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!

  • xuxu

    Yay on the being alive happiness!

    My friend ALSO broke her tailbone
    while giving birth (WTF!!)…

    and on the good side, perhaps
    you will have enough swelling to
    give you a temporary butt!

    (As long as no one goes for the squeeze.)

  • AJadedMama

    I had a very stupid accident about two years ago involving an overloaded garbage can and ended up with a compression fraction in my L1 and if I hadn’t had a good osteopath to treat me I don’t think I’d have gotten back on my feet in any good time. So I’d highly recommend finding a good one to help make sure everything around the fracture does what it needs to do!

    FEEL BETTER!! And yes, stay far away from those stupid mountains. My kid lets her three year old ski and I want to lock her up for it!

  • shannon1717

    ***WOW—-a tailbone—I can’t even imagine–take it easy & try to rest!! LOL-

  • Attilla the Mum

    I too am very glad you’re ALIVE!

    When I looked at the 8-month-old photo of Mario, I imagined a sweet voice singing “Ave Maria.” Isn’t she truly a doll?

    You are a lucky lady!

  • Katie Kat

    DOOD… I broke my tailbone when I was 13 (at camp – while “slicker sliding” down a snowy slope on my rain slicker). I didn’t really know what I had done, so I went HORSEBACK RIDING the next day. Yeah. The PAIN… and they don’t really give you pain meds OR a donut (real or powdered) when you’re at camp. They just say “Oh poor little bunny” and pat your head. And then tell you to go clean out the horse stalls. Or climb a mountain.

    So, I feel your pain – or at least I did. Wear a helmet on your butt next time woman!

  • Jayceekay

    Sledding! Sledding is fun and it’s a lot closer to the ground! Okay seriously, I don’t get deliberately trying to kill yourself LOL. Skiing is bad enough but snowboarding!!?!

    Not going to point out your helmut stupidity as it’s been done, I guess. Does Jon wear one?? All mom and dads are OBLIGATED to wear a helmut for stupid sports that only man could invent. Wouldn’t it be a damn shame if that little blue eyed angel had to say her first words to a vegetable or a headstone?! Or if Leta, sweet Leta didn’t have anyone to teach her about all the wonders of life and it’s annoyances!? (hey, I said I wasn’t going point out the stupidity, I didn’t say anything about yelling at you for it!)

  • emedal

    Ok, I now have to add my story. When I was in college I was at a sorority/fraternity outdoor function and was sitting on the hood of a car along another friend of mine. One of our sorority sisters was behind the wheel and decided to floor the car with us sitting on top (she thought it would be funny, and oh, btw, I found out later she was drinking vodka from a water bottle at the time). Luckily my friend “walked” away with only a sprained ankle and I flew through the air and landed on my tailbone. I went to the ER but no xrays were taken. I sat on the donut pillow at home for about a month (I never could get the nerve to take it to class). To this day I have periods where it KILLS me (15 years later). I often will feel a pop when I stand up. Just FYI, the worst pain isn’t sitting, its getting up from sitting. While the pain is horrible at times, the post describing the surgery freaked me out. I think I will have to live with it. One last thing, forget ever mountain biking again. I do have a bike but it has a very cushy wide seat with lots of shocks.

  • Lovedjen

    Omg. I haven’t laughed so hard at one of your posts or felt so sorry for you (at the same time!) since your SHINGLES! entries. Thank God you’re alive, because where else would I get my pre-caffeinated endorphins??

  • mollymizzou

    I totally feel your pain- different story but similar pain ;) I broke my tail bone giving birth to my daughter..I had an epidural and didn’t feel the excrutiating pain until it wore off. I really didn’t heal for almost 2 months. It hurt so bad to sit down and I used my daughters boppy pillow instead of the donut ;) I hope you feel better soon!!!

  • soppho

    Holy sweet baby Jesus on a trike in a blizzard–feel better!

  • MamaHoo

    Re pain meds making you sick: for some reason doctors love to give percoset/percodan first. It causes nausea and actually doesn’t really take away the pain, just makes it seem like you are looking at it from a different world. Ask for a different pain med.

  • Angeerah

    I would carry that donut on the airplane with pride, woman! And I agree with MamaHoo, most pain meds make me sick but there are a few that work. Ask you doctor to prescribe some different ones until you find some that work. Feel better, chica!

