another injury

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!!

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About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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13 Responses to another injury

  1. Gil says:

    Wow! I should have not checked my email so late at night. I was wondering if you were okay as I haven’t seen you posting recently. I hope that you are well on your road to recovery. We stayed in a hotel, in Naples, with an underground garage like you described. It rained while we were there, so between the rain and the oil from the cars that plate was as slippery as ice. Wishing you a speedy and complete recovery.

  2. nur says:

    sweet Jennifer ! I can’t tell you with words how ı am sorry about what happened also after reading your blog even more … ı want to slap on taxi drivers face ! how come people can be so horrible and bad !!!! ı am sure you are going to be in shape very soon but please give your self time. eveything needs ıts time.its nature its life ! ı am always here for u ,ı hope you know it …

  3. omdg says:

    AH! I’m so sorry this happened to you! You are indeed lucky to have so many friends and family willing and able to help. So glad you’re ok!

    (PS — It’s humerus)

  4. Sara says:

    Oh no – so sorry! I hope you’re mending well.

  5. k_sam says:

    Oh wow, how awful! I’m glad those around you were able to step in and help out. And I hope you can get back to pounding the pavement soon, I think I would go crazy after 3 weeks of no workouts. 🙂

  6. I Say Oui says:

    Ai, poor you! That can’t have been easy to have that happen to you and then go to the hospital by yourself. I’m glad you have support. And I can see you get right back up again and are itching to be on the move!

  7. sullimaybe says:

    Dumb accidents, so sorry and not surprised your village rallied. Mothering is hard enough with all limbs functioning. Hoping for a swift recovery.

  8. Aunt Patti says:

    How are you healing up? It’s almost time for the marathon! I just read that we should dream big to accomplish our fitness goals. You are my role model!!!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      Aw, thanks Patti!

      I am a little frustrated but trying to be patient. The physical therapy is helping a lot and I go four times a week.

      I only started running again this week, and yesterday it was a little painful in my arm (not the bone – but my biceps especially after having my arm in a sling for over two weeks) but I am going to attempt a half marathon on the 15th and if I can finish that without too much pain I’ll try the marathon on the 22nd. I should post about it…

      • Aunt Patti says:

        Well, we’re in the same boat now. I broke my left pinky toe on Sunday when I banged it into the leg of a chair!. Went to the ER on Sunday and have a follow-up visit with my regular doctor today. I’m banned from working out for a few weeks. I hope you’ll post about your half marathon for my own selfish motives (seeing where I could be in a few weeks from now)!

  9. Meredith says:

    Oh Jennifer! I am sorry that happened. I hope you are felling better and enjoying your running again. Take care!

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