Staring at six weeks of recovery

Before I begin this… this screed? This rant? It may just end up being a regular post, I don’t know, but the vigor with which I want to hug every human being and yell WE’RE ALIVE! WE’RE ALIVE! makes me think that this may just end up being something totally ridiculous, and you’re going to walk away from this going, dude, that woman needs to get laid.

So we’ve already established that I am a dummy dumb dumbnut, having not worn a helmet when snowboarding. And I’ve promised that going forward I will not ever step on a mountain without proper gear on my head, the head that fortunately did not split in half when I crashed on Sunday. Although maybe something monumental like that would fix things up there, up in that vacant noggin, and I would finally stop posting things on my website with the explicit purpose of making my father uncomfortable: I VOTED FOR A DEMOCRAT. ALSO: POOP.

But after what happened yesterday, the x-ray that showed a giant fracture in my tailbone, I have to wonder why anyone is skiing or snowboarding without wearing the uniform of a Canadian hockey player. A helmet would not have prevented this injury. You know what would have? Abstinence! NOT EVER GETTING UP THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Jon says that when everything has healed I will want to head back up again, and I was all, um, not until that mountain gets a vasectomy. And even then I won’t go any further than foreplay.

Any and all interaction I have with this sport going forward will fall within the limits of the BYU Honor Code, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I really feel like I just experienced a near-death scenario, and I feel so lucky to 1) be alive, 2) have full use of my arms and legs, 3) can remember multiplication tables and 4) CAN SPEAK AND WALK. OH MY GOD! I am alive, you guys! I COULD HAVE DIED. And that was the look on the face of my doctor when she walked in with my x-rays. She sat down grimly, held her fingers about an inch apart, and said, “I bet you’re in a lot of pain.”

An inch-long break in my tailbone.

I knew something was wrong when my back began feeling worse rather than better, and then while showering Tuesday morning I found The Bruise. The four-inch in circumference circle of black and blue right on the inside of my butt. The technician who performed the x-ray had to lift up my gown at one point to make sure my back was in the right position, and I’m not even kidding, SHE JUMPED BACK TWO FEET. Was it because of the bruise or the fact that I lack actual buttocks, I WILL NEVER KNOW.

I should probably go back and offer her my pain pills.

So then my doctor prescribes me a donut, and I was all HOOO! POWDERED PLEASE!

And she was all no, it’s a pillow you carry around and sit on that relieves the pressure on the tailbone. Many people also use them to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids. Awesome. Fantastic. Because I’m due to board a plane to Houston this morning, and in my head I was trying to figure out the logistics of this, and here is what I came up with: I’ll just stand up with the donut over my head and yell THIS ISN’T FOR HEMORRHOIDS! THIS IS BECAUSE I AM A TOTAL BAD ASS AND CRASHED WHILE EXTREME SNOWBOARDING! And everyone on the plane would go, whew! Thank god she doesn’t have hemorrhoids!

Thankfully my pharmacist doesn’t carry donuts. Wanna know what they do carry? Pain meds! Except, pain meds make me sick! Good thing my doctor says that this pain should go away in, oh, about a week or two, although there is a possibility that my tailbone could heal incorrectly. And then I’ll have to have surgery! On my butt! Or rather, on my lack of butt!

But get this… I’M ALIVE! And so are you! And you, and you and you! WE ARE ALL ALIVE. It is such an incredible feeling, breathing and thinking and moving my fingers. I’m just warning everyone I see in the next 48 hours: I may hug you until you’re injured. But don’t worry, you can have my pain meds!

  • marseawell

    I feel your pain! Those damn tailbone breaks hurt A LOT! I know you’re getting plenty of stories about how other people broke theirs but WTF I might as well add mine.

    Setting: Jamaica, after a truly unusual excess of rum drinks with little umbrellas. (Maybe I’m stupider than your average dunce when I over-drink because I don’t do it very often.) Action: Really adorable ten-years-younger-than-me guy jumps off a 40 foot cliff into the water. “I’ll show him what middle-aged and married and female can do,” I say to my foolish self. Climax: I jump, remembering to land feet first but forgetting to stiffen my body so I’ll go in knife-like just like Mr. Hottie. Knees buckle, butt hits on virgin surface a foot behind where my feet parted the water. Resolution: a dark purple bruise that covered my entire butt and the top half of my thighs. Needless to say, my tailbone also snapped. No hole in any pillow was big enough to allow comfort. I viewed the world either upright or prone for a very long time.

    Drugs, drugs, drugs. Better living through chemistry!

