No, that’s not me in the picture above. That is David (aka, Diablo) Matthews, lying on the pavement of the 710 freeway. He is taking a selfie of himself in the aftermath of an incident where a motorist in a hurry to get into the HOV lane cut across the double-yellow and sent him sliding across 3 lanes at 85 mph. If you look closely, you can see that he is smiling. Smiling, despite the fact that he had suffered a double compound fracture of his left arm, and his right arm had dislocated at the shoulder and pushed into his chest. Now this is a person who knows a bit about absorbing those insults and injuries that we are prone to!
I spend a good chunk of my days sitting around coffee houses, talking to pretty girls and other interesting characters. Working, I call it, and it’s great work if you can get it! Today was a banner day for me. I was in my customary location when a lovely young lady sat on the bench next to me and was soon joined by a bearded biker type gentleman, replete with baseball hat and tattoos. Having an arm in a great big honking splint is a great ice-breaker, and sure enough, David (as I found out later) inquired about my arm. He was conscious enough to offer me a firm left-handed handshake, and I soon found out that there was a story in that left arm!
I found that David was only seven weeks removed from major surgery on that arm, surgery to completely redo the unsatisfactory work that was done two years before after his accident. His initial surgery had left him with limited mobility, much pain, and a few fingers that weren’t working. The latter condition was particularly galling as David supports himself by making jewelry, as you can see on his web page. Over the next two years David consulted numerous orthopedic surgeons until finally settling on Dr. John Itamura at White Memorial Medical Center, a member of the Kerlan-Jobe group. Dr. Itamura’s assessment was that the earlier surgery had used very outmoded methodology and been badly executed to boot. He advised starting from scratch, removing old hardware, rebreaking the bones, and resetting everything using newer techniques.
So, that is what happened just seven short weeks ago, and the results are amazing. Except for the scar, which is still rather raw, you would be hard pressed to notice any thing special about that arm. He has full flexion, but comes a bit short on extension. I foresee a day when his physical therapist has to throw her entire 95 pounds into fixing that, but for now Dr. Itamura wants to give more time for the bones to heal. Best of all, those fingers that weren’t working are back in action, and David is a much happier man, ready to put this episode behind him. My kind of guy!