When people saw me sporting a beige arm splint they naturally assumed I had broken my wrist whilst drunk. Not true. We all know that when you’re drunk your body takes on a natural floppiness not unlike that of a five day old tulip stem, and that if you fall when drunk, most of the time you just accept your date with the cold hard ground and refrain from putting your body through any unnecessary stress. It’s happening. I’m falling. It’s done.
Then you get up, dust yourself off, and hope no-one filmed it. You might wake up a bit sore, but hey, muscle aches can get in line behind this feeling that your brain is composed of industrial strength tungsten and trying to escape through the top of your skull. No harm done.
When you haven’t been drinking, you have none of this laissez-faire attitude. You tense up as you see the approaching ground, and you stiffen up, putting all of your weight on whichever limb is outstretched. This was me, stone cold sober because I was on stage in a production of Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. I was Little Voice. Oh the irony! I was actually on my way to take the final bow when I went over, and being chock full of adrenaline, simply scooped up my zig-zag shaped arm and took that bow, before heading backstage and announcing that I might need to go to the hospital please, because arms aren’t zig-zag shaped.
At the hospital they told me it was one of the worst breaks they’d ever seen – and nobody wants hyperbole like that. They then gave me a metric shit tonne of drugs which had me laughing my head off because I was sure the doctor was quoting some trance song from the 90s and the fact that they had no clue what I was talking about was all some NHS in-joke. They then pulled my arm into the shape it was meant to be and sent me home in a cast to await a possible operation.
It was nearly 48 hours before I had a beer. THAT’S how bad I was. My friends had bought tickets to see me in the final Saturday night performance but ditched the production with the stand-in in order to sit in my house and cheer me up with alcohol, namely Co-Op’s own wheat beer. It’s the perfect beer for sick people – slightly fruity, quite cloudy so it can be disguised as a urine sample if any busybodies walk in – and apparently goes perfectly well with 70mg of codeine.
Codeine is a heck of a drug. I tweeted recently “I recommend codeine if you want to feel like your dead mum is holding your hand and then dream that your cousin is repeatedly vomiting into your face.” That’s about the size of it. I was supposed to be taking 70mg four times a day but when the opportunity came to get on the sweet sweet beer, I posited that three pints of English bitter was probably about the same strength as that in terms of pain relief so I ditched the codeine for paracetamol. Apparently codeine can be highly addictive but I could take it or leave it. I’ve clearly got the resolve of a spartan general. Except for when it comes to English bitter.
I was operated on and they placed a titanium plate in my wrist which to me looked just like a bottle opener. I was going to ask if they could make it shoot out of my wrist like Wolverine’s adamantium claw to make me an ever bigger hit at parties but I decided against it to save the NHS some money. I was worried about some plans I might have to cancel so I asked the surgeon how soon I could go about my normal life after the operation. “Well,” he said, “Obviously when you’re in the gym just stay off the weights.”
“Whoah there! I just mean I have tickets to Hamilton this weekend and I was hoping to have a beer or two!” Gym indeed. I’m so unfamiliar with the gym I have to call it James. (That joke works better when spoken.)
He assured me I could still go to London to see Hamilton and looked affronted that I doubted his skills in repairing me. My next trip ‘out’ after the operation was three days later when I went to see Niall Horan in concert. There I stood at the back taking full advantage of my invalid status to get my cousin to run to the bar for me. I had one pint of John Smiths in a plastic cup and later felt like my dreams were running out of my ears. That’s when I reduced the dose of codeine.
Since coming off the hard drugs the only hindrance to my drinking has been the number of pints I can carry back from the bar at once which has reduced from three to barely one. After the bandages came off I had a splint, which looks like the Infinity Gauntlet but if it was mass produced by Poundworld. It had a long, thick metal bar inside it which no-one seemed to worry I might use as a weapon. I now have no splint but a large scar which still has the Frankenstein-esque stitch marks in the skin and which people don’t really like to see. I can pick up a bottle of beer okay but a pint can be a struggle. I suppose that’s what this physio is for. By far the most difficult and painful job is typing, so I hope you’ve enjoyed this because now I am suffering terribly.
Coming up on the blog once this awful pain has subsided ; Chester Beer Festival, a Chester pub crawl, and a new monthly post which I am going to call ‘Various Pubs I Went To And What I Did There Which Were Not Really Significant or Interesting Enough To Merit Individual Articles But May As Well Be Recorded Nonetheless”.