  • OneWandering

    OUCH! I know your pain! When I was in middle school, I was horseback riding and my instructor made me get on my sister’s pony and take him over two fences because he wasn’t listening to her. After the second fence, he bucked (kicked out with his hind legs), and the cantle (back lip/edge) of the saddle cracked me in the butt. I took him back over the fences, and then handed him over to my sister and got back up on my horse and proceeded to do 30 minutes of sitting trot w/out stirrups (i.e., no support whatsoever, bouncing on my butt).

    THREE MONTHS LATER I went to my mom and told her I thought I should probably see a doctor; that I couldn’t sit comfortably in those plastic middle school seats. The doctor took X-rays, and then came back into the exam room.

    “Well,” he said, “you’ve broken the tip off of your tailbone. I expect you’ll see a sixth toe poke out sometime in the next few weeks!”

    He was joking, of course; my body dissolved the now errant piece of bone. But I haven’t been able to sit on a hard surface for more than 30 minutes or do yoga, since.

  • Brookelyn Bridge

    Are you taking Marlo on the plane too? Just get a Boppy and use it instead

  • ERStolpe

    Is wisdom better than thrills?
    Your definition of how to get the most out of life HAS to constantly change, but that doesn’t mean that going snowboarding was a bad move.
    I’m glad you’re all right.
    Don’t let fear hem you in;
    don’t let your recently acquired wisdom chafe your wild, tender heart.

  • Lena

    Husbands and their $%^^#$! snow-boarding “encouragement”!!

    My husband begged me to snow-board. Within thirty hours, I had a torn rotator cuff (2 years to fully heal) and my husband had snapped his wrist in half!

    He still snow-boards, but I am with you sister! It would take promises of vast real-estate, diamonds, and fore-play to get me back on that mountain!

    I just love it when my arms, legs and butt—WORK, ya know??

    I wish you the speediest recovery EVER. xx

  • Yolanda

    Oh darlin’. It took 18 months for my tail bone to heal after giving birth to my daughter. Tailbone pain absolutely stinks hurts to stand. Hurts to sit. Hurts to have sex. Hurts if you walk too much. I’m wishing you some swift and complete healing. I just say you blame this one on Marlo. Fetuses rob a whole lot of your calcium while they are busy trying to grow their own bones. It takes about two years for you to get all that calcium back, turning a regular-old wipeout on the slopes into a broken hiney.

  • Lena

    Oh, yes, sorry, ibuprofen (higher dosage) and ice to reduce the swelling work far better than the (nausea-inducing not really helping the pain) narcotics.
    Feel Better!

  • solaana

    I do in fact want whatever you are on, so if you’re sharing…

    But I’m assuming you didn’t watch the women’s downhill last night then? Because I cannot imagine the sympathy pains you would have had. I just hid my head in a hoodie and whimpered. How one could possible walk away from crashes like these continues to boggle the mind.

  • eka

    You are going to need those pain meds, I grew up in Houston and narcotics are the only way to deal with being back. No seriously.

    It’s all the bad parts of LA and none of the cool parts.

    Sorry hometown, had to tell it like it is.

  • wendamatica

    Oh Ms. Heather. I am so sorry. I’d like to send you a pound of powdered sugar to sprinkle on your donut. Enjoy Houston!

  • Glenda

    I broke my butt bone when I was 13. I still have to use Bob the Butt Pillow (Technically, Bob, Jr. since I retired Bob, Sr. a few years ago) occassionally when sitting on hard surfaces. When I went to a chiropracter once and mentioned my discomfort, he told me, “Don’t worry! When you go into labor with your first child, it will re-break and probably grow back correctly.” I still haven’t had my first child.

  • linuxchik

    ~~~ my butt is sending you ASS SYMPATHY!! healing wishes!

  • shoe freak

    Heather – I feel your pain…LITERALLY. I fractured my tailbone while roller blading about 4 years ago. And I’m sorry to deliver this disheartening news, but to this day it isn’t “right”. The pain is better, but from time to time when I sit on hard surfaces for too long it gets pretty freakin’ uncomfortable. And that bruise you’re mentioning. I received one of those babies after giving birth UNMEDICATED to my 8 lb. 2 oz. son. After the fracture, my tailbone was curved in at a 90 degree angle. My theory is during delivery the little fractured part broke off completely because I had about 4 days of excruciating pain (try nursing when you can’t SIT) and then it just went away as fast as it started. Good luck and I really hope you heal soon!!! It is the WORST!

