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!

  • Crazy Card Lady

    I’m surprised you didn’t do a run down of all your other near death experiences….just add this one to the list. Now instead of being a pain in the butt, you have one. Ha! I sat on the couch a week and a half ago a couple hours after my usual 5 miles run and when I got up experienced pain so terrible it brought me to my knees (then I really couldn’t get up). Not happy with feeling like a crippled old lady. My doctor said I have to be patient. I don’t know how you are going to stand it with two little ones underfoot (oh ya, Jon!).
    Let’s breakout some donuts, please!

  • josephine

    Yikes – sorry to hear about that break. I’m a snowboarder and am QUITE lucky to have only suffered dislocations and sprains – no breaks so far *knock on wood* tho I ended up wearing a helmet my 2nd season on (YES, I was an idiot and didn’t wear it in the beginning) b/c of an awful crash where they thought I broke my pelvis and had a concussion.

    Now that I wrote all that, I’m wondering why I still love the sport. Hm….

    Way to get back up and ride it to the bottom though. That’s tough, especially when one of those sleds is staring ya in the face. :)

    LOL – “and weakling” was my catchpa

  • Shana in Texas

    Ouch! Glad you’re alive and hoping your butt will mend quickly. Can you treat your butt donut like a cast and have people sign it?

  • megnstuff

    Uffda. This is why I drink hot chocolate at the bottom of the mountain and watch other people snow board and ski.
    Glad you are okay. Maybe next time duct tape the donut to your bum before going skiing. You could start a new trend :)

  • Ashley_the Accidental Olympian

    PROMISE I can have them?

    I don’t like to be teased about these sorts of things.

  • amandalk

    OMG you broke your butt. I did too…except I was only LEARNING to snowboard. I thought I’d be this supercool snowboarding Mom. Heh. I never went back. I grew up in Colorado. I am a sham.

  • mommica

    Dude, there are going to be soooo many pain meds at Mom 2.0. I can’t BELIEVE I’m going to miss it.

  • EvilJulie

    So how long until you noticed the bruise? Just asking because I landed on my tailbone a ton while I was snowboarding last weekend, including once when I swear I heard a crack but it could have just been my teeth clicking together on impact.

    Is asking Dooce about my health issues better than asking Google?

  • 3xx1xy

    Wow! What a close call. Speedy recovery to you.

  • Syd

    Don’t get a donut cushion. The pressure will still be on the padded area. What you need is a cushion with a coccyx cut out. It’s usually a little triangle shape cut out of the back.

    Or, you can put a cushion under each butt cheek. But, the coccyx cushions are relatively inexpensive and totally worth it. Feel better soon.

  • drblakablak

    What Syd said, you need something like this Good luck.

  • michellyw

    The only time I went skiing I broke my leg in two places. It sucked. No more skiing for me!

  • amyj

    Dude, maybe if they operate they can give you a butt!

    Also, while you’re recovering, go ahead and watch the 6 (SIX!) horrifying falls from Women’s Alpine Skiing yesterday. And the tape of Shaun White smacking his face against the half-pipe in a recent competition. As thankful you are to be alive now, you’ll be even more thankful watching these gut-wrenching falls take place. Sent shivers up my spine, for sure.

    Good luck to your butt…

  • SomeCallMeTim

    Alive is good….

  • Josie Maran

    dude. get the donut! at least so chuck can wear it on his head!!

  • the_white_words

    I/We broke my tailbone popping out a 9lbs 3oz very large headed bouncing boy. Six weeks… pfft… girl, you have at least 6 mos. of healing! The convoluted ring cushion (donut) MUST accompany you everywhere. It’s a beeatch getting out of a chair regardless of what you have to assist you though. Good luck with that – hope your butt feels better soon!

  • Jacquie

    Oh, ouch. If the pain pills make you sick, stick with tequilla. I’m glad you’re okay, and sorry I missed the chance to yell at you about not wearing a helmet.