  • Essembee

    My sister and I are watching the Winter Olympics right now, and Torah Bright just won the snowboarding gold medal. I told my sister that Bright is a Mormon. My sister’s reaction? ‘I thought Mormons weren’t allowed to snowboard?! Because.. you know… it’s just not the done thing… Why are you laughing at me?!’
    I laughed at her, a lot, because the first thing that came to mind was of course YOU, Heather.

  • marialoo

    @megnstuff, LOVE that you said Uff-da! My Norwegian grandmother has our whole family saying that.

  • hootenannie

    Oh dear. Bless your ass. :(


  • jennyleigh

    I fractured my tailbone 2 years ago rollerskating (on the first lap I must add) and I still have pain from it. I often sit on one buttcheek, cross my legs, and then switch to the next. I bet sitting on one of those fitness balls would help get you off of your tailbone when sitting in front of the computer. I feel your pain Heather!

  • Linka72

    dammit..”28. amyj” said it before I could..but really..a new ass would be good..I promise, your man will like can trust me, I’m a black girl with a big ass..Jon will appreciate a new place to rest his hand.
    Sorry your ass is, maybe somebody on Etsy can make you a cool lookin ass pillow cover!! Yep..I’m a genius.

  • hoosiergirl1962

    Sorry you broke your ass. I did the “ass-breakage” thing” sledding with a bunch of teenagers about 7 yrs ago. They took photos of my fat ass hitting the ground and of me with this strange, “Why is my ass buzzing?” face….Needless to say, I was prescribed the doughnut for six weeks and just went to Target and found a damn pool ring and carried that around for six weeks…It was more festive and make a funny squawk noise every time I sat my fat broken ass down on it…For heaven’s sake though, wear a goddamn helmet next time…Jon ought to have his ass kicked for not making sure both of you are wearing helmets…Life is too fucking short for head injuries….
    take care

  • singforjoy

    Try one of those U-shaped neck pillows they have in airports! They are much less obvious. I had to use one for about 4 months while my tail bone healed. It was my “Tushion”. I had to lug it wherever I went, but it just looked like I was prepared to nap at any point! It was slightly embarrassing, but it healed more quickly (and meant no surgery).

  • mkn 2010

    If you do try snowboarding again think about getting padded shorts to wear under your ski pants. I broke my tailbone (or bruised it pretty badly) one of the first times I went boarding and the shorts really helped me get back into it. Also, they saved my wrists, because every time I fell I tried to catch my self with my hands and after two weekends of that, the pain in my wrists was so bad I couldn’t pick up a coffee mug. And, as a bonus, when you sit down on the mountain the padded shorts keep your bum a bit warmer.
    Feel better soon!

  • stephaniekendall74

    I did this EXACT SAME THING snowboarding in college. I, also, passed on the butt donut.

    Now @ 35, I ski.

    Try it. Much easier. Much more enjoyable.

  • melbone99

    I love, Love, LOVE blog posts that make me laugh out loud. (My family looks at me funny tho.)

    Thank God she doesn’t have hemorrhoids. Still laughing………….

    P.S. I totally had to look up how to spell hemorrhoids. What a weird word.

  • The Baker and The Chef

    I had a friend (notice the past tense, and the reason why I feel comfortable sharing this story) who also broke her tailbone. We had gone out drinking after work and she got completely annihilated. We drove her home where she proceeded to pass out in bed. Her bedroom was in the basement and there wasn’t a bathroom down there, so when she woke up and realized she was going to throw up she ran up the stairs and into the kitchen, but began throwing up before she reached the top of the stairs. Since she was running, she ran right into her own throw up, slipped, and fell right on her butt… BREAKING HER TAILBONE!!! True story. She never lived it down! So, I’m sorry you broke your tailbone but at least you don’t have to tell *that* story every time someone asks how you hurt yourself.

  • Daily Cup of Jo

    Yeah, I’m with Jon. You’ll get back on that mountain again because what’s more fun than sliding or skiing down a mountain covered with snow? Nothing! Sorry you can’t take pain meds. They’re the upside of scary, life-altering crashes.

  • parodie

    In high school, I was a figure skater (I was not good at it, but I tried…), and when I was about 14 I fractured my tailbone learning a new jump. As a result, I was also given a little donut and I got to carry it around high school. From class to class. So I could sit. In HIGH SCHOOL. That is all.

  • onbeelay

    I too thought it would be only 6 weeks of recovery. I too thought I’d be the valedictorian of butt healing. I’m 31, healthy and in shape, I work out, (but still have pancake butt) so a stupid tailbone wasn’t gonna keep me down!

