Sunday 25 September 2016

Goodbye 2015 - and a farewell to arms

Published 28/12/2015 | 02:30

Traumatic: Brendan O'Connor's arm injury.
Traumatic: Brendan O'Connor's arm injury.

They said I should give you an update on The Arm - One Year On. What do you mean you've forgotten about The Arm? The Arm was only one of the most traumatic things to happen me, like, EVER. And surely you couldn't have failed to notice the mileage I got out of it. Everything is indeed copy, and the arm filled a fair few weeks in this slot. It had to, because when the arm was happening, there wasn't much else happening in my life.

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I had reason to reflect on The Arm recently after my wife reminded me that it was the anniversary of The Arm, or at least the incident that did for The Arm.

And what a year it was. I started out the year feeling deeply sorry for myself and the broken arm (Allow me to say again. There is nothing funny about a broken humerus). It hung limply off me, powerless, useless and pathetic. But little did I know then what the year was to bring some of the people around me. I know a lot of people who would happily take The Arm as their major problem in life.

On reflection, I think The Arm was probably an important part of what is known these days as my 'journey'. Really, that's the only way you can look on it. Because otherwise you'd only get bitter and curse your bad luck. Of course, I swore when The Arm happened never to take my able body for granted again. But you know how it goes. I do take it for granted again. Though I think there is a small part of me that is grateful for the use of my limbs, and the ability to tie my laces and lift up the kids. When I think of poor little Mary, running out the door to me every day for months, greeting me with her mantra: "Your arm all better?" Waiting with bated breathe for the day I could throw her up on my shoulders again. And Anna getting upset because things were apparently never going to be the same again. Believe it or not, my daughter is prone to drama. Don't know where she got it.

So one year on, The Arm is not quite perfect but it is serviceable. The scar, however, is not playing ball. It seems to be a keloid scar. You're wha' Gay? Allow me to hand you over to my friends from Wikipedia. "Keloids are firm, rubbery lesions or shiny, fibrous nodules and can vary from pink to the colour of the patient's flesh or red to dark brown in colour. A keloid scar is benign, but is sometimes accompanied by severe itchiness, pain and changes in texture." In other words, while I should have a manly thin line down from my shoulder, I mainly have a swollen, pink, itchy, sensitive, sometimes sore, hideous deformity. I don't know why I have this. I'd be much more likely to get one if I was African-American and between the ages of 10 and 20. Indeed, as a Caucasian, I am 15 times less likely to get a keloid. It has made me wonder about the fact that my hair in its natural state is essentially a white afro.

So it'll be laser for the keloid in the New Year. That aside, I am largely fully functional. My movement is still slightly restricted, but not so as you'd notice, and at certain angles there is a complete lack of power. That's my own fault really, so I'm going to get down to using my puny, little-girl dumbbells in the New Year.

The Arm did, of course, lead to me relearning to swim, which has had very positive results, including taking to the open water, so if I was spiritual, I could decide that good things can come of disaster.

The sympathy is, of course, long gone. You can only milk an arm for so long and I like to think I got the maximum out of it while also seeming very brave. Indeed, one of the low points in the whole arm saga, after it burst open in a taxi leading to a hospital mercy dash in a blood-soaked cab (Relax, I paid him the soiling fee) coincided with a high point in my TV career, when the Saturday Night Show eclipsed the Late Late in ratings. I think the lesson we can take from that is that you possibly do better in show business if you are on heavy drugs. For a week or two there, I was the Jimi Hendrix of the weekend light-entertainment chat-show scene. The only other lesson we can take from all this, as we look back on The Year of The Arm, is don't break your arm. But the problem is, it happens when you least expect it.

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