    Also, I had a very Beavis moment when you mentioned a bruise on the inside of your butt.

    Happy healing. Bottoms up. heh heh heh heh.

  • Dharma

    @Joresi said: “I broke my tailbone while giving birth- TWICE”

    Ummm, me too, twice.

    Dooce – you are fairly “bad ass” for breaking your ass snowboarding but my girl Joresi and I have you beat by a mile….lol

    Hold that butt pillow over your head in front of a room full of men yelling “I broke in HALF giving birth…..again!”. Too awesome to be believed :)

  • thecitygirl74

    Well, that sucks about your tail bone but just so you know, those donuts are really bad to use if you have hemorrhoids. They increase the pressure on the hemorrhoids and can make them a lot more painful. This won’t stop people from thinking you have hemorrhoids if you are using the donut, so I don’t even know why I am passing this info on, maybe trying to make you feel less self conscious about using it, although I think I have achieved just the opposite of that so I should probably stop talking right now.

    Hope you heal fast!

  • Greysmom

    glad to hear you’re alive!
    and atleast you’re done having kids…
    my sister broke her tail bone when she was younger and then while in labor she was reminded of that injury! i guess all the movement of the bones recreated the pain ten fold!
    good luck with the plane ride, i hope you don’t get so hungry you try to eat your donut:)

  • twelvedaysold

    For my birthday in December I decided to go roller blading at a roller rink in town (haven’t roller bladed since I was a kid). I ended up jamming my elbow something nasty and having to get two rounds of x-rays. First thing my sister tells me when I tell her how crappy the rink was (poor carpeting and that’s why I fell) she says “You should come up to the one by our house!!!” No, thanks. I’M GOOD.

  • Momsword

    I’m so sorry you hurt your backside. You can borrow some of my copious rear anytime you need it Hon. Can I just say I thought it was funny that all the google ads on this post were for kick ass ski\snowboarding resorts. It’s like – Hey, consumer, you wanna be like Heather…look at all these choices!!! Hope you feel better soon! Oh, and welcome to Texas! I recommend the barbeque!

  • mstinak

    Does having a broken tailbone making pooping more difficult?

    I’m sorry about your butt and all its drama.

  • meganbeth

    Back when I was in high school I used to cheerlead. And since I’m 100 pounds soaking wet, I was the one they USED TO THROW TEN FEET IN THE AIR. And once upon a time while we were practicing they dropped the other flyer. Like ten feet up, and twenty feet down. To the ground. Not one hand or finger to soften the blow.

    For the next two months she was officially called Amber the Blue Donut Girl who broke her ass.

  • dazleazure

    To try to make you feel better…my friend broke her tailbone while GIVING BIRTH…and my Aunt had HEMORRHOID SURGERY…and she sported the donut for quite a while for her poor ass.
    Not that breaking your tailbone while snowboarding isn’t bad…but just think, you could have broke it while GIVING BIRTH WITHOUT PAIN MEDS.
    Just sayin’…
    GET WELL SOON! Don’t sit too much…or you might get hemorrhoids too…now THAT would be the shits!

  • Tricia

    All that righteous indignation I was feeling about your helmetlessness… pffft, fizzled. I am SO SORRY you broke your tailbone! Winter sports can be so fun– it’s sad when somebody suffers the kind of injury that’s likely to keep them from ever hitting the slopes again. Not that I’d blame you; being able to land on your butt relatively painlessly is a pretty important prerequisite for skiing/snowboarding.

    Here’s to your tailbone mending in record time!

  • dfunkmcgunk

    Heather – I am glad you are alive. I…I…I think I love you.

    I also love pain medication. A couple days before xmas my docs found a cyst in my brain they can’t remove because it’s in a very precarious place – you know that place where if they remove it I will either a) go blind or b) become paralyzed. OMFG OMFG so awesome and fun.

