OptimismDecember 1, 2013
“…basically, you can’t do anything to make it worse…”
So, what your saying is, I can do whatever activities I can tolerate?
Best news ever for someone like me!
Here’s the deal. Last Tuesday I cracked a rib. I didn’t really know it at the time, since it happened early on in my submission grappling class and I wasn’t trying to be a sissy so I kept going. There was a loud crack (which I initially thought was just my back popping) but I quickly realized was actually some kind of pain in my ribs after I must have declared no less than 80 times through the rest of class that it “just hurts to breathe!” while we continued to do takedown drills and then roll.
My internet research at home quickly led me to believe I had just dislocated a rib which can totally be solved with a trip to the chiropractor. I called late Tuesday and the doctor heard the desperation (and maybe tears) in my voice and booked me to come in on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday morning the chiropractor, after squeezing and poking at me, says I need to get X-rays because I might have cracked a rib. He doesn’t want to try doing anything to me as far as dislocated bits and pieces go because he thinks I will flail at him on the table, which technically I couldn’t even lay down on because you have to lay on your stomach which was not possible. At all. This was super bad news for lots of reasons but primarily at the time because he couldn’t make the pain go away!
I stopped by my friend Lynne’s house after the chiropractor and before going to the ER for X-rays and she selflessly dropped EVERYTHING (work, getting the house ready for company arriving later that afternoon, prepping for Thanksgiving and more!) to take me herself. She also made me some scrambled eggs which was good since I was already in meltdown mode with frustration.
At the ER they clearly thought I was just full of $h*t because even though I come in complaining of having difficulty breathing and pain in my ribs they don’t think it’s even worth taking a listen to my lungs. Weird, huh? Especially considering my temperature was only 95 degrees but I was totally pitting out my T-shirt. [FYI for my northern friends. In the south when it gets cold outside people turn the heat up to nearly 80 degrees (or more) INSIDE. I am dead serious. At the chiropractor office it was 78 degrees, I saw the thermostat myself.]
Back in the (hot) ER, the nurse just sends me to get X-rays from SPC Dungeons & Dragons who was SO EXCITED to do rib X-rays because it’s “fun with geometry” and also takes a while which gave him plenty of time to talk to me about all the weapons he likes to play with which include swords, machetes, and something that is a long stick with a ball on the end and spikes coming out of it.
I wish I was making this up you guys, but I am so serious.
Eventually I get back to my room where Lynne and I wait forever and the nurse comes in and says she has looked at the X-ray and doesn’t see anything wrong. So I should go home, ice it and take ibuprofen. Lynne encourages her to tell the radiologist on staff (who she knows personally) that we are down here but the nurse is certain there is nothing wrong and will call if the doctor finds something.
I haven’t even made it home before I get a call that I have indeed fractured a rib. The fifth rib, to be precise, an interior fracture. I should still ice it and take ibuprofen. Ahhhhhh, Army health care. Top notch!
The next day was Thanksgiving. There was a doctor at our get-together at Lynne’s house. Even better, a doctor who has also fractured ribs (and is also from my part of the country, which means I inherently trust him). He gives me the super good news that I can do whatever I can tolerate because I can’t make it worse, although he does advise against physical contact for a few weeks. But, within 6 weeks I should be able to breathe deeply without any pain!
I e-mail the boy with this great news. He responds: “Obviously the doctor doesn’t know you. Haha. That’s not a good thing. You’ll be back at MMA on Tuesday.”
Oh, optimism. It’s such a great thing. Here are the positives for me right now:
- It’s all about how much pain I can tolerate. I am looking at this as a training opportunity.
- Cracking the ribs doesn’t require a cast like most broken bones, which means the muscles around the area don’t totally atrophy and then require time to recover as well.
- We are just a little more than six weeks away from surf camp in Costa Rica. So I should be fully recovered by then.
- Every day it feels a little better. Does it still hurt to breathe? Yes. But, not as much as it did before. I know I have a very adaptable body.
- Doing tasks with this injury make me feel like I am a fucking superhero. For example. I had bought my Christmas tree and left it in the garage to dry out before bringing it into the house BEFORE I cracked my rib. So, I was able to get it inside and into the stand and decorated all by myself post-injury. That felt HUGE to me. And it’s pretty too, right?
While I don’t think rolling is a good idea for a few weeks considering I can’t even lay on my left side yet, I do hope to be able to continue training this week. I had already planned to de-load over the holiday weekend anyways, so I am not behind yet. Laughing hurts worse than breathing so I spent a couple of days marathoning the show “Homeland” which I think is actually pretty good. Except for the teenage daughter, Dana, who is the biggest sourpuss on the face of the planet. I don’t know how those parents don’t just whoop her ass! I only had two seasons to watch which I finished up last night and am DYING to start the third when it becomes available.
I am already working on coming up with activities I can try to do at the gym tomorrow. I have gone on a few walks and initially they were SLOW but today I could almost do a moderate pace without getting a stitch in my side from breathing shallowly (which is what seems to be the natural course of events when breathing normally hurts).
So basically people, it’s looking good. Just PLEASE don’t make me laugh, and I am looking at you CFC girls. Be nice!