Flashback Friday – A Tumultuous Tale of Troubled Tendons

*The original version of this post appeared on Small, Drunk, and Bitchy on June 20th, 2011.

Tomorrow is June 21st – The official first day of summer. An overly welcomed turn of seasons as this year has brought us a brutally harsh winter followed by an annoyingly schizophrenic spring. Sure, its mid-week and tons of folks are working, but just seeing that date on the calendar is a bit of a reassurance that the weather is going to start getting undeniably awesome; camping trips, beach days, and random excursions to arbitrary destinations on a whim -the kind of stuff a proper summers are made of. This year, though, the excitement is all but feigned and largely for naught. And why’s that? Well, I’m getting surgery tomorrow.

Nothing life-threatening, no worries, it’s just my shoulder. That wily guardian of my beloved appendage just refuses to do its job one day more, and after years of my arm slipping out over and over, the muscle keeping it in place has worn thin. Actually, if you look at the MRI slides, you can see a golf ball sized void where muscle should be where it just… isn’t. So, that’s a problem. Of course when this comes up in conversation, the question of how this came to be comes into play, and I’m flung back in time to one of the most insanely out of control concerts I have ever attended in my time on this earth, and in this scene.

Deströyer 666 remains a band that, musically, I’m very fond of and for a time considered among my absolute favorites. Back in 2006, Phoenix Rising was what I considered a perfect album, so when I heard that they were venturing overseas and touring the States, I knew I had to see them. They kicked off their first ever North American tour in NYC, and a trip down to catch a band that I loved was no big deal and certainly nothing I hadn’t done many times before. September 29th, they were playing Metal Kingdom in Queens, and I hopped on the Fung-Wah with my boyfriend at the time and a few others, tickets in hand and booze sufficiently hidden until sporadic opportune moments to imbibe en route presented themselves.

Oh, P.S. I forgot my ID. That was an unfortunate realization getting to the door and being turned away time after time, when each eyelash bat, and sing-song whimper garnered annoyed looks rather than any sort of desired result. I waited outside, damn near begging to be let in by the time the last opener took the stage; not in tears, but pathetic and convincing enough in the end. In hindsight, I think it was more my shrill, incessant pleadings that finally just broke the poor doorman down enough to let me pass. I elbowed my way in just in time to see the headlining band I traveled down to see, successfully missing the entirety of the opening show. I didn’t care, I was happy enough at that point to be out of the cold and on my way to seeing a performance I had been anxiously awaiting for months.

I wish I could tell you exactly, song for song, what the set list was, I really do. Unfortunately, I don’t remember that far back. All I can tell you is as per usual for me back then, I was up at the front, fists clenched in the air, screaming back all the words the lead vocalist was venomously spewing out at the sea of heshers surrounding me. It was amazing. There were more bottles being broken over skulls than you could shake your leather laden fist at, and more fist fights than spikes on the meticulously planned out gauntlets that the bassist opted to wear that night. It was downright violent, and was I surprised? No. And only mildly concerned until a mass of drunken flesh and bone came at me like a battering ram, forcing my shoulder from its own socket.

So, I’m standing there. Still in the crowd, dumbfounded. This has never happened to me before, and it KILLS! Some big burly dude pulls me by my left/not messed up arm to the back to try to figure something out. I’m taken to the green room, now filled with members of the opening acts whos unknown debauchery I’ve very clearly disrupted, to suss out a plan of action. We’re kind of sitting there; they’re asking me if I need anything, I’m trying to figure out how to fix the situation without causing too much of a stir. I was vocal enough about forcing my way into the venue, I wasn’t going to be “that girl” and cause a scene to get out. So, I did what any other rational little lady would do. I popped it back in place myself.

Now, I know this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, limbs getting displaced and all. I’m sure you know that once it happens, it’s best to stay away from situations where it could happen again, especially immediately following. You’d think I’d take the hint after it popped back out a second time standing in a crowd such as this one, and to a point I did. In my defense, after that, I stepped back and removed myself from the front where most of the action was happening. Unfortunately, the front wasn’t the only place people were getting out of control bananas and POP, there it goes again. This being the third time within an hour, the pain is damn near unbearable and I saunter off to the very back to wait for the show to end. I am now “that girl”, sulking in the back with a bum arm, alone and wounded, watching the chaotic revelry continue without me.

That was almost five years ago. During this time, my shoulder has taken a liking to its rolling stone lifestyle, and removes itself from its otherwise suitable home when it sees fit. For a time, we had a nearly agreeable situation, where only the occasional activity would see it wandering off, but over time the list of offenses grew to be surprisingly dynamic; exercising, swimming, stretching, sleeping, doing my hair, sleeping, when I’m, uh, “with” my boyfriend, picking up pieces of paper, taking off my pants, and walking up the stairs all became chores my arm absolutely refused to take part in. So, after years of dealing with a temperamental, good for nuthin’ shoulder – betrayer of trust and harbinger of embarrassment – I’m getting surgery. This unfortunately means that I’ll be in a sling for a month, and prior to that, drugged up on painkillers in my bed for about two weeks.

Sure, it’s better to get this done and over with while I have pretty decent health insurance. And, yeah, I’ll have some summer to enjoy after the fact, both arms flailing jubilantly in the sun which is a completely normal pastime, I assure you. Admittedly, my mindset has been going from “meh” to downright bitter more frequently as the days have drawn closer. I mean, that’s less time I’ll have to spend at the beach, forget about rock climbing or all the heavy lifting I wanted to do this year. I can’t help you move your couch or even a coffee table this summer, and that breaks my heart! Looking on the bright side, maybe this’ll be the summer I can finally conquer ambidexterity. Or at least work on more confidently seeking out silver linings.

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