Many of you have inquired about the strange, cyborg-like device I'm wearing on my arm in the latest round of shows airing on HGTV. Well first let me say that I actually shot those shows last year, so I'm no longer wearing the contraption. And now let me explain why I was wearing it in the first place.
Four years ago, I got into weightlifting, primarily as a means of losing weight. And it worked. I lost just over 45 lbs in the first year, and although I never imagined that I would actually enjoy weightlifting, the truth is I loved it. Problem is, I loved it too much. I started out lifting moderate weight, but as time went on, I felt the need to lift heavy stuff. And when I say heavy, I'm talking about certain routines in which I was routinely lifting over 300 lbs, and in some cases well over 400 lbs. Not bad for an old man, huh?
Yeah, that's what I thought. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that as you get older, your connective tissue (ligaments and tendons) loses moisture and elasticity, which makes you more prone to injury.
So one day, nearly a year ago to this day, I was working out and having one of my best days ever in the gym. I was focusing on singles, a routine in which you lift the bar once, rest 30 seconds or so, then lift again for a total of ten reps. I was doing dead lifts with 345 lbs. After the tenth lift, I decided to do a few pullups just to stretch my spine a bit. I jumped to grab the pullup bar, but my left hand slipped and my right arm took all of my body weight. I heard a snap in my arm, and then felt an excruciating pain.
Although I didn't realize it at the time, a trip to my orthopedic surgeon (Kevin Dukes) confirmed that I'd ruptured my bicep muscle. Basically, the connective tissue snapped, which caused my bicep to curl up toward my shoulder. Ouch! Kevin suggested that I have surgery right away, but I told him I had to be in Detroit in two days to do a fundraiser. So he put my arm in a sling, gave me pain pills, and said I was going to have a miserable time in Detroit.
He was right. In fact, I don't even remember much of the trip. When I got home, I went straight to the hospital and had surgery. Kevin made one incision at the inside bend of my elbow, through which he retrieved my bicep. He made another incision at the outside bend of my elbow, drilled a hole through the bone, and screwed my bicep back into place. I wore a shoulder-to-fingers cast for two weeks, then I was fitted with the metal brace, which I wore for about six weeks or so.
I'm okay now, although the arm isn't what it used to be. And I've had to rethink my approach to weightlifting. But what's really strange about this whole story is the response I got from HGTV when I notified them of the accident. One of the programming directors asked if I could continue taping the show, but create shots such that you couldn't see my injured arm. I laughed at first, thinking he couldn't be serious. But he was! So in two segments we actually had me partially behind a tree, squatting behind the compost pile or wheelbarrow, and in various other settings where you couldn't see my arm. Finally, even the network folks realized how limiting (and stupid) the idea was, and I began to reveal the injured arm in all its cyborg splendor.
So there you have it -- the real story behind my injured arm. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go lift weights.