Samiam’s Scribble Pad

May 19, 2018

My Left Arm and the Royal Wedding

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:34 pm

Everything old is new again. My left arm has been in the wars since 1980. It has taught me a lot and I still need it. It’s hard to know where to start this story or where it ends. Basically in 1980 I was an average eight year old kid attending primary school in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. My parents split up a few years earlier and my father took up a job in North Africa teaching the nomadic farmers around Ksar Chellala in Algeria about modern farming practices of raising livestock such as inoculation against disease and the like. As a stock inspector with the South Australian department of agriculture this didn’t seem out of the ordinary. Foreign aid in agriculture in the eighties was a lucrative venture for those willing to travel. Myself and my two siblings stayed in touch with their father abroad via audio cassettes so we could hear each other’s voices albeit with six weeks latency. Now we get annoyed by a few milliseconds on Skype. So where does the left arm fit in with this story? The three Hodge kids were packed off in nice fresh tracksuits and traveled unaccompanied from Adelaide airport to Heathrow. We were well cared for by Qantas flight staff and were greeted by our father at the other end. But quite the journey for children which were used to flying from Adelaide to Kingscote Airport on Kangaroo Island, a twenty minute flight never leaving the state. Once in London, we met our second cousins, and enjoyed sights of royalty and pretty gardens. Bath, Oxford and Brighton followed. A trip over the channel in a hovercraft led to a train trip from the coast to Paris, where we found Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, before heading to the south of France to Ville de France where Dad had learned French before heading to Algeria. We also did a trip around the south of Ireland in a Caravan drawn by a patient Clydesdale, where my left arm gets to be part of the story. Bringing the horse in from the stable where it was tied up for the night. The three Hodge kids were riding the horse which has a very wide back in comparison to an eight year old’s legs. To dismount from an eight foot high horse resulted in me fracturing my ulna and radius. Dad and I were rushed to Dublin in an Ambulance leaving my elder brother and sister with the host family, apparently they had a wonderful time playing with an Apple Lisa computer so all jokes about Irish being backwards are lost on me. Anyway I can remember much about the hospital apart from an intramuscular injection in my rump and meeting a kid in the bed next to me who insisted on saying he had the name Sydney which was just a way of teasing me because I was Australian. How was I to know that the inhabitants of our ladies hospital for sick children were just trying to be social. To this day I have a terrible phobia of needles. Anyway we left the hospital in a cast and after a checkup in London we headed off to the arid plains of Algeria in an compound of expats in Ksar Chellala. We met nomadic elders in Bedouin tents who have lived this way for centuries herding their flock and travelling with an extended family and the amazing Arabian horses. We travelled to Roman ruins in Tunisia and saw the forts of the French occupation and the Muslim culture. It was very enriching for a kid from East Adelaide Primary School, whose family from both sides were humble wool farmers. That being said the plaster cast wore loose and when the cast was removed in London the doctor decided that muscle would grow over my second elbow and all would be well. The orthopaedic surgeon at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital had different opinions. I had it reset under anaesthetic and had a metal pin inside the length of my ulnar. It stayed there for a good twelve months before it was removed under a second surgical procedure. So that was two summers in plaster. Then the winter after I fractured my elbow playing football, I still managed to ride my bicycle home after the match, favouring the other arm for steering. Always the left arm. I think it was 1981 that I had the surgery and I was reminded last night that this was the year of the Charles and Diana Royal Wedding. So why the story telling now. On Thursday I had another procedure on my left arm. A few more bike falls in my mid forties left scar tissue so my ulna nerve is no longer getting the signal through to my pinky and ring finger. So it is time to fix that up and fish out about five bone nodules on the front of the joint. So tonight Charles and Di’s youngest is marrying his heartthrob from the States, and nothing has changed I still have a bung left arm. But my fracture taught me to say “J’ai tombe d’un cheval” when the Arabs stared at my cast and asked me what happened. I am still scared of needles and the nurse had to hold my hand when I had the drip put in on Thursday. Somethings never change but to know the world is bigger than a few suburbs of Adelaide when you are eight years old gives you a perspective of the world that doesn’t show its wisdom in a few scars on your left arm. Now my biggest fear is I won’t be able to type properly anymore. But this came out OK with just one right thumb and an iPhone.


  1. And that was the arm I bumped today? Sorry!

    What a story.

    Comment by Pauline — May 25, 2018 @ 10:49 pm

  2. Fascinating journey I shall notice. You are somewhat lucky ending up in software development where the most strain left arm can normally experience is from the mechanical keyboard with “cherry black” caps.

    _reminder to self:_ Check Sam’s blog at least once per year.

    Comment by Andrew — February 2, 2019 @ 3:05 pm

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