I am adamant that the metal in my arm be refashioned in the shape of a gun. If one cannot be surgically modified to reflect a shark, a mock-terrorist might be fun. Or perhaps the metal in my arm could extend and shoot between my fingers, a la Wolverine.

Leg Lip, Bum Arm Wolvernid.

Alas, my next visit with the surgeon is five weeks away. My ingenious ideas shall have to wait until then, although I am keen to capitalise on this opportunity to draw up more thorough references. In the meantime, the dentist and his drills eagerly await the fast approaching chance to recreate my winning smile. The crooked grin, I can live with, but the hobo teeth are most unfortunate. No Janey, it does not make me look happy, it makes me look like a bogan. A bogan who can't win a fight. And has to use an infant toothbrush and carry their own supply of straws.

My body's awesome.