Well. I broke my arm a few weeks ago. I rarely use my car for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the underground garage where I park it is a pain to get in and out of, on foot and in the car. Most of the scratches and dents on my car are from the first few months we lived here, when I had yet to learn how to navigate around the maze of countless concrete columns in what appears to be either a seemingly random arrangement or some engineer’s cruel joke. And now the garage has left its mark on me! There is a terrifying metal ramp that leads to the garage with a gate and a lock at the end of it, and I have slipped a few times on the metal ramp, but this time it was raining/snowing and my feet slipped out from under me much faster than any time before. I took a pretty bad fall, and was surprised at how much my arm hurt when I tried to get up.
I managed to pull myself together, open the damn gate and park the car amid the columns, without a scratch and using only one hand to shift, maneuver, shift, maneuver, ad nauseum. I got up to my apartment and sat down on the couch, deciding to let myself catch my breath before attempting to remove my coat.
Before long I realized there was no way I was going to get my coat off on my own and something was very wrong with my arm. Dislocated shoulder maybe? I called a taxi and went to the emergency room.
Italy’s least gallant taxi driver drove me to the ER, hitting every bump in the road along the way and didn’t offer to open the car door for me. The line wasn’t too long and I took my place at the end of it. As long as I held my arm firmly against my body and didn’t move, and no one touched me, it was fine. Not even five minutes had gone by when a nurse stepped out of the door next to the front desk, took one look at me, and waved me over. “Come in here,” he said, and I followed him in. “Did you break your arm?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Does it hurt?” he asked.
And I started to cry, because holy shit, it did hurt and didn’t seem to be getting any better.
“Elbow or shoulder?” he asked.
“Just below my shoulder.”
“Let’s take your coat off.”
“Please, no. Just cut it off me.”
“Broken humerus!” he shouted then to someone behind me, and they came over to help get my coat and shirt off, and then they had me sit down and asked me some questions and off I was taken in a high-backed wheelchair for x-rays, then to Orthopedics, where a quirky doctor told me I’d probably need surgery, but first a CAT scan.
“When do you want to do the surgery?” I asked, because I need to pick my kids up from school.
“No, no,” he said, and laughed. “I don’t think you understand. We can’t let you leave. You are going to be admitted. You need surgery right away.”
Another nurse put a brace on me – oh sweet relief! – and wheeled me away for a CAT scan, then back to the doctor who confirmed that I’d be getting a titanium plate in my arm as soon as they could get me on the surgery list.
I called friends to pick my kids up from school, my ex to see if he could come and watch them for a few days, and my clients to tell them SORRY!
The doctors and nurses at the hospital were absolutely wonderful. My friends and my ex were so incredibly helpful. Although I am not one for imposed “rest” and this whole thing has been a big pain in many different ways, at the same time I feel so lucky to live in a country with universal healthcare and in a town where I have made so many wonderful, kind and generous friends. My ex was a huge help. He took a ton of time off from work to stay with the kids at my place and come see me at the hospital, and another good friend took care of the boys at her house for a few days when he had to go back to work. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.
Today I get my staples out and find out what kind of rehabilitation I am going to need. Needless to say, swimming is out of the question for awhile, but I am hoping they will give me the go ahead to start running again, very carefully. After nearly three weeks of sitting around eating cookies, my only exercise consisting of long walks in the nearby hills with my arm in a brace, I am starting to disgust myself. It’s time to get back in shape! The Rome marathon is less than a month away!!