So, about the last two weeks…

What happened to me…

Oh, my, where to start this story. I want to write it down before I forget it, as I know I will. Well, not the experience, per se, but the details. And I don’t want to forget them. As I’ve learned all too well over the years, these experiences that shape me come back to haunt me in the future, and I’d rather know and remember what happened, and when, so that I can be ready when that does happen.

So where to begin? I traveled out east for a visit with an established specialist to try to get some answers to my chronic undiagnosed medical issues. And it gave me an opportunity to see my family – bonus! The trip started well, with travel going smoothly, a wonderful visit, and time with my parents. Since my brother and his family live near where my medical visit was, we had lunch with him, before my appointment, and my parents hung out with him while waiting for me. That night, we’d planned a family dinner, in part to celebrate my parents’ 50th anniversary.

We arrived at the restaurant with my parents, brother, and his family (2 kids, spouse), and were seated on a lovely outside patio, and had a toast to my parents after we ordered. Then I made my way to the bathroom… which was in a basement requiring me to go down some outside steps and then into the basement of the restaurant itself.

And that’s where things went off the rails. I caught my foot on what was apparently a 2 inch high threshold that was not marked in any way, and could not catch my balance on the rug inside the door, which propelled me… right into a cinderblock wall, which I hit with my arms (I’d stretched them out at some point) and eventually my head (ow).  

The next thing I knew, I was face down on the ground, my left shoulder was killing me, my glasses were knocked around, and I was bleeding a lot from my forehead. Cue chaos – some poor kid from the kitchen found me immediately, and then there were staff and lots of paper towels for my head. Someone finally found my parents and brought them down, then the EMTs arrived. Fortunately, I never lost consciousness, and my glasses, while somewhat worse for the wear, survived, too.

A short ambulance ride later and we were at one of the inner city hospitals that was one of the only ones accepting patients that night. Who knows what was going on, but all the others were closed. To make a VERY long story short, they were so busy at that ER that my parents and I decided to leave (I was very stable and just fine other than ow, my shoulder, which was probably dislocated) and get me to the ER near where they live, which would be much faster. This ER actually saw me, took some x-rays, gave me a sling, and sent me to a room to wait for the PA. Whew.

The PA showed up to look at me, told me she’d reviewed my x-rays, and when I said, “oh good, I think my shoulder is dislocated” she looked at me and said, “actually, you have a fractured humerus” (that would be the upper arm bone). Oh. Oh great. I think I said “Really?” And she said yes, again. Management is typically conservative – sling, then PT, and she said I could travel home and then follow up with ortho here. She did stitch up my head quite nicely – and without a numbing injection, which I requested since I HATE them. (She was a bit… doubtful but I did just fine!)

I finally got a shower when we got to my parents’ house, got maybe an hour or two of sleep, and spent the next day trying to do some work and figure out how to do things with one arm. I couldn’t move my arm much more than bending my elbow – I couldn’t move it out to the side, or up, or put any weight on it or carry anything in my hand.

Everything seems to take forever when you only have one arm to use and you’re used to having 2. Think about dusting (If you dust, that is…). You pick up things with your nondominant hand, usually (fortunately, I broke my non-dominant arm, which has been a huge blessing in a way!), and then dust with your dominant hand, right? When you have to do that all with the dominant hand, it takes for freaking ever!

I also had to break the news to my friend, who’s also in charge of our academic programs, to let her know I’d have to be teaching online for a few weeks since my face looked like, well, like it had met a wall. Sigh. She was fine with it, of course! Otherwise, I haven’t told many people here. This friend, the person for whom I was supposed to guest lecture today, my ex, and his mother, who lives locally.

The next day, I was traveling home. Mom got me to the airport well ahead of time since I was worried about traveling with one arm in a sling, and an unstabilized and painful fracture. The only problem… the check-in line when I arrived was not moving. At all. People were just standing there and EVERYONE at the counter was taking forever and that’s when I learned that my first flight was delayed and I’d miss my connection, but the little “find an alternative” link in the app didn’t have ANY options. I didn’t know that Thursday had been an epically bad day of travel due to the weather that week in the Midwest and south so everything was backed up and people had been rebooked from Thurs to Fri and so everything was overcrowded and delayed and awful.

