Okay, Who Stepped on the Crack?


Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Step on a line, break your mother’s spine. Is that how it goes? It should be: “ride a crazy horse who bucks you off for no reason, fall and fracture two vertebrae.” Okay, perhaps not as catchy.

Anyway, I flew through the air and landed with quite an oof after being jettisoned off Nochero, upon whom I was riding yesterday. After the fall, I sat up and immediately thought that I broke several ribs near my spine, because it hurt so horribly and I couldn’t really breathe.

An ambulance came, strapped me onto a backboard, inflated some shit around my head and neck, and away we went to the Sanatorio de la Trinidad. Leah (the girls’ riding instructor) came with me in the ambulance to handle speaking in Spanish (I was in so much pain I didn’t really want to talk to anyone) and Tom, the Zs and Natalia (our instructor) followed in Nati’s car.

I received multiple CT scans for head, neck, spine and pelvis. I was on a backboard for hours (my ass was numb). I was diagnosed with cracks in two vertebrae (about the same level on my spine as my scapula). They said it’s going to hurt like hell for awhile and sent me home with instructions to ice and take prescription anti-inflammatory drugs.

Returning to the apartment was farcical. Getting into a cab was easily one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life. I managed to fold myself into the second taxi (the first was too small for me to get in), but only after lots of disturbed groaning and tears, which, understandably, freaked out the driver. We explained to the taxista that I broke my back and the sweet sweet man drove uber slowly with his flashers on (not an easy thing to accomplish in this crazy-driving nation), brainstorming the least bumpy routes with Tom.

So here I am, laid up for several weeks with a broken back. Can’t put on my own pants or socks. Breathing deeply requires concentration. I would rather pull out a thumbnail than cough. I can stand up, sit down and walk gingerly (moving feels wonderful). Every waking moment I am appreciative because it could have been so much worse.

A special thank you to Leah and Natalia for all of their help.

Fracture Recovery Posts: | Day 1 | Day 5 | Day 14 | Month 3 |

18 Responses to “Okay, Who Stepped on the Crack?”

  1. meg

    oh, michele…i am soooo sorry. i can’t even imagine how much pain you must be in. not too mention the inconvenience you are experiencing. it is just impossible to be told “you must stay in bed” because as soon as you are told that…you realize you HAVE to accomplish 30 things immediately.

    i hope you are tolerating the pain and getting some rest.
    maybe some good reading. be thankful your girls are big enough to take care & entertain themselves for the most part. let them read to you while you recover.

    thinking of you-
    lo siento mucho

  2. Kate

    I’m sorry!!! Hope you are feeling better soon!! Try not to do too much, watch plenty of bad tv and you’ll be better in no time!!

    Hang in there!

  3. Michele

    Meg and Kate,
    Thank you for the kind wishes! I think the hardest part right now is the no sleeping. I’m an uber active sleeper, so having to stay flat on my back gives me a borderline feeling of claustrophobia, which I’m just going to have to work through in order to actually catch some zzzzzzzzzs. *sigh* The girls and Tom are being wonderful though. Zoe and I like to compare discomforts. So far, I’m kicking her ass! *smile*

  4. Jed

    Ouchie- I feel your pain! Shattered my pelvis and the last 2 vertebrate in my spine back in ’00. I was in traction for 2 months. It is most unpleasant. Maybe get a second opinion with the Swiss med guys or some heroin?

  5. Michele

    Holy uber injuries Jed, you win hands down! That sounds horrible and has helped to put my own woes in some sort of positive light. Actually, researching my type of fracture was sort of heartening in a sick sort of way…usually my break doesn’t occur on its own, it nearly always happens in some sort of awful multiple vehicle accident and is typically accompanied by lots and lots of other horrible major body traumas. As self realizations go, it’s sad to have to acknowledge that I’m just a bruised and fractured weanie in the grand scheme of things. Enough about me though, how did your injuries turn out? Did you manage to recover pretty well?

