Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What It’s Like When You Break a Rib

I now know firsthand what it’s like if you break one of your ribs. Also, whether your rib is broken or cracked, it’s the same thing. One side of what should be a continuous bone is completely separated from the other side, with a gap in between. In my case, said parted bone is in back of me on my left side. (Please read all of this, because there’s a purpose!)

We’ve all seen on T.V. and in the movies how the male hero has a broken rib, is lying on a bed and cuddles up with his girl. White teeth flashing, he’ll gallantly smile and tell her he has to take it easy, and then he’ll pull her closer. Well, let me tell you, that ain’t easy! First of all, you have to ease your body down onto the bed, then ease it under the sheets, and then ease it into a comfortable position. Once there, if you want to change positions, that becomes a matter of trial and error.

One false move and the two halves of bone shift, a shot of pain surges through that area, you make an involuntary gasp and have to try and catch your breath. But once that pain eases, you’re fine.

You soon learn a method for maneuvering your body. If the break is on your left side, don’t reach for things with your left hand. (Note to self: Tomorrow, when you bend down to get the newspaper, remember to reach for it with your right hand, dummy! You know mornings are the worst!) Don’t open or close any doors with your left hand either. Getting dressed and undressed takes a bit of patience, and you’ll have to work on the best way to get in and out of a car. For sure, the body fares much better if you sit upright instead of reclining on a couch.

Performing normal bodily functions is another obstacle to surmount. I can’t sneeze, blow my nose, clear my throat, take a deep breath, laugh normally or do anything that’s going to make my lungs expand, but if I can do these things gently, all I’ll feel is a twinge.

Other than that, I can cook, bake, type, almost anything I normally would do, as long as I’m careful how I position myself. (This really increases one’s self-awareness!) The only thing the doctor forbids is doing any exercises. But I know I’m healing quickly, because each day my mobility and lack of pain increases, and I’m doing things I couldn’t do before. (It’s just trying to change positions in bed that’s a real killer.)

It happened Wed., March 1, when I was in the attic trying to reach an overnight bag because we were going out of town. There was no way to get to the bag, so I straddled my legs above the top of each side of the attic stairs, and using a mop handle, hooked the handle of the bag and pulled it towards me. I’ve done this before, but this time I was only wearing socks. One foot slipped, and when I went down, I slammed my back against the abutment I had been standing on. I went to the clinic several days later, when we returned home.

At this point I must apologize for not having written anything here for so long, but my mother had been admitted to a hospital several weeks ago, and every day had become an extreme up and down for her. I was getting and making a slew of long distance calls daily, both at home and at work, also because the doctors urged that I make arrangements for her funeral. They knew it was inevitable, and eventually it happened.

All the people who advised and supported me were wonderful, as was everyone who helped my mother to the end. As for the eulogy and service, they were beautiful—a true dedication to her. Through my blogging, I have made some dear new friends, and I cherish that relationship. Therefore, it feels only befitting that I draw on their gift of friendship to dedicate this post to my mother, Florence, May 28, 1916-Feb. 27, 2006.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am relieved that you are surrounded by caring people. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. May she rest in peace and may God be with you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.


3/07/2006 5:39 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The care you have to take seems much like having a very bad back. I'm conscious of that because I just did a number on mine a few days ago. I defintely had it worse, and I hope that I don't aggravate it any more.

3/07/2006 9:14 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! Back injuries can be so debilitating, besides painful. Take care of yourself, and take it easy until it heals--please! Believe me, I know how lucky I was.

3/07/2006 9:21 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mom and your bad we get older, we must watch every step. The other day I stubbed my toe, and it is so black and blue I cannot walk far...just a stubbed toe.

3/08/2006 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...


Please accept my sincerest condolences on the loss of your mother.

And I hope your cracked rib mends soon. Take care.

3/08/2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Thank you so much, everyone! Bonita, good luck with the stubbed toe! Those can really hamper one's movement; just hope it doesn't hurt too much, and so hope it doesn't take too long to heal.

As for your accident and mine (and yours too, Anvilcloud), I seriously don't think they're age-related. People stub their toes in their twenties and get the same results. And look at all the broken ribs athletes get, due to a false move.

My only problem is that I'm a stumblebum, and always have been. I have a way of walking into things all the time, but I still pride myself on being able to reach inaccessible objects like that carrying bag. If I had been wearing shoes or been barefoot, instead of those cloth booties, bet my foot wouldn't have slipped. I still race upstairs two at a time, too. But when it comes to walking on ice or a treacherous surface, then I'm ultra cautious.