    I get pain pills for the headaches I get. They don’t make me sick, in fact they do almost nothing at all. So if they gave you something stronger I will give you my address and we can start an illicit pharm drug trade. Maybe we could even set up some pharm parties across the US?

    My post is sounding creepy.

    I am glad you’re alive. Don’t be so stupid again, ok? Use your god damn head, woman.


  • Erica

    My big plan here is for you to make sitting on a donut fashionable. And then I can start using one. Not because I have a butt injury of any sort, but just because I think it looks more comfy than a regular old chair.

  • Nancy D.

    I want to commend you for not knocking your doctor flat when she said “you’re in a lot of pain”. I was proud of me when a doctor said the same to me…

    In the middle of the night.
    In the Emergency Room.
    For a sore throat.

    Hmmmm…. Mother of two is in the ER during prime sleeping hours for a sore throat…

    Do ya THINK?

    He gave me Vicodin. It looked THAT BAD.

    Thank YOU Captain Obvious.

    Hope ya feel better!

  • brandistrand

    I LOVE snowboarding (I’m almost 32, by the way). I bruised my tailbone once I started to feel more confident, and even that took a long recovery. Well, my butt was sore when I sat for an amount of time, but I was able to walk.

    I got right back on that mountain. I think like 2 weeks later, too. I’ve bruised my knee caps falling on ice, I even had knee surgery to fix an injury I had gotten 4 years prior and never did anything about.

    If you even minutely liked snowboarding, you’ll be up on it again. It’s the only sport I like!

    Here’s to a speedy butt recovery!

  • radkitch

    These are the trials and tribulations of being a bad ass! Get better, grab a noggin bucket, and get back on that slope… that bitch who’s boss!

  • castpier

    OR, you could always do what I did and live the rest of your life with an abnormally bent tailbone. It really only interferes with like, pilates and stuff. Then again, I was about 2 when I broke it…

  • blackpanther


  • katszeye

    Glad you are alive. Maybe the swelling will give you a temporarily inflated, albeit odd-shaped, butt. I broke my tailbone in college while trying to ride a bike down some stairs. Yes, that was really dumb. So embarassing and PAINFUL. Hope you heal soon.

  • Bronwenc

    Your doctor is a liar. It will hurt much longer than a week. I broke mine in half 29 years ago and it still hurts. To be fair, it was the second break and I developed this weird condition (coccydynia) that causes my tendons to try to pull my tail between my legs (how the physical therapist described it.)

    I can not stress enough that you should not get on a plane without that donut. Something about airplane seats aggravates the area like nothing you have ever felt before. Learn to love your donut for the next 6 weeks.

  • Number 99

    I slipped one Christmas night in the snow, in Virginia, and fractured the tail bone. (There was admittedly Scotch involved and the only extreme sport was hot tubbing later.) The butt pillow was horrifying, but it did help.

    Then, there was the time I got a $5 ticket for out-of-control-skiing in Vail.

    Not pretty.

    Me & snow. Not so much.

    Perhaps you should look at this as an opportunity for Jon to start waiting on you hand & foot!

  • JennyBean

    I broke my tailbone on my honeymoon.


    Never hurt myself in 30 years of skiing, but one ill-timed fall down some marble steps all-but ruined my honeymoon. It was agonizing pain for more than 6 months. 2 years later it only hurts when I am sitting for a long time. I still use a special cushion at work and in the car (not a donut, not any more).

    But I’m impressed at your restraint in not discussing the most painful part of this type of injury, which is of course going to the bathroom. I basically switched to a liquid diet so as to avoid that particular joy for a while. Also so that the booze could numb the pain.

  • Luna-See

    YEOW! I did the EXACT SAME THING about 10 years ago! Crashed on my board at the end of the day (when I was totally fatigued and trying to show off). I smacked my helmet-less head super hard and fractured my tailbone. I haven’t been back on a board since. I was on a flight to Paris a few days later. I stood nearly the entire flight(pre-9/11). It took weeks to mend but never required surgery….thank gawd!

