This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

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!

  • 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.

    Yep.

    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:

    http://www.xsportsprotective.com/cp2500.html

    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.

  • erinj1976

    Having fractured my tailbone years ago, falling down stairs while carrying a toddler not snowboarding, I am here to tell you the pain lasts much longer than two weeks. Think pain for 4ish weeks and achy bruised feeling every time you sit on it wrong for at least 6 months to a year. It is one of those injuries that you feel like it will never go away until one morning you wake up and realize that it didn’t hurt any more.

    Also a note on snowboarding; must be one of the most dangerous sports out there. I work in an orthopedic office on the weekends. We saw 5 kids in one night with various broken wrists and legs. All of these kiddos were snowboarding. On kid’s wrist looked like an “S”. It was gross and I totally threw up a little in my mouth 😉 I can handle helping people’s injuries no matter what, but don’t like to see people hurt! Be so very very careful out there. Obviously we can’t avoid all accidents but maybe snowboarding is one that could be approached with extreme caution.

  • Rena Gray

    This is why I don’t ski. I am terrified of breaking something… anything! I work with my hands so if I break one of those or an arm that they are attached to, I’m dead.

    I wish you a speedy recovery!

  • amyish

    I feel your pain, Heather!!!! I fractured my sacrum two years ago ice skating — more like broke the thing in two pieces! I, too spent quite a long time sitting on a donut.

    I hope you feel better soon. Take good care of yourself so you heal up quickly. My injury took a long time to get better, and I got very discouraged when things didn’t happen when the doctors said they should. Healing takes time, but you will get better. (I did!)

    It’s tough for the family when mommy gets injured! My first day on the couch, my (then 8 yo) son threw himself on the floor, crying, when I told him he had to get his own glass of water. So, just be prepared for that, too. After about three days of resting, they’ll want you to just get over it and start taking care of them again. But DON’T – you need to get yourself better first. They really, really CAN take care of themselves (or Jon can help them)!

    As my dad told me after my injury, at least you hurt yourself doing a cool sports thing. You now have a sports injury, which makes you tough and awesome.

    Anywho, feel better soon. I will send good, butt healing vibes your way. (Oh, BTW, a benefit to this type of injury is that from now on, you MAY be able to predict weather with your ASS! You know, like people with arthritis can tell if it’s going to rain. I love telling people, “My ASS says it’s going to rain!” The comedy benefits of a broken ass are priceless).

  • UpNorthDee

    Hi! I had to have a c-section because I broke my tailbone 3 years before having my baby, and my coccyx remains at a 90 degree angle. PAIN! I hear ya! BUT PLEASE DON’T RESEARCH BROKEN COCCYX ON THE INTERNET. I am fine today. I thought (according to the internet) that I would have to endure all sorts of atrocities. (I didn’t). Good luck with it! Also I broke my wrist snowboarding – have never been back. My husband (a Neurologist) nods, and says YES, WEAR A HELMUT! I like your posts. I can relate.

  • Lovedaia

    You make my life better just being YOU…LOL

    Seriously, no matter what else is going on I can depend on you for either a hearty belly laugh, or a tear of sympathy and understanding.

    Thank you !

  • momof8

    Oh my, hope you feeling better soon and heal well. I will pray for your butt.

  • kari22hicks

    Oooooh! Karma-karma-karma-karma-karma-chameleon!

    Besides, that’s quite a story to fabricate just to pretend you don’t have hemmeroids!

    Dude! 🙂

  • maychia

    Don’t ever throw away the donut – it will be your Godsend for longer than we all want to know. You’ll think that you’re all healed and such, but guess what, you won’t be. I broke mine 10 years ago falling down marble steps in Spain and to this day my ass still plagues me if I sit in a certain position for too long. Especially those overnight flights in Coach!

    But I’m with you on inconvenient injuries. I sprained my ankle last night within the comforts of my own home after safely navigating the two blizzards DC has had and the icy sidewalks that still haven’t been cleaned for the past two weeks. Not even close to a badass injury.

  • Schmutzie

    I broke my tailbone when I was a kid, and my dad’s reply to that was that a doctor couldn’t set it anyway, so they never took me to the doctor, and I just sat on my hands for weeks and walked really weird until the pain went away.

    This is what happens when your father grew up on a farm where they shot anything with a broken leg.

  • Maxine_Dangerous

    *Totally* with you on “We’re alive!!!” I got stuck, temporarily, at the top of a HOOOOOGE hill during a high school skiing trip. I can still feel the fear; I swear I thought I was going to be there forever. (See also: Skier, I Am A Terrible.) A classmate, thankfully, guided me down the might-as-well-have-been-a-black-diamond course while he skied backwards. (!) That was more than 20 years ago and I am STILL relieved I’m safe. 😀

  • caroknox

    Sorry to hear about your butt! Just wanted you to know that my son gave the donut a different name when he had to use one when he was 9 and in the hospital. He couldn’t remember what it was called, but he knew it was a food and so he called out,

    “Hey, would you bring me a Butt Bagel, please!”

    It’s been a Butt Bagel ever since in our family. You may use it as well if you like.

