I teased this topic in my post in my last post on France. So here is the whole embarrassing story about how I managed to break my arm in a foreign country.
It all starts with the idea to go ice skating. Specifically, when two girls from Russia wanted to teach some friends from North Africa how to ice skate. Being a good Minnesotan girl, I was fairly confident in my ability to get back on skates. After all I had skated every winter as a child. So while I was not confident in my ability to teach skating, I wanted to go along and have fun!
The evening started off well, we were laughing and having a good time. I was a little nervous but I chalked that up the fact that I hadn’t skated in years and didn’t want to embarrass myself. So when we got onto the ice I took it slow. Most of the girls were skating laps around me. They guys were doing pretty well too. Much to my chagrin.
Now at this point, someone behind me told a funny joke and I turned around to laugh with them. And my skates hit a slushy spot at this exact moment and went out from under me. Which means down I went at an awkward angle with my arm behind me. Well less behind me and more under me. OK fine I landed palm down first with my whole body weight landing on my hand.
At first I was stunned. My hand didn’t really hurt just felt numb. That seemed like a good thing, I mean who likes to feel pain? Then I tried to get up. I couldn’t put any weight on it. One of the girls came over and helped me up and off the ice and we both looked at my arm and just thought I sprained or bruised it. It had already swelled up but the cold of the ice area slowed it down, so I just used my scarf as a sling to keep it immobile and sat out the rest of the skating.
One of the guys had a car and offered to drive me to the hospital to get it looked at, just to be safe. Originally I was just going to wait till the morning because the trams weren’t running to the hospital much longer and I didn’t want to take a cab. At the hospital I had the usual questions (much harder in French when nervous and no smart phone to help FY). Off to x-ray I went and the results were not so good. I had broken both my arm bones right near the wrist joint. The doctor casted my arm (she wasn’t so good at it – the cast was massive and prevented me from gripping anything) and sent me home with some generic Advil and instructions to come back in a week. Yes I said ADVIL, in France you don’t get crazy pain killers for broken bones like you do in the US.
The comedy of errors continued – Vanessa and I were supposed to go exploring the next day. I had sent her texts as I left the hospital and hadn’t received a reply. Turns out she didn’t get them (silly issues between UK and French phones). So the next morning as I am trying in vain to button my jeans with one hand (my left hand was far too sore and my arm HURT at this point so there was no using it), she knocks on the door. Side bar – sorry for being so stubborn about accepting help Nessie, I appreciate it now!
It gets EVEN better – I was leaving for Greece in a week or so? Yeah being on Crete with a cast was kind of a bummer. No swimming for me sadly. Thankfully I met two great girls there who let me tag along when they rented a car to see more of the island. I couldn’t drive with an arm immobilized.
Now there are many more hilarious moments because of the cast, but this post is long enough. I will end by saying that in the end, this simple bone break turned out to be much more than that. I ended up having to have surgery a few months later to repair soft tissue damage which put me back into a cast for another 8 weeks and PT for another 3 months. That made for a rather tricky fall semester. I suppose I should have mentioned at the start, I am left handed. I broke my left arm.
Love and good times,