The first time I broke a bone, well bones, I was fifteen.
Hiking back up from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I had to wear my youth group leader’s way-too-small extra pair of boots. My own shoes, a simple pair of Keds, were still damp from wearing them in the (omg-so-stinkin’-gorgeous) turquoise pools of Havasupai Falls. To go swimming there, you’ve got to protect your feet because it’s sharp and rocky. “Water shoes” had not yet been invented at that time, so I wore my sneakers in, thinking they would dry in time.
I remember the boots felt uncomfortable but truly everything was uncomfortable about that hike back up: the oppressive heat, the 50-lb backpack, the steep incline, the lack of carbs except those nasty trail mix raisins, all of it.
When I got home, my feet hurt for weeks after. I eventually learned that the boots had crushed my baby toes, breaking the bones inside in several pieces. There was really nothing to be done about it, and my toes have never been the same since.
The second time I broke a bone was this past Sunday.
I was going upstairs in my home wearing my Birkenstocks, which are sort of my indoor everyday shoe, and the top of the sandal caught on the outer lip of the tread. I fell hard. I fell on my right side, trapping my pinky finger under the weight of my body.
In the moment, the pain was excruciating but waned within about half an hour. My finger is now in a splint and is only painful if I accidentally hit it on something else. I’m fine, in fact I consider myself lucky. It could have been much worse. It’s mostly inconvenient.
Some observations/notes about this incident:
1. I didn’t have my phone on me when I fell and, after the initial pain and shock, I self soothed by taking big, deep breaths and saying out loud, “It’s going to be ok, Rusty.” There was no one who could help me in the house and I had no way of contacting anyone outside of the house.
But then my brain immediately dove into self pity and fear. I heard the mean girls in my head saying stuff like, “If you had a boyfriend, you’d have help already,” “What is wrong with you?,” and “Why ARE you still single?”
Oof! I provided my own insult to injury. “Thanks,” brain.
2. Once I was able to get my phone, which was on my desk downstairs, I then pretended I was a Navy SEAL and that pain didn’t bother me. I was able to get dressed and get myself to ER that way. If no one could help me, I needed to survive on my own. And I did.
3. When I went to the ER, I got the feeling, from the line of questioning, that the medical staff was trying to figure out if I was a victim of domestic violence or not.
Nope. Single, clumsy and needs new house shoes.
4. SJ was at her dad’s when I took the fall. I told her in a text. She took the accident as a sign that I shouldn’t be wearing my sandals anymore. You know, the funky hippie-mom sandals she doesn’t like to begin with.