Armchair Diaries: What Really Happens When Mom Breaks Her Elbow?

Armchair diaries: Mom breaks her arm and learns what she can and can't do

Funny story.

Well, more ironic than funny.

I’m calling it my ‘soccer injury’. (As in: I ‘injured’ myself leaving my 6-yr old daughter’s ‘soccer’ game last Wednesday.) Wet, grassy hill meets Birkenstocks. The result? A really loud, audible crunch. Official diagnosis: one broken elbow.

Funny, right? Let’s face it, with a summer break (<–ha! see what I did there?) that started with my 6-yr old son needing emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix, and was then followed up by my two daughters and husband getting back-to-back-to-back flu bugs, this is just par for the course.

So, here I am, day 6 in a full arm cast (fortunately my left arm, cuz, you know, silver lining and all) and these are some key observations, perhaps even survival tips, to keep in mind, should this happen to you:

  1. You will have enormous gratitude for those first responders; in my case these were my daughter’s coaches, who brought me a bag of ice to manage the swelling and ibuprofen for the pain, reminded me to remove my wedding rings before my fingers swelled into sausages and kept me company until my husband arrived. Send them a note of thanks; they will appreciate it.
  2. Deep breathing is actually a very effective way of managing pain UNTIL the X-ray technician makes you move your arm. This will make you cry.
  3. If you must break your arm, do it during summer months, the bra-optional season of stretchy capris and tank tops, so YOU CAN DRESS YOURSELF! Work clothes and anything with sleeves, however, may prove problematic.
  4. You will surprise yourself with your newfound one-handed abilities (yes, ha. ha.), namely, dressing and undressing, *cough* tampons *cough*, driving and typing e-v-e-r  s-o  s-l-o-w-l-y. You’ve got this.

    Armchair diaries: Mom breaks her arm and learns what she can and can't do

    It’s cute how they make it look like you can put this thing on by yourself.

  5. You will be shocked and a little embarrassed at what will require assistance, particularly, showering (this is actually quite an event, what with having to bag the cast-covered arm securely and having someone on standby to squirt the shampoo and conditioner into your palm and then towel you off; should your assistant happen to be your spouse, any sexy shower-scene fantasies have just gone out the window.) Equally problematic: flossing, ponytails, child-proof medicine bottles and, really, any twist-off lids.
  6. Invest in a good deodorant. Showers may prove elusive (see #5, above).
  7. Your cast will feel like 20 lbs of dead weight and trying to lift it up or move it in any way unsupported WILL send shooting pains up and down your arm. Use a sling.
  8. Sleep will be tricky, at best, despite the 37 pillows propping you up at every angle. But, just for shits and giggles your child(ren) will decide now is a good time to wake up crying in pain. Every. Night. Because sleep is clearly overrated for Mom (Dad has long since retired to the basement so “you can be more comfortable”). Sleep is important for recovery so pop in a movie for the kids and go grab a nap. (Yes, I laughed when I wrote this last bit, because, as if.)
  9. There is not enough T3 in the world. Or coffee. There just isn’t.
  10. You will try to convince yourself that the itchiness is just that. Itchiness. And not tiny ants crawling up and down your arm. You will fail. Instead you will claw at your cast and repeat mantras like, “My arm does not itch, my arm does not itch.” You are an idiot.
  11. You may want to invest in a housecleaner for a few weeks. Or go to a hotel. If neither of these are options, see #13.
  12. Don’t hesitate to put your kids to work. In most cases they will relish the extra responsibility you are entrusting to them. *pause for effect* Bahaha! Make them do shit around the house, anyway.
  13. If you’re as lucky as I am, you will be blessed with a spouse that does all the laundry and prepares several days’ worth of meals before he leaves on a business trip.
  14. If you’re really lucky, you have a spouse that doesn’t travel. (One might argue that if you were really, really lucky, you wouldn’t have broken your arm in the first place, sooo…)
  15. You will not only want help, you will need it, and you will be afraid to ask for it. Because YOU CAN DO IT ALL, GODDAMMIT. Guess what? Stoicism has been done to death. Get over yourself. *As husband takes flight home from business trip a day early.*

About Erica

Erica writes with humour and heart about family, #fit40s and living life in the carpool lane. Part-time banker by day and Netflix-addicted-cake-decorator by night, Erica’s in-between time is spent dreaming up ways to ruin her kids’ lives. Obviously.

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8 Comments

  1. That was great! I have never broken a bone but can definitely see where you are coming from. I wasn’t laughing at you I was laughing with you. 🙂 I love reading your posts.

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  5. I’m a single mom with a broken elbow and a one year old! Left arm, it’s winter, can’t get business clothes over the cast. Can’t pick up baby. Sigh.

    • Oh, no! What happened? Goodness, and with a one-year old that just wants to be picked up and cuddled. Of course, winter = extra layers of clothes that DON’T FIT over the cast. I hope you’ve got an extra set of hands that can help you!

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