  6. Khara

    I hope you have a speedy recovery. At least now you can spent all your time blogging 🙂

  7. Michele

    I know! Everyone in my family had a knee-jerk groaning reaction after the accident to the thought that I would blog 24-7 about my broken back! Be the subject…that’s what I say.

  8. david

    sorry to hear about your cracked verts. i love to lie on my back and hang on my notebook. in fact i always think i would make a good cripple as i prefer my bed and computer and phone and my wall of glass with a view to most other positions. no doubt if i was stuck that way i wouldnt be happy, but in the meantime, enjoy it like i do! lately i ve been thinking about getting a small fridge for a nite table.

    ps im already mostly bald so i cant answer your question if hair rubs off from too much pillow.

  9. Michele

    Okay, you made me lol, which in my present condition, isn’t very nice! I think the idea of a small fridge as a nite table is most excellent!

  10. joli

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

  11. Michele

    Thanks Joli! I’ve uber improved over the last few days. The difference between now and 9 days ago is so stark as to almost make me think I imagined it!

  12. Sara King

    Oh no! Welcome to the club. I hope you will consider getting back on that horse (or a different one, as I did).

    Yes, sleeping on your back is very hard. Our muscles need to move and stretch – its part of getting a good night’s sleep.

    Sounds like you got pretty good care at the hospital and have great care at home. Hopefully this won’t derail your trip to Oregon.

    Speedy recover Michelle!

  13. Michele

    Sara! I’ve been meaning to write you!! I would like to get back on the proverbial and real horse, but I’m not sure if I’m going to do it here. I wanted to bend your ear on the subject when we get home! Sleeping is getting much better, but it’s still fraught with interruption. I have to wake up in order to shift in the slightest, and I’m such an active sleeper, that means a lot of sleep, want to move, wake up, move, sleep cycles! But still, I improve so much every day, I can’t complain!

  14. Futbol

    oh no! and here i was thinking the pig flu madness was the worst thing that happened in buenos aires in my absence. hope you’re doing better!

  15. Michele

    Hey! You’re back. We missed your posts. I have been thinking about you hoping that you were having a great trip!! Yes, the back…well, we are the fracture family around here with Zoe’s wicked broken wrist, which needed to be set, and my fractured vertebrae, which thankfully were stable, and therefore only insanely painful. Truly though, I get better and more functional every day, and even though it wasn’t pretty, I was able to be somewhat mobile from day 1, which makes all of the difference for me! I hate injuries where you can’t really get up and move, even if it’s to another chair.

    So do tell, how are you doing?

  16. Futbol

    hah, well, at least you can always fall back on your blogging career. you don’t need a spine for that. (see what i did? double meaning! because most bloggers are spineless! *pats himself on back*)

    i hope you’re all functional by the time you get back home. leave the injuries in buenos aires.

    i am doing great, had an incredible trip and am actually quite sad to be back. i did spain-sweden-germany-czech republic-greece and, to top it off, morocco. i’ve been bitten by the travel bug. i need to go somewhere far away within the next couple months. if i find cheap tickets soon, i might do a tour of the US and visit all the friends i left behind. otherwise, i’m setting my sights on asia. meanwhile, i’ll soon be posting my european tales and photos, possibly starting tonight. got a good amount of writing and reading done over there. speaking of reading, if you haven’t read “the wind-up bird chronicle” by murakami, do it. it just leaped into my top 3 books of all time, and that’s no easy feat.

  17. Michele

    Are you calling me a spineless blogger? *smile*

    I am really delighted to hear that your trip was so successful and ignited a desire for more travel! I love Asia and if you end up going, will be interested to hear what you think! We shall have to try your Murakami recommendation — funnily enough, another friend recently touted this book to us as well. Of course, we need to get through Infinite Jest here this summer — have you read it? Care to opine? Oh, and we also have the Junot Diaz that you recommended queued up to read as well! (Everything is stacked up behind that damn David Foster Wallace tome.) Looking forward to having you back in the blogging game! Besos.

  18. Futbol

    interestingly enough, infinite jest is currently sitting on my nightstand. it’s my next project. i guess we’ll suffer through it at the same time.

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