  • hippiedaze

    I must say your experience has uplifted my bitter/somber mood – after being part of a company restructuring and pulling both kids out of daycare, to finding a full time job, to wondering how I’m going to put food on the table for my kids; my anxiety attacks are getting the best of me and after reading your post I actually feel much better – I’ll give my kids a hug now and if you were here I would hug you as well Heather – get better soon!

  • ohyouandi

    I too broke my tailbone once…..hurts like a mutha! I slipped on the ice when I was in 6th grade, and that’s how I broke mine. It took at least a full year for it to feel normal….and that’s a long time considering how quick kids heal! Sorry to hear about you breaking yours. Sux, big time :-(

  • LovingDanger

    I totally broke my tailbone in the 7th grade while stealing home in a rep softball tournament. Yep nothing says awkward lanky Jr High girl like sitting on a donut! Good year it was! Hate to tell you this but YEARS later my ass still hurts when it rains!

  • bab.brock

    Yeah…I’m going to agree with everyone else. I broke mine snowboarding in ’02. And I still feel it sometimes.
    But what makes up for that is you can tell everyone you broke your coccyx.

  • snapshotmemoirs

    Oh please oh please! Tell me you’re not sitting on the pillow!! Not to mention the thing is worse than sporting lettuce between the teeth, but it does not quite do the job it is intended for. It ends up cutting off circulation to the interior of that pillow (the poor regionals!!) and because of this, can cause a bit of ischemia (lack of proper blood flow) and hinder the healing process. Remember how you feel after having to read through a few magazines while on the toilet?!?! You get up only to realize you have an odd tingling, I’m just waking up, sort of feeling? Yes, some soft support sounds great I know, but try using a small pillow to alter your sitting position instead.

  • Susanlee178

    Oh NO! I’m really glad you’re alive, but what a horrible injury! I broke my tailbone 2 years ago (in a much less exciting accident) and it -still- hurts if I have to sit for too long. It took months for it to feel any better at all. Good luck, and hold on to that donut!

  • aussome1

    I broke my bum in July of 2008 and it hurt for close to 6 months. I wish you a speedy recovery!!

  • lindsaylou

    I’m so sorry, Heather! Broken tailbones are THE worst. I once slipped on the stairs, watched my feet fly up in front of my face and landed squarely on my ass. It hurt for months. Didn’t spring for the special pillow, though…..

    Speedy recovery!

  • Ellen

    Uhhmmmm my sister kicked me in the tailbone in 1976 while I was sitting “Indian style” watching TV in Black and White………still hurts.

  • heymamas

    When I was pregnant with my first baby I had such terrible morning sickness, I didn’t leave my small New York City apartment for three months straight. The first time I tried, I was in the elevator going down to the lobby and I started throwing up into a barf bag that I brought along for the ride.

    Point is, I remember looking out the window at people on the street doing very mundane things, walking their dogs, taking out their garbage and I thought to myself that I would never, ever again take for granted just being ok and free from nausea or in your case pain.

    And nine years later I still remember vividly how awful that feeling was. Hope you feel better soon!

    Sadie at heyMamas

  • KathyB

    Glad you are alive. Tailbone will make you wish you weren’t sometimes. I was fifteen and either cracked or bruised it, no x-ray, no doctor visit. On a girl scout trip to a see a play the fancy schmantzy seat flipped up behind me when I stood to applaud. You got it, sat on the floor – hard. Back to school on Monday, six classes a day on wood seats. Not fun. It took a long time to heal, but eventually did heal.

    Learned to sit down and get up veeeerrrry carefully.

    I’m enjoying the new show ads on HGTV. I almost want to speak to the set — I know her and that is the adorable baby with the big happy eyes.

  • Gingerlylizzy

    I also broke my tailbone in 2002. Then again in 2003 giving birth to my first child. The by the second kid (a 9lb 12 oz. baby girl), it was basically “floating” in my pelvis (that is what the surgeon said… RIGHT BEFORE HE REMOVED IT!) Yeah, you think breaking it is painful? TRY CUTTING IT OFF! Oh my word. A jackhammer to the spine would have felt better. And I couldn’t sit at all for 8 weeks. EIGHT WEEKS! Try not sitting for eight weeks.

    Good news is, it worked. Coccyxectomy = I can sit longer than 10 minutes without wanting to superglue a doughnut to my butt (and I don’t mean the powdered kind).

  • Amy G in sandy

    After you’ve healed, if you still have pain, you need to see a good woman’s health physical therapist. They will do what #97 said, but you will be pain free. Good luck!