    While got over using the pain meds in 2 weeks it still aches.(It’s been 8 weeks) I sit on one cheek and then the other. I sit on a butt donut in the car and at home on the couch. (I work from home so its not too embarrassing). So good luck Ms. Heather. Good f’in luck.

    During this ordeal. I found out I have a TERRIBLE nerve related reaction to anything with Codeine. I sends piercing and immediate pain in my stomach whenever I take it. (First I thought it was acid) It’s like a stomach Charley Horse!! But Luckily I have an awesome Dr. and we figured out that 2 Nulev taken a couple of minutes before 2 OxyC works! Don’t know if that’s your issue but(t) check it out if it is. Was a lifesaver for those 2 weeks.

  • shanenickerson

    Oops. Sorry about the whole “hope Blurb filmed the epic shitwhip” joke. Hope recovery is quick and relatively painless.

  • NHMaman

    I suspect that several of us (read those with children) would admit to using a “donut” even though it’s not often discussed. You’re not alone. I guess snowboarding and childbirth can both be considered extreme sports.

    My stepdad died four days after my first child was born. My husband and I put our tiny, 3-week early newborn into his new bucketseat and made the 5-hour drive to the wake and funeral. With a sore and stitched … what is it you like to call it … wee-waw … a donut made the excruciatingly long drive out of NYC traffic more tolerable. I did not take the donut in to the wake or funeral with me, just the tears and crazy postpartum emotions.

    Oh … earlier I’d been forced to endure a ride on a very bumpy NYC bus (sans donut) to go to the hospital to nurse my newborn because they’d kept him for jaundice but refused to allow me to stay–and every single friggin’ taxi in NYC was busy servicing people at fashion week. Priorities!

    Good luck with the travel!

  • amyvignola13

    Heather and family…
    I can’t believe what I have just seen. My 60′s ish parents are visiting and were watching HGTV. And I saw a commercial with Heather’s picture…and I yelled…that is Heather from Dooce! I ‘know’ her! I have followed her blog for years. And my dad told me you are going to have a show on HGTV. I am a first time commenter (made brave by three whiskey sours, what a wimp!) and I must say I am so, so happy that you have made what I consider the big time! I am an avid reader and fan; I’ve got two boys, 7 and 5, and Heather you made me feel like a normal mom so many times, you have truly changed my life. Good luck in your future endeavors; I will be glued to my DVR for sure if there is any show that features the Armstrongs. I’m a bit embarrassed at how glued to HGTV I already am!!
    Thanks for all you do,

  • roxanne dubier

    well,I guess I’m not going to let my sophomores convince me to go snowboarding with the ski-club. I was on the fence until now. Throwing myself down a frozen mountain with no restraint goes against my instincts–I wish you could use some sort of tether. Wishes for a speedy recovery!

  • Deborah L Quinn

    I broke my tailbone giving birth to baby #2. Or rather, he and his big freakin head broke my tailbone. Which I didn’t realize until the next morning when I tried to bound merrily out of bed and literally fell to the ground. It’s a long-ass recovery period, let me tell you, all puns intentional. My nursing boppy pillow was immediately repurposed for my broken butt. This injury will teach you, however, that you cannot, in fact, put your ass in a sling.

  • linuxchik

    i totally love your website.
    i wonder if there is a certain algorithm to use to help you decide whether to close comments?
    also does it feel weird to become an icon of yourself? ;)
    are these all stupid questions!? find out tonite at 10!

  • cayayofm

    I just hope we get to see Chuck in, out, below or on top of that donut.

  • the mighty jimbo

    the first time i went snowboarding, sometime around 98 or so, i landed on my head so hard i was concussed and swore never to ride again. ever. ever ever ever. couldn’t BELIEVE people actually paid to do this. didn’t strap on a board again until 2004.

    2010: season pass holder.

    it’s a horrible, wretched, painful sport. until it clicks. if you are willing to endure the inevitable bodily abuse until it clicks, i promise, the rewards are fantastic. especially in the snow i hear you are blessed with in utah.

    one more thing. both of you: helmets. i’ve spent a lifetime making my mother nervous, so this comes from both experience and the heart.

  • Punkin472

    you broke your ass. heh.

  • honeydunce

    glad to hear you’re okay. Tailbone injuries can be tricky. I hurt my knee last week just by walking around in the snow(that’s right. WALKING AROUND.). Bad sprain. So I’m stuck in a giant knee brace that makes me walk with one peg leg. Funny how we never fully appreciate the normal use/function of limbs and such until that normal use/function is taken from us.

    feel better soon.

