Sticks and stones did break his bones, but your words may bring him laughter July 5, 2011 12:25 AM   Subscribe

I am the MetaFilter pintern (paid intern) Dom, and would love to hear any funny stories the Mefi community has about breaking bones, in order to keep the boss's spirits up while healing from his scaphoid fracture.

mathowie, (the boss) recently fractured his scaphoid wrist bone in a slow motion fall in his garage, after finishing the maiden voyage on his new mountain bike . As his pintern, it is my job to keep his spirits up, so I thought it would be a good way to make light of the situation by hearing all of your funny experiences with broken bones.
posted by Dominic. Allen to MetaFilter-Related at 12:25 AM (137 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

posted by loquacious at 12:31 AM on July 5, 2011

Wow, 'tis the season for broken bones, apparently.

A friend of mine slipped in the tub and broke her foot recently. She blames it on the margaritas. Our fearless leader is going to have to come up with a better story.
posted by wierdo at 12:35 AM on July 5, 2011

Err, sorry, I should explicate my "What?" and not be a jackass.

Did he actually put you up to this? 'Cause this doesn't sound like the post or attention-seeking he would make.

I'm kind of still choking on "pintern". That hurts, man. I hope that doesn't catch on as a thing to say.

Other than that, sucks about the broken bone. Most of my broken bones involve dancing too vigorously and breaking my toes. Generally barefoot. I usually kept dancing, but man did that hurt.

The only other bone I've broken was my collarbone and I was a little kid. Rollerskating too fast. Then I got bored while I was still healing and went for the monkey bars. Apparently schoolyard supervisor on duty heard it pop before she heard me screaming. I don't really remember, I kind of blacked out.

Oh, I had a box of books attack me from great height while I was asleep, once. Busted my nose good. That was a really confusing way to wake up. Dazed, blood everywhere - buried in books. I had to set it myself.
posted by loquacious at 12:43 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I hope it isn't so serious that he won't be able to take you out to lunch?
posted by Meatbomb at 1:01 AM on July 5, 2011 [12 favorites]

Well, there is the one about the guy who was attacked by a mountain bike in his own garage...
posted by Cranberry at 1:01 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Owww! Owie owww owww owwwwww ow owww!

I've only ever personally experienced one fracture incident, though it did involve two bones. Happened when I was in second grade.

We had a climbing frame in the back yard - quite a tall one, with ladders up all four corners. One fine afternoon, it occurred to me that the thing to do would be to take the plank that Dad had been using to stand on for painting (twelve feet of 8x1) and fit it diagonally across the interior of the climbing frame, three rungs up from the ground; then balance a deck chair on top of the plank; then climb into the deck chair and relax in elevated comfort.

Things didn't go quite as planned. I was in the deck chair for all of five seconds before the whole arrangement went over sideways. My right arm, swinging out as I fell, smacked into a ladder upright about three inches up from the wrist and snapped both radius and ulna clean in two.

The novelty of having two wrists on that arm wore off in about two seconds, and then came the shock and the screams and the crying and hurting. I ended up in a cast from my thumb to above my elbow for the next five months.

I have no wish to experience anything similar ever again. Breaking bones is horrid. Get well soon, #1.
posted by flabdablet at 1:48 AM on July 5, 2011

I broke my little toe once. I didn't realise that I'd done it until it finally stopped hurting a year or two later and developed a really super bump. I would blame the bump on my incredible shoes but I can't because my shoes are not fabulous.
posted by h00py at 1:56 AM on July 5, 2011

I bet you $5 that mathowie was having happy thoughts when he fell. He may even have been smiling. Cycling is supposed to be about pain and suffering, not fun. I learned it the hard way.

I also find this post kind of weird, but here goes my story anyways.

I had a slow motion fall on my touring bike.

I was coasting, at about 3 or 4 mph, late at night, in light cool rain, down a tree lined street with beautiful Victorian homes to look at and the moon in the sky. My cheeks were sore from smiling.

True story, cross my heart and hope to die, as I thought "Does life get any better?" I hit the tram tracks and in very slow motion managed to land right on my knee bone and side of my wrist, before I could even remember how to unclip. I rode the remaining 2 miles home using only one leg and making up Gods to curse.

