The End of the Boxing Career?

Storm here with a hypothetical question for all of you:

Let’s say you injured your arm on Thanksgiving doing something stupid like, I dunno, lifting a piano up with one arm (never you mind why.) And let’s say that that arm was your weaker (left) arm, which is also the arm attached to the hand that you use to form chords with on a guitar (possibly a Martin DC-AURA guitar with a black Fender strap and medium stings. Slight scuffing on the pick guard but otherwise well-kept.)

Now suppose you were told that you had two options:

1. Get surgery that may or may not succeed, as too much scar tissue may have built up given the length of time since the actual injury. The procedure is likely to be painful, and will involve a lengthy recovery period, but if successful will put things back pretty much as they were. Low chance of complications and/or re-injury, but it is surgery under general anesthesia. Yes, there will probably be powerful prescription pain relievers involved afterwards. No, recovery does not include eating a lot of iced cream.

2. Rehab the arm as-is, with no surgery. Arm (and hand) will function perfectly well, with no loss of coordination or hand strength, and little to no loss of mobility. HOWEVER, that arm will only have 30% of its original strength. For the rest of your life. THE… REST… OF… YOUR………. LIFE.

You don’t have to make this choice quite yet, but you have a doctor’s appointment in the morning at which time you expect to be presented with the two scenarios (though it’s equally likely you will be sent to a specialist first, and it will be that physician who will lay out the options.) But having found an injury description that matches your symptoms exactly, and not being given to hypochondria, you may as well be gazing into a crystal frickin’ ball.

It begs a few intellectually-stimulating questions, doesn’t it? Posers like "do I really need that much left-arm strength?" Maybe. I dunno. Sure, opening pickle jars might require more planning. And you might have to fight a bear some day. Or society could fall apart completely, and then that lost 70% of left-arm strength would sure come in handy, wouldn’t it?

I dunno. But even if there are tons of people out there with far worse situations and choices, I’m still glad it’s just a hypothetical question.


  1. Posted December 13, 2007 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    A hypothetical question? Did you really just type all of that out, only to tell us at the end that it was an entirely made-up scenario?

    Come now, Storm….:)

  2. Russ W
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Answering hypothetically: Since scar tissue may already be a factor and pain definitely will be going the surgical route, perhaps it’s better to go the physical therapy route. It involves no surgery, with its potential complications, and may rehab the arm to greater than 30% of its strength–it’s amazing what a determined individual and a little hard work can achieve. And if it turns out after a while that surgery really is necessary, nothing has been lost by attempting a seemingly safer and less disruptive alternative first.

  3. Posted December 13, 2007 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I can’t imagine suddenly only having 30% of the original strength in one of my arms. That would be crazy.

  4. Jowarri
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Dear Hypothetically-impaired,

    Get the surgery.

    1. Pain meds are wonderful, never decline an opportunity to experience them legally. All rock stars abuse painkillers, so this hypothetical guitarist would not be the first. Nor the last.

    2. The guitarist could issue a press release about the planned surgery and drug addiction rather than wait until after. Perhaps “E” would run it, they need content.

    3. Think of the awesome songs that person with the bad wing could write while heavily drugged. Worked for the Beatles, so don’t knock it until you try it. Hypothetical song titles include:
    * Vicadin is Going In (again and again)
    * Do You See What I See (remix)
    * I Hate Child-proof Caps
    * Look At Me, Now I’m Jimi

    4. If this person is ever hypothetically exposed to gamma-ray radiation, they would be severely handicapped in launching cars and other massive projectiles at the source of their rage. Nobody loves a crippled-up Hulk… nobody.

    On a serious note, I prefer middle C.

  5. Paul and Storm
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    [30% Storm here] [Begin hypothetical message]

    Yes indeed they poked, prodded and X-rayed, and then a machine spit out a punch card that said “see a specialist”. That will be tomorrow AM, which I expect to be a repeat of today (substituting “MRI-ed” for “X-rayed”). They can already see an “abnormality” in the X-ray, but I haven’t heard the word “amputate” yet, so the net-net is that I’m encouraged.

    I’d sure much rather go the PT route (they have one at The Specialist), though it might be worth the surgery just to have enough life experience to write “Look At Me, Now I’m Jimi” with authority.

    But if there’s anyone out there reading from The Government, I wouldn’t be opposed to dispensing with the rest of the testing and going straight to the bionics.

  6. Jack F
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Straight to the bionics? You’ve been hanging around with Coulton too much.

    I think I’d try to go with PT if possible. I mean hypothetically, of course. The few people I’ve talked to that have had shoulder impingment surgery (assuming that’s what we’re hypothetically talking about) have had mixed results: some liked the result, some didn’t.

    Keep in mind that when most people go to the doctor they suddenly turn off their intelligence and go along with whatever they’re told. Be sure to ask lots of questions. It’s not rude to ask how many times this guy has done this specific surgery, and how often it has had unsatisfactory results.

    Most importantly, don’t let the anesthetiologist hear one of your albums before the surgery. He may decide to do his part to protect society.

  7. Josh Jones
    Posted December 14, 2007 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this post, I had intended to attempt to move a piano with one arm later today, and now I know not to.

  8. LoonieBin
    Posted December 14, 2007 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I say surgery. For me, I’d say better 100% later than 30% now… that’s the way I see things. But what’s the cost of the surgery vs. the physio?

  9. Posted December 16, 2007 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, surgical tech. is pretty advanced these days, so see if that’s the case with this particular hypothetical surgery.

    Here’s hoping for a hand-feels-better pill.

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