  • emmajames

    Ouch.
    Good luck with the donut. And might I suggest buying a few dozen of the other kind to help you through the next 6 weeks. Powdered sugar has great healing powers.

  • Daffodil Campbell

    I am greatly relieved to hear that your crash did not extend to devastating Natasha Richardson-level catastrophy. I am still totally freaked out by THAT entire chain of events, and while I am really sorry about the gigantic ass-whooping you got – complete with broken tailbone – I’m glad you are not dealing with a traumatic brain injury. Because really, aren’t our brains injured enough by marriage and children?

  • Mee2

    Youch! My 1st son cracked my tail bone with his big head when I was delivering him. That shit hurts!!!

    I entered you for a profile at theofficialpageof.com

    http://theofficialpageof.com/heather-b-armstrong/

  • TexasKatie

    I am so happy that you are alive and well – I cracked my tailbone once – didn’t actually break it, just got a hairline crack, or something – and that was the worst pain EVAH.

    So what is with all the bloggers coming to Houston? I live here. YOU ALL NEED TO LET ME KNOW YOU THE CITY! Is it that women in media conference downtown?

  • QoB

    I have had one snowboarding lesson – not on real snow or even fake snow. The instructors were very safety conscious etc., with ‘look, we have elbow pads! and knee pads! and helmets! and butt pads!! you’ll be perfectly safe!!!’ until I was going down the slope, the instructor decided I was going too fast, yelled at me to fall to stop myself, and I obediently fell on my butt – which would’ve been fine except that the butt pad was behind my knees.

    That was a year ago – my tailbone still hurts sometimes. but I didn’t get a donut.

  • DesignGirl

    dude … what a pain in the ass!
    sorry, it was just too tempting.

  • Pandora Has A Box

    Ow ow ow ow…I’m wincing on your behalf.

    Lots of pain meds. The donut is not as much of a life saver as you might think, but it’s better than sitting with your tuchus directly on a chair.

    You know, I’ve dislocated a shoulder skiing. I’ve torn an ACL skiing. I’ve had wipe-outs that were yard sale epic. And I still long to get back up to the top of the mountain so I CAN DIE SOME MORE. It’s sick.

    I hope that you have a speedy recovery that is free of complications. But, please, do tell us about sitting on the plane with the donut. Because that? Is guaranteed hilarity.

  • Emry

    So sorry about your injury!
    Pain pills make me sick, too, but I bet you can take lots of ibuprofen.
    Hope it heals quickly!

  • ddicorcia

    At some point you gotta respect your age. Getting old sucks and we are not as limber as we used to be. I used to ski and skate. Now I shudder to think of all the possible bone breakage that would have occurred! I am an achondroplasia dwarf, so bone breakage would really suck!!!

    Take Care Dooce! I hope you are feeling better soon!

  • leeannie

    glad you are alive heather! sorry about the fracture. hope it heals quickly & correctly so you don’t have to have surgery on your (lack of) butt.

  • kdemerais

    I feel ur pain. I also fractured my tail bone last yr snowboarding, for the first time I might add. However I didnt get checked out right away I just tried to deal with the pain, all the while thinking I may have cracked it, but there’s nothing that can be done anways. stupidly I tried to snowboard again 2 weeks later. first fall ended my day, worst pain EVER!!
    and this year on a new years eve snowboarding trip, I ate snow so hard my goggles and toque and everything flew in every direction possible, and my head smacked the ground so hard. i ended up with mild whiplash and a concussion. NEVER again will I step foot on a hill without a helmet. How did i not learn my lesson the first time?

  • Calichef

    I’m really sorry you broke your butt, Heather. I’m glad it didn’t happen falling over Coco, though. That totally could have happened and would have really sucked. At least you were doing something cool.

    Now, for the pain meds. I have a terrible nerve condition called neuropathy. It gets progressively worse. Narcotic pain meds always made me sick, too. But I learned something: force yourself to eat even though the nausea makes the thought of food revolting. Really. You’ll be surprised how much better a container of yogurt or bowl of applesauce will make you feel.

    I have broken a few bones in the past, but not my coccyx, thank god. I found that 800 mgs. of ibuprofen every six hours helped with bone pain MUCH more than narcotics did. Also, it’s much less likely to cause nausea.

    I hope this long winded comment helps. Sending healing thoughts to your poor, bruised and broken butt.

  • Kckeeton

    Ohh so sorry about your tailbone. I know what you are going through. Last year my tailbone started hurting at work for no apparent reason (I never fell or did any extreme sports, I just sit on my arse in front of a computer all damn day long).

    I was going to London a few months after the pain started so I had to sit on my neck cushion the entire 10 hour plane ride there and back because my ass hurt so bad! Such joy.

    This was over a year ago and it still bothers me sometimes. Hope you recover fast!

  • Tiggerlane

    I had to carry a donut to school. HIGH SCHOOL. I fell during skating, and shattered my tailbone…and had to sit on that thing in class. HORROR.

    Oh, and just a tip – don’t know how your break is, but I have little fragments floating around in there – that every so often, when I sit Indian-style, make me want to scream in agony.