What amazes me is how fast this rib is healing! It's been six days, and I can do almost anything I did before--pain-free--already, except sneeze. Then it's EEOWW!

3/08/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Vonnie said...

Hi Darlene,

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Your post was a lovely dedication to her.My father died a couple of years ago and even though I knew it was his time, I was still devastated when it happened. I guess I didn't realize how much I was going to miss him.

I'm also sorry to hear about the cracked rib. I've heard it can be very painful. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you heal nicely and are back to normal soon.

I don't know if you had a chance to read my last email but I had challenged you to a little motivational prompting, but I understand that you need time to heal and grieve. We'll keep in touch.

Take care.


3/09/2006 7:08 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

My condolences on your mother's passing.

I always did find it suspicious the number of things cowboys and such managed to accomplish with a broken rib! Real-life broken ribs are so much more debilitating. Wish you had the big-screen version.

3/11/2006 8:01 AM  
Blogger Zareba said...

I know your mother will be missed. It will take time for you to adjust to her not being at the other end of a telephone line or a car ride, but she lives in your heart and as your sadness eases, you will find her there, as she has always been.

It seems we both forgot to take care of the physical pillar and are paying the price. Hopefully we will both be as good as new in no time. ...Z

3/12/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

My condolences to you on your mother's passing. I know how difficult this passage is - mine died 17 years ago and I still miss her.

and my sympathy on the rib ---- owww! I dislocated my 4th rib a few years back and that was the most miserable thing I ever did - hayfever + bad rib = torture!

3/19/2006 11:03 AM  
Blogger Mary Ann said...

Oh, Darlene. I'm sorry to hear that your mother died. It's always a wrench, whether you're expecting it or not. And being upset can contribute to being accident prone. So, take extra care for a while.

4/02/2006 5:59 AM  
Blogger Little Blue Petal said...

Yigh! I remember how horrible that is! I know I am posting this after the fact, but just in case you ever need it again, take homoeopathic Arnica to help with shock/trauma/inflammation/bruising!
Followed by Symphytum, Cal-Phos., Calendula in combination! These remedies are truly fantastic at helping to heal breaks well and quickly!
(Sorry to hear about your Mum BTW)

12/31/2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger AlohaDeb said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/02/2008 6:21 AM  
Blogger AlohaDeb said...

That was pretty times it by 8. On April 20th, this year I broke 8 ribs in the back. 4 were jammed and woven into each other.
Fast foward 3 months... Needless to say, I'm still sleeping in the recliner. I can't sit in the kitchen chairs or on the couch for more than 15 minutes. I just started being able to cook the whole dinner for my family with only 1 or 2 sitting breaks.
When I take a deep breath now it only hurts in the muscle under my arm. Granted, I did a lot more damage than my ribs but the rest is almost all healed.
You don't realize how many muscles you use that are attached to your ribs until you break them. It's extremely painful.

Good luck to all..break a leg next time! LOL

8/02/2008 6:22 AM  
Blogger Cocoablini said...

I just cracked my rib skiing and hitting a tree root. And yes, your symptoms are like mine. I HATE going to bed!

3/17/2010 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did a search to find out what to do if you break or crack a rib. Your description and comments were excellent. I fell off a stepladder on Sunday, today is Wednesday. Nights have been agony exactly as you say. Coughing, suddening jerks and even toileting can cause real pain. As I thought there was no real point going to the doctor. I have been self medicating with ibrufon and muscle rubs. Thanks

11/09/2011 12:13 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

No, didn’t do any searching; just went to a doctor ‘cause it felt like I’d broken several, not just one. But he said he couldn’t do anything anyway; it would have to heal on its own. I’d just have to limit my movement. If I recall, he said they don’t bind them anymore, either. I guess it makes sense, because by wrapping up the body area, it doesn’t even go near the ribs.

He prescribed a painkiller, which I didn’t take because they only make me sleepy and don’t kill the pain. So I just took aspirin off and on. You fell off a ladder—hope you didn’t break several ribs! If yours is just one, you should be able to do more things little by little, including breathing (ugh, even that hurt at first, right?). I hope you heal quickly! Sincerely, good luck!!

11/09/2011 3:06 PM  

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