Catherine Friend
Catherine Friend

Fall down, go boom.

Ice can be treacherous. I know this. I wear cleats when I do chores and always have my cell phone with me…except when I don’t do either. 🙂

Saturday I stepped on the icy-but-snow-covered driveway, and slipped. As I fell, I remember thinking “This is not going to end well!”

Instant pain and my arm stopped working right. A friend was with me so she got Melissa, and off we went to the hospital 30 miles away. I was in so much pain but remembered thinking “No one will know me so if I cry and carry on, it’ll be okay.

Checked at the emergency desk, and the nurse came to help me remove my coat, which I decided would be my first opportunity to cry. But then Anne the nurse smiled at me. “Now you’ll just have more to write about.”  Gaack. She knew who I was. I put on a brave, authorial smile, as if farming writers live with this level of pain every day.

She parked me in a room and gave me morphine. Ahhhh. A doctor came in. “I know your books. You should visit my kids’ school.” I smiled again, a brave author high on the nice drugs in my system.

Because I am a memoirist, I am compelled to share the x-ray of my dislocated elbow:


The lower bone is supposed to be tucked in next to the upper bone. I know the bones have names, but I can barely stand to look at this, let alone be accurate at the same time. Melissa, of course, thought the x-ray was totally cool. The less I know about the inside of my body, the happier I am.

Another doctor came in to explain he was going to put the bone back where it belonged. “More pain meds,” I pleaded. “Okay” After a few minutes, he began. “No no no no, ” I moaned, forgetting to be a brave farmer writer. “More drugs.”

Let’s just skip over the parts where they put me on my stomach and attached a weight to my wrist so the arm slowly stretched out. Luckily one of the drugs helps you forget. I was aware that Melissa was right beside me, holding my hand and explaining they had to do this. Then SNAP, it popped back into place.
Here’s the proof:

I asked Melissa the next day if I’d cried out at all during the procedure. “Are you sure you want to know?”

Shoot. Apparently I did make a bit of a fuss, even though the doctor and nurses were being incredibly gentle with me. My apologies to anyone within earshot.

Luckily, as a writer, I will have the chance to revise this entire episode. In fact, I’m fairly certain the next time I tell this story, I will have made it through the experience wearing a brave, authorial smile, as if farming writers live with this level of pain every day.

Yes, it’s true, I do write fiction!

(and I’m also typing with one hand on a split keyboard. signing off to take more meds!) 

19 Responses

  1. Oh, you poor baby! Ouch, ouch and double ouch! So how much, how long will it hurt? It’s not a broken bone so it doesn’t have to heal . . . but there’s probably “healing” involved because of all the stretched out of place muscles, tendons, tissue, etc. . . . right? Does this succeed in getting you out of doing chores for a while?

  2. So sorry to hear about your injury! I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a comment, but I’ve been following your blog for years. It’s nice to hear the latest, even if it’s bad news! Heal quickly!

  3. You have the pictures to prove it … WOW … that is out of the socket, but as my grandmother always said “Nothing is so bad it could not be worse” At least the bone is still in one piece. Take care, be careful, and carry your phone. I had sheep knock me down 13 years ago, I was sure my leg was broken, daughter wanted to run me straight to the hospital, told her I was taking a shower first, (I landed in a bunch of sheep poop), leg was fine badly bruised and sore, but I notice on drive to hospital my right wrist was broken.

  4. Owwwwww! Hey, I know: you should visit here again to recuperate! 😉 But, yeah, it’ll give you more fodder . . . just make sure you were in the middle of some incredibly honorable and bold task in the retelling (as you stepped onto the icy driveway)!

  5. Ouch. Pain is bad, meds are good. I worry about falling when I’m out doing chores, since I live alone & if anything happened it might be days before anyone would miss me. Had to drive myself to the e.r. when one of the goats kicked my hand into the shears. Would have just put on a bandage except I saw bone. Us farmers is tough. That’s the way I’m writing it!

  6. Gack is right! I know nothing about x-rays, but that doesn’t look ‘good’ at all. Quite painful, in fact. Sometimes drugs are awesome. 🙂 And of course, so are nice nurses and doctors..

  7. How nice to be recognized yet how horrid when you want privacy. How nice that it wasn’t broken yet how horrid that it still hurts and you have recovery time.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures, they were great!
    Write more, I enjoy your posts!

  8. Sounds awful – broke my ankle doing something similarly routine a few years ago, and I still forget to wear the cleats and bring the phone! Here is my tip: be really nice to your GOOD arm, because it gets so much more wear & tear while the other one is healing, it’s really easy to end up with problems on that side, too. No overdoing it. Best of luck!

  9. Get well soon! Hope you are not in too much pain. A few years ago I managed to fracture my arm on the ice, I am certainly more cautious on it now!

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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.


Occasional Newsletter

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.