I compressed my patella, it looked all squishy on the x-rays, but it did not break. I strained all the ligaments in my knee and got a hairline fracture of the scaphoid.

This was 7 months ago and I am still recovering. My knee is back to about 80% flexibility and the affected leg is finally as strong as the good one. The hand does not hurt much, but I had to change the way I rest it on the mouse.

So yeah, keep his spirits up now, but the moment he starts riding again make sure to keep him angry and bitter and in constant pain. For his own good.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 2:12 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was small, maybe four or five, there was a little kids' park thing in the corner of one of the sports fields just behind our house. I'd go and play on the roundabout and the swings and those slightly nightmarish rocking rideable animal-on-a-spring things, but what I really wanted was to go on the big slide. 'No', my mum would say (looking back she was really overprotective, a thing which incidents like this Did Not Help with), 'it looks dangerous! You might fall!'

One day another parent showed up with (if I remember rightly) her own much younger kid, in a pushchair. Mum turned to talk with her. I saw my chance. I'd wanted to go down this damn slide for ages, and I was doing it! I was at the top of the ladder! This was going to be ama-

Then a gust of wind made the entire sorry, maintained-by-a-cash-strapped-council-in-the-North-of-England structure tilt to one side, I went flying over the woefully inadequate guard rail and with an audible crack and no small amount of screaming, broke my leg. My mother being who she is, after this and the thing with my first bike, I'm surprised she let me outside at all.
posted by emmtee at 2:24 AM on July 5, 2011

I was playing BMX tag with some friends in a hilly wooded area and was jammed up with a bunch of others on top of a wooded hill when "It" came barreling down the trail. With all my exit trails blocked I had no choice but to blaze my own down the side of a hill covered in light underbrush. It went well for about three yards until my front wheel lodged itself in an exposed root and launched me down the hill. I closed my eyes and curled up and somersaulted/tumbled repeatedly down the hill.

When I made it to the bottom I took a quick inventory and realized that everything was okay so I opened my eyes with a big smile on my face. Then I saw my bike. Coming right for my face.

Head tube to nose collision.

Blood. Swelling. Shiners.

But I still think it is funny Wiley Coyote moment for me.
posted by srboisvert at 2:27 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

I've broken both wrists, on separate occasions, neither particularly amusing.

However, the girl who lived two doors up from where I used to live was into horse riding and showjumping. Unfortunately one day she was standing too close to a skittish horse and got kicked in the stomach, causing some kind of internal injury, which luckily wasn't life-threatening. She's fine now. Anyway, later on the woman one door down in the other direction told her son what had happened and when she described the whole internal organ rupture thing to him, he passed out, fell over and broke his arm.
posted by permafrost at 2:45 AM on July 5, 2011 [17 favorites]

We had a treehouse, actually just a tree platform with a railing around it. The summer between 1st and 2nd grade, I decided to climb above the tree house. I was high enough to look down on the roof of the (modest 1 story) house. I was sitting on a dead limb, and the bark slipped, precipitating me onto the driveway, head down in a puddle. My brothers thought I was dead. Broke both forearms. Started 2nd grade with two casts.

Some years later, I went bouldering with half a dozen guys, fell eight feet or so off a tricky overhang and broke one of the little bones in my right wrist. Another guy in the same group fell off the same move and broke his right elbow. Looking back on it later, we couldn't remember which of us was the brave but foolish climber and which one was the complete moron who watched the other one fall off and then tried the same move without roping up.
posted by Bruce H. at 3:13 AM on July 5, 2011

I have a couple of fingers that are permanently wonky because when I broke them being a spazz, the doctor set them and then said "DO NOT USE THESE FINGERS FOR 6 WEEKS" (or however long it was). But I really loved me some pinball, and it was my left flipper fingers that I wasn't supposed to use. Stupid 20yo russm.
posted by russm at 3:35 AM on July 5, 2011

Ayn Rand and God: ...and making up Gods to curse.

