A lovely sunny Saturday back in my home-town of Malvern, and I was playing with my friend’s children in the park. I clambered onto the swing with Joseph, my friend’s eldest who is five. We were swinging back and forth with the beautiful view in front of us “higher Lucy, higher!”, and I had all the exhilaration as my ten-year-old self rushing through me. A meditative moment akin to a roller-coaster – so THIS is why kids love swings so much right?
“Jump off Lucy!” – a dare – from a five-year-old that I was DESPERATE to impress. What could go wrong?
This went wrong.
Whilst flying through the air ‘like a crash test dummy’ according to my sister, it suddenly dawned on me that I had been in the sky for quite a while. So I thought back to any kind of landing training I could recall, and it took me back to Blue Peter and something about ‘landing floppy’ – which I tried to do- but ultimately landed fingers first which essentially snapped my wrist.
Luckily, (there is a luckily), the human body goes into immediate shock and as I grasped my hand I was actually laughing (especially in front of a five and three-year-old who I didn’t want to traumatise forever more). My nurse friend immediately said – “broken, go to A&E” – but my optimistic shocked self thought that the minor injury clinic might take a look.
By the time we got to said clinic, I could barely breathe and looked like Heath Ledger as the joker as my make-up had cried/sweated across my face. Other people with their ACTUAL minor injuries ran to get help and after a few pain killers my Mum was called and we were off to A&E.
Now this bit I am not proud of, but I begged my mum to stop and grab a wine miniature, because I couldn’t cope with the pain. There we were, my mum trying to go as fast as possible (whilst staying safe) with my sister pouring wine into my mouth from the back seat, as I grasped my floppy hand, half laughing half crying. What a sight!
Once we got to Worcester hospital, they took one look at me and rushed me through. Two INCREDIBLE nurses injected the wrist with anaesthetic (god bless the NHS), then handed over the gas and air. I looked at my poor mum, who, probably thought her days of rushing to hospital with her 31-year-old days were over, gave me a “yep Luce, this is going to effing hurt” look.
The two women (legends) pulled the wrist into place and before you knew it, it was wrapped up in a tight cast and I was back on planet earth (GAS AND AIR IS THE BEST!!).
Between the tears of pain, there was many many “BUT I NEED TO WORK”, “BUT I AM GOING ON HOLIDAY” worries – it has been a stressful year at work at I was DESPERATE for my two weeks in Greece. The consultant told me I shouldn’t go, but I got another X-Ray just before I flew, and everything was still in place. Surely the Greek islands should be PRESCRIBED for broken limbs?
So what advice can I give you, and what did I learn from having a broken limb as an adult…
- Do not go straight back to work – I had it in my head that the injury was somehow isolated to the rest of my body. That I could immediately crack back on with life whilst my wrist went about it’s fixing business. NOT THE CASE! You literally HAVE TO rest. If I had gone straight back in, I don’t think it would have knitted back together – meaning surgery
- Go on holiday – Or do something where you can literally chill out, rest, lie down, do nothing, be stress-free and let your body work its magic
- Make sure you’re surrounded by loving supportive people – from my mum literally doing everything for the first few days (another legend) , to my boyfriend helping me with my tan, toenails, my hair (he does a pretty mean top-knot now), cutting up my food – not to mention just the hourly struggle to get comfortable. He did it without any huffs (sure there were some rolls of the eyes whilst I turned the other way, but he’s only human) and he ensured that I could recover properly. Plus my amazing pals on holiday who dragged my cases and topped up my beer 🙂
- Get an arm-condom – there is this amazing brand called ‘Limbo’ that have waterproof cast covers that allow you to shower, bath and even plop in the sea! Such a bargain and arrived the next day
- Wear comfy clothes – really plan or buy things that easily go over your head or body. Half my holiday clothes had to go (goodbye jumpsuits) – maxi dresses were my best friend. What matters more – looking good or letting your arm recover?
- Don’t be a martyr, and if you see someone in pain then help – if you’re in pain you’re in pain. I had a guy be quite nasty to me on the tube when someone asked on my behalf if I could sit down on a packed commute – on my first day back at work. I was feeling quite wobbly and any kind of knock could set me back. The guy had a deformed hand and I felt immediately guilty for the request. He said “Why would YOU need to sit down” – I apologised, and another woman gave me her seat. Before I got off I said to him “never assume you know someone else’s pain,” pointedly. He didn’t retort funnily enough
- Don’t push yourself – literally what is the point. Your arms and legs are insanely important, and you only realise this when you can’t use them. Just listen to your body, don’t push beyond pain. Take it slow, and you’ll notice improvements day by day
- DON’T DO IT AGAIN – However you got there, just make sure you learn from it. “I am not a ten-year-old” REPEAT