Then began the debacle of trying to get home. When I finally got to the counter – an hour after I arrived, I think – I explained the situation, and through some miracle the agent found a seat on the later flight from my connecting city home. But then the first flight wasn’t as delayed as anticipated, so she also put me on standby on that – my original – flight. Which, unknown to us, put me on standby on the first flight to the connecting city. Oh yeah, it was a mess. And I didn’t find out until I got to the gate, and the poor agent told me I did not have a seat, and I lost it. I just dissolved into tears for the first time since this had happened. I was in so much pain, and so tired, and just couldn’t believe that this was all falling apart at the last minute.

A couple of minutes later… probably wanting desperately to be rid of the crying girl on the other side of the counter (I NEVER cry but, well, this was hard. Really hard.), he handed me a boarding pass with a seat on it. I didn’t even care if it was in the bathroom at that point. I thanked him profusely and finally – finally – got on the plane. In the way back. With a tight connection. Fun! After the deplaning debacle when we landed (Everyone had tight connections, seriously), I moved as fast as I could to the original connecting flight, got to the desk, looked down, and… there was a boarding pass. With my name. And a SEAT. I HAD A SEAT. Cue the tears, again. (I was really really tired and in pain, obviously, but even weirder? No one noticed, or seemed to notice. No one asked if I was okay, or if I needed help. Maybe I just looked too scary? [I had a major black eye and bruising and oh, yeah, stitches on my forehead…] Maybe COVID? Who knows, but… it was a bit odd…)

We finally landed, finally got off the plane, and miracle of miracles, my bag finally arrived in baggage claim. Getting the suitcase in the car and then myself was interesting – and painful – as was figuring out how to drive with one hand, but I managed and finally got home. Where I’ve mostly been for the last almost two weeks.

Because the saga isn’t over. Oh, no. But that gets its own post. I’ll just say that I’m okay for now, but the road to recovery is never smooth and I’ve definitely had some… bumps.

I’ll be back as soon as I can, but dealing with some of those recovery-related things today, so it may be a day or two. But I’ll be back! I swear.

18 thoughts on “So, about the last two weeks…

    1. Thanks for the dusting accommodations, and for the concern. Dusting is one thing I’ll probably keep, at least in some sort of fashion. It’ll get easier over time, too. That and at least wiping down the bathroom (thank goodness for those sanitizing wipes; I try not to use too many but these are extenuating circumstances…). Healing will take several weeks so hopefully by mid-August I’m back closer to my usual self. Fingers crossed…

  1. OMG! I am so so sorry that happened to you, and that you had to travel home alone after. I would have broke down in tears then too. The whole thing is just so frustrating 🙁 I am so grateful the accident was not worse! It sounds really scary!

    I have had an arm out of commission before… please don’t waste your time dusting LOL 😉 But seriously, heal fast!

    1. Thanks, Kim. I’m glad to know that others suspect they’d have broken down, too. It was just too much at that point (And I neglected to mention that I didn’t sit down between 10:15 and 1 pm, when we boarded. That was… hard.) And, oh, you know how hard this is, to have one arm! I’m getting better – I can even do socks pretty easily – but I am so darn grateful I’ve stayed relatively flexible over time! I think I’ll be rededicating myself to yoga after this…

  2. Oh my goodness Anne, what an ordeal! And having to navigate through the horrible airport mess with a broken arm!! That’s awful enough with a fully functioning body! I hope you’ll heal up without problems.

    1. Healing is slow, but progressing. And thanks so much for the sympathy. It’s been a rough couple of weeks and this is not the summer I had hoped for… Sigh. Yes, the airport was a disaster. That day, in the US, in particular. I was so fried by the time I got home, I could barely make it through a mini dinner and brushing my teeth. I’m hopeful that things are on the upswing now.

  3. Oh, no! This sounds absolutely terrible. I am so, so sorry this happened to you. Isn’t it crazy how a slip and fall can destroy your life temporarily? (I broke my leg spectacularly about a decade ago on a fall on the ice.) I hope you have good pain management! It’s terrible that you live alone, too – this is the perfect time to want someone to help fetch you water and things!! Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help – I don’t live far away and could do a grocery/drugstore run or just bring you a carton of Ben and Jerry’s!