I am so stealing this.
posted by likeso at 3:51 AM on July 5, 2011

In my old house, we had a staircase that had about three steps up then sharply turned left (so that corner step was weirdly small and you had to remember to position your foot just right or you'd miss it) and ten more steps to the top. Living with a 7, 5 and 1 year old at the time, besides dressing up the cats for tea parties, their favorite "driving mommy crazy" activity was leaving all their crap on the stairs.

I was upstairs one morning, and the UPS guy rang the doorbell (with my awesome new hiking boots), so I did my usual quick scan of the stairs to see if there were any action toys or kitty dresses or such nonsense I'd need to skip over to run down the stairs and open the door. Noting a broken Barbie leg on the third step down, I made a mental plan to step over it and...


I hopped over that step with the Barbie leg, caught the next step awkwardly, barely made it to the next step (the whole time thinking, "No, no, no!!!"), got my feet right on the seventh step down, but because I was flying down the stairs, I didn't remember to place my foot in the correct position for teeny-corner-stair and landed only the edge. I then completely rolled my right ankle a perfect 90 degrees where it made a satisfying SNAP before I fell on to the hallway floor, in complete vomity-white-hot searing pain.

I'm a city girl; I should have known that hiking would never work for me.
posted by kinetic at 4:07 AM on July 5, 2011

Wow, so you're being paid to fuck with your boss? How excellent.

"Hey, mathowie. You know who else fractured their scaphoid?"

Also, from your description, I picture it being like one of those old-timey silent movies. Matt goes on this long bike right fraught with peril, escapes the various Paperboy-esque obstacles, only to come home, pull into his garage, and then just summarily fall over. The End.

Might be funnier if you imagine this all on a pennyfarthing.
posted by Eideteker at 4:09 AM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

lol clipless pedals
posted by ryanrs at 4:50 AM on July 5, 2011

A remarkable percentage of broken bone stories (including mine) are just plain embarrassing. I broke a bone in my foot when I tripped on clean laundry next to my clothes dryer.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:58 AM on July 5, 2011

rmd1023, absolutely. I've done some adventurous things and participated in some extreme sports... but the only broken bones I've suffered were in my toes. Stubbed on chair legs.
posted by likeso at 5:05 AM on July 5, 2011

My wife broke her finger playing volleyball. They were using a NERF volleyball. I'm not kidding.
posted by COD at 5:41 AM on July 5, 2011

Clipless pedals are this thing that's a tribal marker for "serious" cyclists, and the only real advantage I see to them are horrific injuries in situations where you'd simply, oh, I dunno, put your foot on the pavement to keep from falling over.

Sheldon sez the "up-pull" advantage is illusory. Go back to platforms with powerstraps. Unleash the inner-Fred. Your scaphoids will thank you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:02 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Clipless pedals are this thing that's a tribal marker for "serious" cyclists, and the only real advantage I see to them are horrific injuries in situations where you'd simply, oh, I dunno, put your foot on the pavement to keep from falling over.

For some reason, I've never had that problem. When I first went clipless, on the rare occasions when I forgot to un-clip, it happened automatically anyway as a result of trying to put my foot down. Maybe SPD pedals are a little easier in that regard than some others?

Actually, that's not quite true. They do indeed interfere with putting a foot down behind you if you try to do a wheelie and start to go over backwards. Not that I would ever try to do something silly like that, of course.
posted by FishBike at 6:10 AM on July 5, 2011

Just so everyone is aware, a Pintern is a small shore bird known for picking up shiny things left on the beach. They are also famous for being able to achieve enough speed while flying to crap horizontally in order to get shit in your ear while you're walking. Literally, IN your ear, I'm not kidding.

In Merry England, it is also a decorative design, as for wallpaper, china, or textile fabrics, etc.

I'll not define "Dom" as this is a family site.
posted by tomswift at 6:10 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have never broken a bone in my body. Envy me, you frail mortals!
posted by Think_Long at 6:12 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Broke my thumb after getting drunk in Southern Italy with the Sicilian guy I was working with. We unsuccessfully tried to negotiate the door to our rooms in the hotel and my thumb got in the way of him trying to throw himself through the corridor door.
I felt nothing until 5 hours later when I woke up with my thumb throbbing and 5 times it's normal size. Italian doctors rock, so all I have left to remind me is a line through my thumb nail.