  • anya

    Good luck recovering! Cracked, bruised or broken tail bone is really painful. I bruised mine from sitting on a too hard of a chair while nursing my baby and it took me about a year to stop making faces anytime I had to sit down or stay seated for more than 5 minutes. But it did go away and apparently there are benefits to breastfeeding. Go figure.
    But I realize instead of making you feel better I just told an almost-unrelated story about myself. Mia culpa. Feel better!

  • tksinclair

    Yes please (on the pain meds) No sense letting a good prescription of narcotics go to waste.

    And yes definitely on the helmet.

    See what living dangerously will get you?? He was right, right? You sure are happy to be alive.

  • kerri

    i broke my tailbone (and dislocated my sacrum) GIVING BIRTH (never even knew that was possible til it happened) and had to sit on a donut (a boppy pillow works just as well, in case you’re wondering) for A YEAR. yes, a YEAR. actually, my son was 15 months old before i could sit without any discomfort. and he’s almost 20 months now and sometimes i still get uncomfortable sitting too long (e.g., watching avatar).

    and i’m a phd student, so that meant having to inform my professors that year (all men) that i’d not only need to bring a pillow to class but also that i’d need to take at least two breaks in a 3-hour class because i couldn’t sit for more than an hour. talk about uncomfortable!

    all that is to say, get well soon! i feel your pain and it isn’t fun. but it gets better.

  • kariberi

    I am going to be really immature and say “Dude…. you said Butt!”. (sniker)

    Hope you feel better, I brusied my tailbone really bad rollerblading once. It really hurts like a Mother F!

  • PDXmp

    well, shoot. Sorry about your broken butt. That’s a tough one. I, too, attempted to snowboard once upon a time. And to be all “safe” and behave like a grown-up, I enrolled in a 3hr lesson with my equally bad-ass husband (pre-kids). Not too far into said “lesson”, I caught an edge and fell. I broke my fall with my hands – instinctively – which in turn broke my wrists. Both of them. Fractured. This was Day 1 of a 3-day ski trip with friends to celebrate the Millenium, and we hadn’t even checked into the condo yet. Awesome. Nothing like being on pain pills and not being able to drink heavily on THAT New Years Eve. And my husband having to do every little thing for me because I had lost the use of BOTH hands, like unbutton/unzip my pants so I could pee. And hook my bra for me. And feed me. God, it was rough for a couple of weeks. And like your flight and your obvious donut? I had to start a new job when I returned from that trip, and meet all my new colleagues with double casts! Hi! Nice to meet you – I’m a klutz. I’ve not been back on a mountain since, but after 10 years I’m willing to go SKIING this time, on the bunny slope while I teach my kids.

  • Corey

    Please tell us how you noticed the huge bruise on the inside of your butt while showering! Seriously, are you a contortionist? :)

    Hope you feel better!

  • Lizzy

    Did you know the number one sport for tailbone injuries is… cheerleading?

    I’m glad you’re okay Heather, but imagine the injury if you were skiing in a skirt with pom-poms. :o )

  • karen ethier

    I know how you like to be politically correct and all so I thought I would point out that x-ray personnel are technologists, not technicians. It’s a funny little sore spot (excuse the pun) with them. Don’t ever call them a technician to their face or they might zap you with enough radiation to alter your precious eggs. And you wouldn’t even know it! It has to do with the college degree…

  • Sadandbeautiful

    OUCH!!! I’ve bruised my tailbone before and that is painful enough..I can’t even…ouch!

    I hope you are safely in Houston now and getting good hugs. I mean drugs. Both.

  • Maire

    I broke my tailbone back in Sept. I felt much better after 2 weeks or so. Went back to running after about 2 weeks, not six. Not much they can do to fix it, so just wait it out. Good luck. Advil.

  • ExpatRiot

    My tailbone cracked during childbirth, when my son’s head rammed against it again and again. I, too, had a donut. We dubbed it the “Dignity Cushion.” Somehow that helped.

  • painterdoll

    Eeeep, that sounds very uncomfortable. On the bright side, if you have to have surgery, while you’re under you could just have them put in butt implants while they’re at it! (KIDDING! And I’m one to talk, as I’m all, “Boobs? What are those?”)

    In truth, I have great sympathy for you. While never having broken my tailbone, I did, er, “sprain” mine as a kid when I was leaning against the door and the mat slid out from under me. Definitely showed some waddle-age for a few weeks.

  • Amy G

    You poor girl! That right there (not to mention the mere thought of serious head injury) is one of the many myriad reasons why this girl doesn’t ski or snowboard or do anything that requires speed, great heights and a total illusion of control. Heal fast, sister.

