His Humor Is Straight As An Arrow

, , , | Healthy | November 21, 2017

Before I retired, I spent many years working permanent nights in operating theatres, giving skilled assistance to the anaesthetist. We performed emergency surgery in quite a few fields but our main area of expertise was plastic surgery.

One night, a young man was brought into the anaesthetic room conscious, calm, and pain-free. We started to talk about what had happened to him. He was a competitive archer and he presented with a carbon fibre arrow through his left hand! On one side there was about a foot of gleaming black arrow with a perfect flight and on the other side there was a hideous splay of fractured carbon fibre. He explained that the only problem with carbon fibre arrows is that they are susceptible to damage if one strikes another in the target. He simply didn’t notice that this particular arrow had been weakened and when he released it the torque caused it to fracture and it punched through his hand.

I started to formally check him in: looking at his wristband I asked him to state his name and date of birth. Both tallied. “When did you last have anything to eat or drink?” Quite a few hours, so no problem. “Are you allergic to anything, especially any drugs or medicines?” No allergies. “Do you have any jewellery or body piercings?” He gestured towards his left hand: “Oh, just the one…”

I felt myself going bright red and we both giggled. We sent him off to sleep and the surgeon removed the arrow, cleaned up and debrided the wound, and carefully checked to see if he’d damaged any of the structures inside his hand. Fortunately, nothing significant had been affected – he was very lucky.

On nights we multitask, so I had to supervise his recovery from the anaesthetic. Before discharging him to the ward, I made sure that he could remember his snappy reply. “You’ll be dining out on that one, I’m sure!”

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