A Broken Arm Story - Every Writer's Worst Nightmare


So it happened like this…I was at my BF’s house one evening several weeks ago on a Saturday and we were playing hide and seek with his two daughters. The game was nearly done when the youngest asked for one more round. The hidder…hid and the youngest and I walked…it’s important to say, walked down the stairs. She was in front of me and we were all wearing socks like normal indoor people.

Midway…I somehow slipped. I wasn’t anxious, I wasn’t freaking out trying to figure out where the hidder was…I just slipped on the edge of the stair and could not catch myself. I even went down two more steps. It was like I was suddenly on a bumpy freight train to hell. I slammed my arms down to stop myself and that’s when I heard or felt a pop…I’m still not certain which. Needless to say, major pain shot through my wrist as the game quickly came to an end. I have a high tolerance for pain but I was pushing the edge of that boundary when the BF came over and asked what happened. “I slipped,” I said, totally embarrassed by the klutzy move. He looked at my arm and said, “Probably just a sprain.”

The youngest was standing just beyond him. She looked terrified and said that it was her fault and she shouldn’t have asked me to follow her. Awe…gut wrench. I assured her immediately that it was not her fault in any way. I can be a klutz…it’s legendary.

The BF wrapped my wrist and a couple hours later, I said farewell and drove myself home after promising the BF’s son#2 I’d attend church with them in the morning. Actually…it went like this. The BF said, “How about I drive you home and pick you up in the morning or how about we trade cars. I’d feel more comfortable if you took the Jeep, which is an automatic, and I’ll drive the FJ, which isn’t. Not easy shifting with an injured left arm.” He even offered to take me to the ER to get it check out. There was already some swelling.

I said, “Nah, I got this. No worries.” :-)

Me, shoveling one trek down my driveway with my right arm…sans the left. I am stubborn.

Me, shoveling one trek down my driveway with my right arm…sans the left. I am stubborn.

Did I mention it was snowing like crazy here that night? Yeah, didn’t think so. And also…while driving on the back roads of Ohio on the 17 minute trek back to my house, I heard this glass splitting sound. Yep, it was freezing cold. I was in pain and I had the heater blowing full blast taking my time driving through the snow and my windshield split from a small ding I’d achieved somewhere along the way, lengthwise across the whole thing just below eye level. I’m pretty sure that combined, constitutes a bad day. But I had such a great evening despite it all spending time with BF and his kiddos, I don’t think of it that way.

I got home safely, took some ibuprofen and thought, sprained wrists really hurt. I said goodnight to Henry and went to sleep knowing I’d promised to be at church in the morning.


And well, though I slept fine though the night, when I woke my hand was the size of the Michelin Man’s. You know that cute big tubby tire guy? Only, this was not so cute and it was throbbing like crazy. So…I said good bye to Henry and quickly got ready for the day as much as possible. (BTW There’s no fixing hair one handed. Getting dressed is quite the challenge, too).

The significant thing about that Sunday was that I’d promised a young man I’d be at church with them that day. So I thought, ER before or after church? Then I took one look at my arm and thought…ER’s first. So I left early and swung by my local emergency medical center. Still driving a stick shift with one arm, btw. Not smart. But I had a good feeling about this, the parking lot was rather empty and I was early. I figured they’d X-ray and say it’s a bad sprain. Take a couple anti-inflammatories and I’d be in a pew in no time.

Not exactly what happened. The doctor poked around. Asked me to pretend I was turning a key in a lock. Nope…definitly not happening. He sent me for X-rays. I’m waiting in the room, watching the clock. I’m the only one there…it’s taking too long. What can these people be doing that’s keeping them so busy and not getting me out of there? Then he comes back into the room and didn’t tell me I had a sprain, which is what I wanted to hear. Nope, he said, “Your radius is fractured, but not too bad.”

I don’t technical anatomy…so I said, “Is that a wrist bone?” At worst I expected I might have broken my wrist.

“Nope, you fractured your arm, right here.” And he poked me and it hurt.

I kinda wanted to punch him.

I broke my arm?


So…while they were taking forever to grab a far too expensive velcro splint and a hospital sling I’d never wear, I was texting the BF, who was, by this time, sitting in a pew with the littles.

They fitted me with the splint. I swallowed a pill and then I was off, driving a stick shift with a broken arm.

I made it to church, a little late, but I was there. Promises are promises.

After that, the BF took my keys and said no…I’m grounded from driving my vehicle. We had a minor argument…he may have called me stubborn. And, why won’t I let him help me…

It made me step back and think a bit. He was right. He’d offered to drive me home the night before. He’d offered to take me to the ER. He’d offered to come out to my place and drive me. I’m not used to depending on anyone but myself. But, driving a stick shift with a broken arm on dangerous icy roads was asking for trouble. I’m just not used to having someone care for me. It’s something, he said, I need to get used to. :-)


So…I was grounded. Actually, I got to drive his Jeep for a week and that was really cool.

Then…I realized I could not write…I could not type…I could not do yoga…I could not cut open an avocado…I could not do my hair…I could not even wash my hair…

It was rough…I also have a date with an editor for my latest manuscript that I had to move because…I had to learn dictation…voice to text. That’s a whole other brain connection when it comes to writing and I didn’t like it. It was a rough couple weeks but I got through it….with the BF’s help.

About four weeks after the incident, my arm began to feel much better. it’s still a little stiff but better each day.

Then, the bill arrived. So, most authors are self employed. Guess what that means? No medical insurance. Actually, I do have a catastrophic plan. I’m a klutz remember. And well…I don’t trust me enough to not have some insurance. So, I get the bill from the ER and it’s. $974.59 for four X-rays, a velcro splint, a sling I never used, and one pain reliever.


I’ve submitted the bill to the said insurance and I hope they pay for some of it because dang…broken arms are expensive. We’ll see.

I always look for silver linings….it’s a thing for me. What did I learn from all of this.

1) I learned to let someone help me. It made the BF and I closer, if that’s possible.

2) I can do dictation if I want to…I still prefer typing my stories. It flows better to me.

3) Broken arms are expensive and dealing with insurance companies…are a challenge.

Life is full of challenges d’jour. It’s like a conveyer belt, but you never know what’s next.

Rise to them…it’s always better to meet them head on. And take the best of the lessons with you. They serve you well.

Best wishes for a great day!

Author A. R. Shaw