    I can’t take pain meds, either – they make me wanna barf. Maybe LOADS of Valium? OR Xanax? Then, you could just pass out!

  • g.fox

    Thank heavens you’re okay! Ain’t no shame in excessive huggin!

  • kdjmom3

    I also broke my tailbone while learning to snowboard. It hurt a lot for a long time, and I went back to downhill skiing and was happy never to snowboard again. The end.

    Best wishes on a quick recovery and use that donut all the time, it was the only thing that helped me!

  • wenhaver

    When I was in middle school, mom slipped and broke her tailbone. She had apparently cracked it as a kid while sledding, and the slip & fall in her 30s broke it clean off.

    Well, you can’t walk around with a broken off piece of tailbone in you – it could lodge in your spine. And that would be bad. So she had it taken out. Back then, they’d actually give you the piece of yourself that they cut out of you.

    To this day, my mom has a 1.5″ piece of tailbone in a jar in one of her kitchen cupboards. Just thought you’d like to know.

  • Zedda

    I have never broken my tailbone, thankfully. I have broken my clavicle and to this day it still hurts occasionally. I was three and a half years old when I broke it!!!

    A little while ago I had an unfortunate incident when a wall got in the way of my fist (slight anger management issue). I got it x-rayed and they told me that it wasn’t broken, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t take two full months to heal! I’m still willing to bet that I hair-lined it. Oooh… O.o THINKING about it makes my hand cringe!

    Back to the tailbone (get it? heh): I’m actually terrified that I will end up severely injuring it one day (thank you, Heather). I’ve already bruised it and whatnot due to the fact that it’s just farking weird.

    I’ve got too much tailbone and it protrudes a little awkwardly. Also, not tailbone related but still butt-related: I’ve got plenty of padding… Just not ON the actual butt bones, so if I sit on a hard chair or stool for a long period of time, my butt bones will HURT!! Yes, the butt bones that are supposed to be amply padded by… the butt cheeks? WTF?!

    Happy doughnut-ing! 🙂

  • tanya

    When I was 12, I shattered my tailbone into many little pieces while skateboarding. This was in Ukraine, where butt surgery is out of the question, pain medication equals big bribes, and they don’t have donut seats, so I spent a large portion of the eight months of recovery sitting on a toilet. Reading. Eating. Popping aspirin. Whining.

    And now I have to do reconstructive surgery for the tiny fragments that are still hanging out, but at least this will be in the good ol’ U S of A, and here they have donuts.

  • jen.yaya

    i don’t do anything extreme except EXTREME DESIGN. so, i’ll give you an address in little rock where you can send the vicodin.

    i’m glad you’re alive!

  • Bronwenc

    Oh #74, they can reset it. It involves a medical professional sticking a gloved finger in the body hole nearest the tailbone and pulling it back into place. It is a situation that no 12 year old, or anyone for that matter, should experience awake.

  • danielandkelly

    I broke my coccyx almost 4 years ago giving birth to my first son. Had to have a c-section for the second because it still hadn’t healed. My tailbone did not heal correctly, but rather got worse. I had the surgery to remove the broken pieces of my coccyx last July. The recovery was horrific. 3 weeks that you must be completely horizontal, no pressure on your feet, except when you HAVE to go to the bathroom/shower. Not to mention stitches in your crack. I will pray your’s heals on its own (which most do!), but if years from now you are still dealing with tremendous pain and can’t even sit for a meal with your family, know that the surgery (I’m now 7 monts post-op) was life-changing. I can now ride a bike again and go places without my embarassing donut pillow! At least you broke your’s in a cool way!

  • danagw

    Oh, Girlfriend. I feel for you. As a kid I had a fall of a horse and cracked my tailbone. 20 plus years later, it still aches in bad weather and if I bike or sit on hard chairs for too long. I’m sorry to agree with the other posts but it probably will take longer than 6 weeks, and even then, you may want to get one of those silly exercise balls to sit on instead of a hard chair. Take care – we’re all pulling for you!

  • Talon

    I could kiss your little lack of ass right now. Owwie…broken tail bone!! That is NO FUN. I share this with you because you’ve done the skin cancer thing…so have I. Only it wasn’t from the sun or lack of sunscreen.

    It was in a pre-existing mole.

    On my left ass cheek.

    And because I have been thirteen years cancer free whenever I go see a new doctor, or have to get a new medication and they ask me those questions, then ask where the skin cancer was, I say, “ON MY ASS. That’s RIGHT…I had ASS CANCER!!” (I don’t have lack of ass…I have a booty licious booty except for the huge, honkin’ scar and DENT in my left ass cheek though. But I married a no-ass…so I can sympathize.)

    Now, you cozy up with your little donut…because women who have given birth also use them silly and you gave birth a mere eight months ago AND TOTALLY HAD YOUR WAY WITH THAT MOUNTAIN!!

    Feel better, for serious. Right now I have arthritis in my ass joints and sitting? Well…it isn’t going over well with the committee.

    P.S. Captcha = freeze the. Coincidence?