Yes, I know, it's a derogatory term. However, the term is self-applied, the injury self-inflicted, and considering how I feel about it (foolish as hell), it adequately applies to myself and my current circumstance. It happened while working -- separated the bicep of my right arm from the elbow, which now requires two casts for four weeks and a replacement brace for up to six months. I feel a bit like Tantalus, the son of Zeus, punished for my crimes by having no access to water or fruit, which is just outside my reach -- literally. In my current state, I cannot reach my mouth, am unable to grasp most items with my right hand, cannot write, type (beyond hunt and peck), bathe completely (the arm must be kept dry), or even fit the cast into certain shirts, etc. Naturally, being right-handed, and thus relying on my left hand for everything that I used to do unconsciously, it is now a Herculean task for my brain to communicate what should be simple motor functions to my left hand -- my left hand being a self-professed (and proud) slacker and under-achiever. Oddly enough, I'm comfortable allowing this under-achiever the responsibility of steering a 4,000 pound SUV down curvy mountain roads at 60 miles per hour all by himself.
Okay, I'm adjusting, and it could all be much worse -- but I'm not done. I also find I cannot hold my camera. As a professional photographer trying to make part of my income by producing images, I am truly screwed. With a right-handed orientation on the molded camera body, plus the inability to actually see through the viewfinder, my efforts have been relegated to plopping every shot atop a tripod (generally a good practice), using the flip-out digital screen for composition, trusting auto focus, and using a cable release to activate the shutter. The results have been mixed, even though the incidence of camera shake is greatly reduced. The problem is not being able to "see" the image I'm shooting. Additionally, most photographers know that inclement weather is frequently the best time to go shoot for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, the cast cannot get wet, so I have to approach my opportunities cautiously -- fewer hikes and more shots along the roadside. And don't even think about how cumbersome it is to change lenses. Following a few days trying to miserably replicate any sense of normality, I am exhausted and flustered emitting excessive energy producing mediocre work. If nothing else I have provided a sense of wonderment and chagrin for any other photographers that may be around me.
Eventually, all of this will come to an end in fairly short order, but the point is, we often take our abilities and physicality for granted and never assume just how much a simple injury can really incapacitate our ability to do our work and make a living. Take care of yourself out there, and always appreciate the opportunities you have to take whatever shots you can, when you can, even if the end result still looks like, well.....shit. After all, it's just a pleasure to be out there.