the metal plate in my dad’s arm

My mom called today to tell me that my dad had “shot himself through the wrist with a nail gun.” I asked her to put him on the phone. The good news is it didn’t really go “through” his wrist. Apparently, it went in about half an inch, at which point it hit the metal plate in my dad’s arm and stopped. The nail, I’m told, was 3 inches long and would have done quite a bit of damage, if not for the plate.

My dad just laughed about it. I asked him if he went to the hospital and he said, “No, it’s just a puncture wound.” He’s tougher than I am, and he’s uninsured. He tells me not to worry about his being uninsured. As a veteran, he tells me that he can got to a VA hospital if he needs anytihng. I ask him if he’s planning to go and at least get a tetanus shot, and he tells me that men have been around a lot longer than tetanus shots. “Yeah,” I respond, “but they were lucky if they lived to be thirty years old.” He told me that he’d keep an eye on it and go and get help if he started to see red lines on his arm, moving toward his heart.

The cool thing is, this is the second time that this little piece of metal in his arm has saved his life. The first time, I was a newborn. He’d crashed a car and gotten pretty banged up. Among other things, his arm had snapped in half, requiring a metal plate to be screwed in place. As he was in the hospital, recuperating, the other guys in his unit shipped out for Vietnam. Of the twelve guys who shipped out, only two came back — one in a wheelchair and one without the use of a hand. My dad served the rest of his time stateside, in a military hospital.

So, in a way, this little piece of metal in my dad’s arm is the best thing that ever happened to him, or, for that matter, me… I just told him that, if I’m still alive when he dies, I’m going to get the plate out and start carrying it around with me.

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6 Comments

  1. msiono
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    The story may be all Maynard, but I would recognize my own bones anywhere! I realize you are likely to be angst-ridden over your Dad’s mishap, but a little credit where credit is due, please!

  2. ol' e cross
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    My dad was saved through a regimen of LSD and weight loss (6’1″ & under 115 lbs).

    Sadly, that leaves me with nothing to carry around after he’s gone.

  3. ol' e cross
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    My dad was saved through a regimen of LSD and weight loss (6’1″ & under 115 lbs).

    Sadly, that leaves me with nothing to carry around after he’s gone.

  4. egpenet
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I got a small box in the mail a few years ago and found a bright metal ball with a pin packed in the box. No note. I knew the box came from my Dad … then it hit me … my Mom (now deceased but alive at the time the package was sent) had her hips replaced and this was one of her titanium femur tips. I’m not sure where it is today. I also remember a cardboard box in my Dad’s garage filled with x-rays from my mother’s surgeries … dozens of various hip, leg and lower spine scans. Am I suprised that she developed leukemia in her late seventies, which killed her? No.

  5. Jack
    Posted October 6, 2006 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    My dad’s near death experience involves bending down at the moment a 2×4 was kicked up by a semi and launched endways through his windshield. Sure it’s not a metal plate but if I ever meet the guy who invented saftey glass, I’d like to shake his hand.

    Mark, hope you dad’s ok and please pass on my regards.

  6. mark
    Posted October 10, 2006 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    I’ll tell my dad that you said “hello,” Jack. Anyone else have a message that they’d like for me to pass along?

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