  • Katie D

    I’m so happy you’re alive, Heather. And I’m extremely happy that you have to sit on a donut on an airplane simply because I know it will result in an awesome post about something hysterical that happened.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

  • Hubbards

    Happy to hear you are okay. and that you have the use of all of your limbs, I have broken my tailbone twice…..I wont go into the details because it’s ugly, I have never been the same. Sitting for a long period of time is not in the cards for me. Good luck with that plane ride…..meds, LOTS of meds.

  • saturdayjane

    Holy smokes, that blows.

    I’m glad that your head isn’t in several mangled chunks on a ski slope, but the donut thing? Not so fun. Although honestly, fifteen years ago I thought donuts were totally awesome.

    My grandparents carried them around everywhere, and I was like, whoa! A special pillow! Just for your butt! Your own private BUTT PILLOW so that every where you sit is like a special BUTT THRONE (I guess it would pretty much just be a regular throne but I was pretty infatuated with the word ‘butt’ at the time) and I BEGGED my parents to get me a donut.

    They thought this patently hilarious. Not sure why. Eventually I just began borrowing my grandparents’ donuts and when we went out to Denny’s I would make a big show out of setting it on the cold plastic seats and settling into it with an air of, “This pillow means that MY BUTT DESERVES BETTER. Know me. Love me. Fear me.”

  • melbs

    The phrase “on the inside of my butt” is, at once, the most specific and also most vague description I have read in a long time.

    I thought I knew where the inside of the butt was, but now I am not entirely sure.

  • Joresi

    I broke my tailbone while giving birth- TWICE.

    It is painful. And not nearly as glamorous as extreme snowboarding!

    And I don’t know what your doc is on but my tailbone hurt off and on for over two years. My doctor said it can take that long to heal. Which was incredible timing because just as it healed and it stopped hurting I gave birth again and broke it again.

  • Figtron

    Dude…I am so in awe of you. The video was great, but why didn’t we see the crash? You could have KILLED on youtube. Dang.

    I fully understand the euphoria of BEING ALIVE. I had a near-death experience a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t nearly as glamorous as yours. Let it suffice to say that my liver in no way compares to your butt.

    Hope your coccyx is healed up very quickly.

  • kaethend


  • JennyMoo

    (Psssst: Dooce has pain meds!)

    I’m headed out to SLC in a few weeks for SKI CAMP, woo! I’m planning on trying out snowboarding during one of our off afternoons. Do you recommend a preemptive butt pillow?

  • kirst

    A butt pillow.

    I can’t imagine a blogger I would more want to be assigned a butt pillow than you! Not that I am not feeling your pain.

    I just think a butt pillow can be, as they say, Very Funny.

  • grad.nauseam

    After watching all those alpine skiers bite it yesterday, I don’t blame you for wanting to stay on level ground. I’ve never been on a snowboard, only skis, and as much fun as it is, I don’t go very often because I’m very aware of how deceptively dangerous it really is. Glad you’re going to be okay!

    Also, I just wanted to share that my verification phrase to post this comment was “raising dyck”… seriously… just saying.

  • LuckyMama

    I took me YEARS to put my nightmare behind me and then BAM! you bring it back to me in a flash of humor. I wish I could laugh along with you, but I went through using the donut in 7th grade…talk about PTSD!?!?

    I wasn’t lucky enough to have a cool day on the snowboard…nope, I got kicked in the ass while playing soccer in gym class. The other girl missed the ball and kicked me instead…now that takes talent! How embarrassing is it for an 12 year old girl to get kicked in the ass…then have to walk to the nurse’s office trying not to clentch my butt in my hands. For two weeks I had to sit on a bright ORANGE (seriously, orange?) donut. My butt healed correctly so I didn’t need any surgery, but still today my tailbone gets sore if I sit too long on a hard chair. Thanks for bringing it all back Heather….damn you.

  • Becca

    seriously? no photo of THE BRUISE?

  • CaitlinMc

    Holy crap. Only you, Dooce. I have to say that the last bit smacks of the nutter who commented all over your bathroom redo. ONE DAY WE WILL ALL BE DEAD. AND WE WON’T EVEN HAVE THE CONVENIENCES OF MISMATCHED TILE OR BUTT DONUTS.

  • Ironic Mom

    This reminds me of playing ringette as a kid and wiping out…before anyone used bum pads or whatever the heck they’re called. Thinking of you as I am seated comfortably on my butt.