    Thanks, as always, for sharing your story. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  • Archives of Our Lives

    Whatever. You totally have hemorrhoids.

  • MustangSally

    You poor thing! Could be worse though. Last night we were watching an episode of “I shouldn’t be Alive” on Animal Planet where this extreme athlete fell into a canyon somewhere in the wilds of Moab and shattered her PELVIS! She’s trying to crawl the 2 miles back to her car on her elbows, an inch at a time, and nobody knows she’s out there but WAIT!! She has the best dog in the world with her (a rescue). And after two days and subfreezing nights fighting hypothermia and internal bleeding, SAR have finally found her car and are looking for her, and THE DOG takes them right to her. **sniff** it was amazing.

    So moral of the story: Next time take Coco. Then if she’s doing her job and herding you she’ll be close enough to break your fall the next time you fall on your ass. Dog Donut.

    Happy healing – that truly does suck. You have my sympathy. But why don’t they have donuts built into those hip snowboarding pants anyway? huh? You’d never know! If Shaun White had a donut they’d be instantly kewl, dude….

  • PunkinP

    Ok, I’m am so NOT going snowboarding now. I already have a bad back. I don’t need to go making it worse.

    *healing thoughts to you*

  • Mays45

    Braking my tailbone is one of my biggest fears, and you have now lived it. The last time I went skiing, I ran into a tree, and was lucky enough to just get whiplash. That was the last time I will ever ski. Did you see those wipeouts on the women’s downhill last night? I could barely watch.

  • kcbelles

    Feel better soon, Heather – injuries to the back can be tricky. Hope yours heals up quickly and correctly.

    And I give mental thanks each and every morning for waking up. No shit. I do. Not sure when I started this, but I am grateful each and every day. Much better than the alternative. Which will come one day. Just not any time soon, I hope :o ) Good to be alive!

  • Katrina

    I think we need a video of “I’M ALIVE!” complete with jazz hands a’la “SHINGLES!”

  • Wombat Central

    Mmmm. Donut. This is exactly why I haven’t gone skiing as an adult. We’re just not as rubbery as we once were.

    I fractured my tailbone once (a dumbass kid in my karate class landed a spazzy kick right on my tailbone), and I hate to tell you this, but I agree with a previous poster who said it will be sore longer than two weeks. Ooh, doggy. The worst of it will be over soon, though. :)

    We’re all glad you’re alive! Now go put on your helmet, grab your donut and get on that plane.

  • Honey

    I don’t think I would want to begin snowboarding over 30 years of age because the tailbone and wrist fractures are so common. That being said, I’m about to strap on my boots and ski Ajax. I learned to ski at 33 at Buttermilk and took many many group lessons at Buttermilk, Ajax, Highlands, and Snowmass in the last three seasons. Luckily I began in 07-08 which was an epic year of over 400 inches of snow, soft cushy deep snow. Today I’ve probably had about 250 days on the mountain, keeping up with local lifelong riders. This year the snowpack (what there is of it) is hard as ice and no good for landing on, as you know. Lessons from a pro are the best money spent for safety, next to the helmet. If you seek the thrill as I do, I encourage you to do more of what you love. Godspeed on the healing. You are the best. Please post a picture of bruise.

  • chickenpickles

    Oh, I’m sorry! Next time please, please wear a helmet, and how about these:

    They would supplement your non-bum AND protect your tailbone! Maybe just wear them around the house to feel tough?

  • Janice

    Hmmm, dummy is not quite the word I would use for the lack of helmet but I think having an injury requiring public use of a butt donut is pure karma, babe!

    But perhaps Peter Frampton might be more willing to talk to you on the plane this time…..

    Feel better, kiddo ;-)

  • my5girls

    I have broken my tail bone. Twice. Don’t ask.

    It is almost as much pain as natural childbirth.

    I am so sorry!

  • lizlin

    Let’s all pause and ponder the wonder that is the word coccyx.