Get well soon Matt!
posted by arcticseal at 6:21 AM on July 5, 2011

I will personally contribute $5 to the intern if I never have to see the word "pintern" again.
posted by Etrigan at 6:22 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh man, Dom, you are gonna get fired for chatfilter. (I kid.)

The only time I ever fractured anything: I was walking along like any normal person, stepped on the edge of a sidewalk, rolled my ankle, and somehow cracked my tibia. For the next eight weeks, I had to put up with people asking what happened, and then rolling their eyes and saying, "you really need to come up with a more interesting story than that."

Also, when they say "don't get your cast wet," they mean it. I suffered no serious adverse effects, save for a deathly stench that I could not escape.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:26 AM on July 5, 2011

poor pintern, his first MeTa post and he had no idea what he was in for.
posted by Think_Long at 6:26 AM on July 5, 2011

Yesterday, I switched my Kona Ute to clipless pedals1, because I somehow fell into the habit of taking it on 50-150km rides a few times a week (I can't afford a road/touring bike). It's a nice day today, I'm gonna do a nice 50, hopefully learn what the pedals are like. Now I am super-worried about breaking myself on my ride. Or after it.

No stories from me, yet. Heal well, Matt!

1. Actually they're dual-use pedals, so that the other side of the pedal is 'standard' for my normal city biking. I really need another bike.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:46 AM on July 5, 2011

I am fortunate in that all the major blows to my body have been absorbed by my very thick skull. Matt, sorry you won the Contador award in the Tour de Garagé. Heal up, quick-like.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:03 AM on July 5, 2011

Ha, the Ute is nice, I accidentally toppled one in a bike shop last week.

I get to see a real orthopedic surgeon today so I'll know more later, but this was really a dumb crash. I've ridden SPD/clipless pedals for 15 years and only crashed maybe twice because I couldn't get out of them.

It was a new bike, I hadn't adjusted the pedals where I like (usually almost all the way loose on releasing) and I was goofing around at the end of a ride. Falling from about five feet up to hard concrete was problematic and I remember thinking in the instant that it was happening that it probably wasn't good to break my fall with my hand so I let my arm buckle and took the rest of it on my knee.

Yesterday someone said if I get a cast my summer is ruined, just as if I was a kid, and I thought that was silly until I remembered that yeah we had plans for a trip to the beach, a new waterpark opened nearby, I'm going to Australia and hoping to swim at the Great Barrier Reef again, and I'd like to ride my bike and sweat my butt off all summer and those things might all be up in the air if I'm in a stupid cast for the next few months. Here's hoping we can do something less drastic (or more drastic, as I've heard about screwing the wrist bones together is an option in lieu of a cast).
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:05 AM on July 5, 2011

Uh, the only funny fracture story I have is that I still don't know how I broke something in my arm.

Please take care of yourself, mathowie. A friend did not when he had a scaphoid fracture (kept using the damn thing while ignoring physical therapy) and that did not lead to good conclusions.
posted by adipocere at 7:13 AM on July 5, 2011

Lemurrhea, ou want to practice the release on those pedals. Practice it a lot while sitting still and holding onto a post. Leaning on a wall instead of holding onto a post led me to my first experience of being unable to release my first set of clipless pedals - I was practicing releasing the one on the wall side, managed to tip the bike away from the wall, and was then unable to release the pedal on the other side before coming down in a heap.

The wall in question belonged to the bicycle shop. I felt like such a clueless noob. Didn't break anything, though.

And wet tramlines are indeed bastard things. I also came to grief on one while happily riding home at the end of an excellent evening out; didn't break any bones, but fell heavily on the huge bunch of keys in my left front pants pocket, driving them hard into my hip. Hurt a lot. Swore a lot.

After being narrowly missed and getting yelled at by the taxi behind me, picked up self and bicycle and continued riding home before too much stiffness set in. I was in a state of complete tram line fear, and when I found myself needing to cross another set to take a veering right turn, very carefully jinked across them early - only to realize far too late that the road I was turning onto also had tram lines, and that I'd oh so carefully set myself up to meet a pair of slick wet rails converging before they crossed.