    1. That’s right – you did have the broken leg and had to learn how to manage with that. I think, somehow, that might be worse. Pain management is decent and my pain tolerance is kind of ridiculous. So I’m managing, certainly! And the ortho team is fabulous. Your offer to bring me something or help in any way made me smile – I love the idea of us first meeting in person while commiserating over broken limbs and B&J. 🙂 I might have to take you up on that, but maybe at the halfway point when I’m feeling a little better. 🙂

  4. My goodness, Anne, you have been THROUGH it these last few weeks. Your injury sounds so painful (and also like something I 100% would do, sigh). I can empathize with crying in the airport because you just want to be HOME and there was so much standing in your way. I’m glad you were able to get on a flight, though, and got home.

    There is truly something about being sick or injured and being alone that can make one feel so vulnerable. It’s hard when you don’t have anyone who can help you! I hope you’re hanging in there and doing ok. Thinking of you!

    1. Stephany, you’re absolutely right – it’s the vulnerability and the recognition that no one can truly be an island. At the same time, I am so darn lucky. I have a one-floor apartment with a fabulous management/maintenance team that has already checked in on me multiple times. And a few people locally who are more than happy to help out. It’s my stubbornness at “needing” people that’s gotten in the way so far.
      (And I am glad I’m not the only one who thinks crying in the airport was perfectly appropriate in this situation…) <3

  5. Oh Anne! What a nightmare. I am so sorry. It sounds incredibly painful and your trip home sounds absolutely dreadful. I don’t think I could have stopped crying if I were you. How long does the fracture take to heal?

    1. Oh, thank you, Nicole. It’ll be at least another 6 weeks, unfortunately. But by the time mid-August rolls around I should be in better shape. (Well, I hope I’m incrementally in better shape before that!) The trip was the worst part, definitely. Chapter 2 has been much more manageable – I’ll be sharing more about what’s happened in the last week and a half soon, as there were some additional…let’s call them curveballs. 🙂

  6. OMG, Anne, what an ordeal! I cannot believe this happened to you… and how they treated you at the airport and that you were clearly in distress and nobody at least asked if you were ok? Have people forgotten how to be around other people??

    And you didn’t even address how the visit with the doctor went (which you went to the East Coast for, but I am so glad you got to see your family while you were there… minus the accident, of course, and the whole mess to get home. Did I say OMG, what an ordeal?)

    Hoping for a speedy recovery (but I am fearing the worst after your last few sentences…). Did you type this blog post with one hand???
    Hugs and healing vibes!

    1. I know, right? I didn’t even talk about the visit with the doc (which was awesome and helpful, thank you for asking). I do think people have forgotten how to be around other people, or they’re just scared that whoever is losing it will do something worse than crying (although, to be fair, I DO only have one functioning arm right now…). Recovery will take another 6 weeks or so, but I have a fabulous ortho team and know that I’m getting what I need. (Although I dread the bills… sigh…) Thanks for the hugs. They help a lot. <3

  7. It sounds like the last fortnight has been a really, really difficult time for you. I do hope that you have been healing ok. It is hard to know how we would be if lose something that we take for granted until that times comes. You are right that we do everything with two hands without thinking about it, having only one useable hand/arm must be really hard.

    1. It’s amazing how quickly we adapt, to be honest. I’m even doing okay getting socks on. But then I’ll be stymied by something else, which is frustrating. Right now I’m just trying to balance (trying to) work with sufficient rest to heal. Doing okay so far but need to be careful not to over do it.

  8. Anne, I’m so sorry. This all sounds…horrid. From the accident to the dreadful return flight to navigating life while you heal.
    All the best in the coming days, and I wish you a very speedy recovery <3
    And I second the suggestions to forget about dusting (or any other intensive activities). Unless it involves necessary functions to survive and/or thrive, please be kind to yourself as you heal and just rest as much as possible!

    1. Thanks so much, Elisabeth. It hasn’t been easy, to say the least. On the other hand, I was very very lucky. I didn’t get a concussion, my glasses survived, and I have health insurance. Honestly, I’m probably in a better place than so many people who experience similar kinds of injuries. And having all of you here has helped tremendously.

      Recovery is going to take several more weeks, which means I’ll be still frustrated by trying to do too much with one hand. 🙂

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