  • toddlerknowsbest

    The dreaded donut is a waste of time and will not heal your butt any faster. it won’t.
    trust me.

    And if you use it, I will laugh at you.

  • Mikki

    Been there, done that, will send the t-shirt. I too had to sit on a damn donut, but the freaking jelly kept squirting out and the powder was all over my pants. I couldn’t seem to get the hang of it.
    Anywho…if all alse fails, roll up a towel and create your own donut so when you sit your tailbone does not have pressure on it.
    It took a long time to be able to sit without being uncomfortable. I had to do the cheek cha cha, you know, one cheek for a few minutes…switch to the other cheek…shashay, shashay, turn, dip…I am obviously the dip!
    Take your time and don’t push it. When you tell someone they are a pain in your ass, well, it won’t be a total lie!
    Toodles…
    Mikki

  • LaLicenciada

    Ay yay yay, mujer [woman]! I cannot believe this! Horrible.

    Here’s an attempt at a silver lining:
    I think that the donut would be fun for future use so perhaps you should still consider getting it just to have a touch of dirty optimism for the use of said donut and get rid of the whole hemerroids association. It may not be practical, but inventive to say the least (once you heal, that is).

    Also, Jon is right, you’re gonna want to get back up there when you heal. Not now, but you will (but I hope you don’t).

    My boyfriend /partner Che fractured his hyroid when his surf board knocked him in the neck his first time surfing. Do you know how many times I have begged him NOT to get back in the water since that week stint in the ICU? He’s alive. I’m thankful. But always begging that he doesn’t not go back in the water.

    So whats my point? Take whatever pain meds you can, make sure you get the donut, pray that it heals properly and know that no matter how bad you get knocked on your ass, you will be fine, you will live to do some other stupid thing you shouldn’t do again.

    For that we are all thankful.

    Sending you positive thoughts,
    Li

  • jylmomIF

    Hope the high heels weren’t too painful for you this weekend. I still can’t feel my second toe from wearing mine, but 3 inches taller? Worth the sacrifice, right? Of course, I don’t have a broken tailbone.

    Feel better! So didn’t mean to scare you with my cyst story ;) , but was fun chatting.

    jyl
    @jylmomIF

  • HDADDiva

    I’m beyond bummed (no pun intended… ok, maybe just a little one) that you had a bad snowboarding experience. It’s such a zen feeling… riding the magic carpet… floating on the snow. Bliss..

    http://www.3pinkdrinks.com/3pinkdrinks/2010/01/jen-snowboarding-as-therapy.html

    And based on your video clip, you’ve actually got mad skills, but just caught an edge and had incredibly bad luck.

    Good news is.. you should be all healed up before the end of the season. We can head up to Spring Gruv together, get our party on, and reclaim the mountain… show it who’s boss. it’s just like riding a horse. you have to get back on if it bucks you off.

  • Goddess on Training Wheels

    I feel for you. No, REALLY.

    I wiped out snowboarding in January. I broke my tailbone and tweaked a facet in my spine.

    It’s been nearly 7 weeks, and it still hurts.

    Take it easy, make use of your frozen peas!

  • WanderingOne

    I could use that kind of hugging right about now. Bring it, Armstrong!

  • Ray1987

    Was this blog entry written while you were on painkillers? LOL! Kidding. =P Anyhow: I can’t believe you fractured your tailbone! Wow. I hope the recovery process goes easy for you and that no surgery is needed.

    Take, care.

  • catethegreat

    At least you didn’t shatter your sacrum falling on a large stereo speaker while putting on jeans. And at least it wasn’t during your first week of law school and you didn’t have to carry your donut pillow in your giant backpack right next to your Civil Procedure textbook, pull it out in class each day and stealthily attempt to slide it under your butt cheeks without all your new law school classmates noticing. Then again having to repeatedly explain away the existence of my hemorrhoid pillow probably made me a better lawyer. As did trying to concentrate while on all that Vicodin.
    Here’s hoping you heal fast and feel better!

  • lolly

    Unlike many other people here, I’ve never broken my tailbone. I am sorry you are in pain and I hope you feel better soon.

    And triple YAY! for being alive!

  • leftpinky

    I had the same experience as ExPatriot. Who knew childbirth and snowboarding had so much in common? Don’t worry… the pharmacy donut has to be better than the one my midwife gave me in a pinch to be able to sit in the car to get home from the hospital – it was a wheelbarrow innertube she had in the trunk of her car because… (?). Now THAT’s a Dignity Cushion.