There was an utterly horrid slo-mo inevitability about the way the bike went over again, smashing the same bunch of keys into the exact same spot as before. Christ it hurt.

Rode home and slept. On waking the next day, found a lump like half a good-sized grapefruit sticking out from the injured hip. Couldn't walk at all for two weeks.

That was twenty years ago, and I still have a puckered little dent marking the spot where everything between skin and hipbone got mashed into scar tissue.
posted by flabdablet at 7:22 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I broke my fibula in the field doing a survey in a national park - the trail crossing a stream, getting my foot wedged between two rocks, and falling over. It was October in Arkansas, and the stream was cold, which was a good thing as it kept the swelling down. It took about 6 hours for the three others in the crew to get me out of there. I barely remember any of it, but I still have the stick they carried me out on, with all their signatures on it. It sounds bad, but that broken bone netted me a permanent lab job (a dream job for me at the time) and a live-in boyfriend-later-husband. It was a pretty decent trade!
posted by gemmy at 7:25 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've never broken any bones.

But once when I was about 9, some friends and I were passing time after a Cub Scouts meeting (while our parents sat around talking) by throwing a tennis ball against a wall. My friend Justin got an especially hard throw, tried to do some weird gymnastic move to look impressive, ended up stepping on the ball and having his legs thrown way up and out over his head, and fell hard on his shoulder.

I had just learned what a collarbone was a couple days before, so while my other friends when to get our parents and Justin writhed around on the floor, I tried to comfort him by looking at his shoulder intently and saying "I think you broke your collarbone". I don't know whether he even heard me.

They drove him to the ER and the next time I saw him he was in a big cast from neck to elbow. His parents said the doctor told them that he broke his collarbone. And I spent the next couple months convinced that I was an X-Man.

I knew I hadn't actually known that his collarbone was broken, I couldn't see into his body or anything. So I decided I must be able to communicate with the future sometimes. That was my mutant power, and I was going to have to start working immediately if I was going to use it to save the world. It was a very serious time for me.

But eventually I gave up and went back to video games or whatever, I don't really remember.
posted by penduluum at 7:31 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]

This one time, I was showboating on an unregulated golf cart, buzzing along and whipping around on the damp grass by the hole #9 green when the tires caught on a hose and the whole thing flipped and tossed me out and I broke my tailbone. In front of my buddy. That was like 12 years ago now, but I still feel it whenever I'm sitting for more than a couple of hours.
posted by kingbenny at 7:47 AM on July 5, 2011

My grade school was one of those smallish, single-story buildings that was built into the side of a hill. All of the classrooms had two entrances, the outside entrance leading to a raised sidewalk/walkway with metal railings that encircled the building. This is all relevant.

So, picture me as a six year old, cute as a goddamned button in a pink dress, leaving my kindergarten class. Because it is near the end of the school year my arms are full of kindergarten work - an illustrated guide to Baa Baa Black Sheep; my name written in glitter glue on a piece of construction paper. I am going to meet my dad in the parking lot. BAM! I am hit from behind by a kid on a bicycle. Papers go flying. He manages to run me over before falling over himself, leaving his bike on top of me. I am a hysterical mess on the sidewalk. I think there is blood. My father, concerned that I am not at the car, comes to find me. He pulls me through the wide spaces of the railing and carries me to the truck.

School is only a few minutes from home so my dad stops to tell my mom that he's taking me to the hospital, because it looks like my leg is probably broken (he is right). There are painful x-rays (broke both bones, woot) and then I am in a hospital bed being anesthetized so they can set it. I wake up alone with a very heavy cast from toe to knee. Later on at home the neighborhood kids bring me presents: pencils and notepads and other things that look like they have been gathered in haste. The school principle calls and apologizes. I throw up from the anesthetic.

I spend the rest of the summer indoors and on crutches, driving my mother crazy. I still have a scar on my ankle.
posted by janepanic at 7:54 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is not a funny story, but it is a story.

