We get asked a lot of questions every week, but we hear one more than any other lately: "How's Chad?"
Chad, of course, is award-winning photographer/Headwall managing editor Chad Harder, a 10-year veteran at the paper who almost lost his hand in a freak accident while on assignment over the summer. Doctors were able to save the hand, but the recovery process has been intense.
To get the skinny on how Chad's holding up, we cornered him at the Indy office — yes, he's been back in the office recently — for a quick Q&A.
1. What's been the best way to pass the time during your recovery?
There hasn't really been a good way to pass the time. Thinking about other people who are in worse shape is one activity I do to stay sane. I've certainly watched a lot of lousy movies and a few good ones. I watched Man on Wire. I liked it. It was nice to watch every episode of "Chappelle Show," that's for sure. And working on one-handed typing has been fun. I have a new appreciation for "Auto Correct" and "Auto Capitalize."
2. Who from the Indy has delivered you the best food so far? Be honest.
Hands down, sales rep Chris Melton. Enchiladas. It came in smokin' hot. Although next Tuesday I'm in store for some "redneck meal" that's supposed to be really good.
3. Most frustrating part of the recovery process?
Just not knowing if my hand will ever gain some sort of true function. I've learned that hands really define who you are. Whatever you do, you use your hands. Unless you're a soccer player.
4. Everyone keeps asking us what you need. Please, for the love of Betsy, what's one thing we can tell people?
I really don't need anything. So many people have helped with the house and meals that I can't think of anything. Even people I don't know have helped. I've had my name appear under images in 20,000 copies of the Independent for 10 years or so, causing me to suffer a little bit of JV celebrity status. But people who still don't know me have helped. At a Drum Brothers show they passed around a camera bag and one person put in a $5 check made out to "Chad Carter." That was amazing. We're thankful of all the support.
5. How's the hand feel now, on a scale of 1-10?
Sensation-wise, I'd say a 5. Usability, I'd say a minus 1. Finger mobility is still a matter of just a few degrees. But the wound closed yesterday. I'm not wearing a bandage for the first time.
6. Is it true that you're working on stories for both Headwall and the Indy?
Just Headwall at this point. But I still expect to write the story of the accident for the weekly. It was pretty remarkable what happened — all the surgeries, everything the surgeons and doctors did — and sometimes you forget about that because you just want your hand to work.
7. Can we expect to see you skiing this year?
Hell yes. I saw a friend of mine, Drew Dolan, skiing the backside of Discovery two years ago with a dislocated shoulder and he had his arm tucked into his jacket. I'm going to do that—that's where my hand belongs, tucked up there where it's warm.