When I was fourteen, a friend and I were in a tennis court on rollerblades, waiting for some more friends to arrive so we could have a game of street hockey. It was early fall around 8:00 at night. We were just hitting the puck back and forth when four older kids came in. One of them had a fish hooked on a line that he was dragging along the ground. I know nothing about fish but it was large enough to be a meal or possibly even a wall trophy. He pulled it through a puddle, encouraging it to swim, which elicited giggles from his buddies.

It was obvious they were high, but we didn't know what to make of their intentions. They were joking with us, but were they sincere? One of them stood by the only passage into the fenced-in court; was he blocking our exit or just standing idle? It wasn't long before we found out. Out-manned and on skates, we didn't stand a chance. They pummeled us for a few minutes and then left.

For the most part, we only suffered cuts and bruises. However, when one of the attackers--a high school sophomore with the physique of Lou Ferrigno--had me against the fence, he broke my nose. Once the police and paramedics arrived, I was taken to the hospital, anesthetized and patched up.

The worst was to come a few weeks later, however. See, the only way to immobilize a nose while the bones heal is to pack the nasal cavity with a pillow's-worth of cotton batting. I was unconscious when they put it in, but I was to be awake for the removal.

"Just to caution you," the doctor said, looking levelly into my eyes, "most people vomit during this procedure." I wasn't in a hospital but a doctor's office. With its copier and filing cabinets, the room had the odd feel of any other office, as if my doctor could just as easily be a real estate appraiser or a CPA.

A nurse came in bearing two instruments: a pair of gleaming forceps and a kidney-shaped, kidney-colored, plastic bowl. The three of us--the doctor, the nurse and I--then performed one action each. The doctor used the forceps to pinch the packing in my nose, which he removed with a violent yank. The nurse held the bowl up to my chin. And I fulfilled the doctor's earlier prophesy and vomited into the bowl. I had just eaten, and unfortunately for the nurse, the volume of the contents of my stomach was greater than the bowl's capacity. She scowled at me when I was finished.

So there you go. Heal up, Number One. And don't ever get your nose broken unless you plan on being in a coma for the next six to eight weeks.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 8:01 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

My only broken bone was pretty lame (stubbed toe on furniture, broke toe, furniture survived), so I propose something else: a song-writing contest in honor of broken bones and/or bikes, posted to Music, winner to be interviewed on the podcast. Or maybe a poetry contest, or short stories or whatever else we like to do around here.

May the best bard win.
posted by Quietgal at 8:06 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry to hear about Matt's owie. I hope he's better soon.
posted by Maisie at 8:16 AM on July 5, 2011 [13 favorites]

I was at a friend's house for a movie night and we were all in the kitchen getting wine before heading to her media room basement. It's key here that we had NOT YET STARTED DRINKING. I was going down the stairs, which I'd been down 100 times before, and managed to miss a step in such a fashion that my legs flew out in front of me and my butt went RIGHT down on the steps, Stooges style, while my arms flew up and over my head, flinging my wine everywhere. I bounced down the rest of the stairs on my ass. The wine glass arrived at the bottom of the stairs still in my hand, intact.

"OH MY GOD ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?" everyone cried in alarm.


I stayed for the rest of the evening, dulling my bruised-butt pain with wine, but the next day I was in such excruciating pain I had to go to the doctor. Yep, broke my tailbone. My only broken bone ever AND the only time I have ever, ever spilled my liquor. (I swear.)

My husband broke his collarbone a couple of years back when he was the loser in a pickup-vs.-bicycle hit-and-run while biking to work. That was NOT funny, especially as he could not lift our toddler for six weeks, and his helmet was scary dented and he had road rash and impressive bruising from head to toe. But what WAS funny was that this happened LITERALLY IN FRONT OF THE ENTRANCE TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM and two ER nurses rushed out to pick him up and urged him to come inside because he was in terrible shape, but instead he decided to limp the remaining five blocks to his office, attempt to clean up his many abrasions himself while his shoulder dangled oddly, and then call me on the phone because he needed me to come pick him up and take him to the doctor because he could no longer walk that far.

If you have a serious accident in front of the emergency room door, it is because God wants you to go to the emergency room.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:19 AM on July 5, 2011 [11 favorites]

As far as I know, I've never broken one of my own bones. But around this time last year, we had a fairly bad power-outage that required me to run extension cords from my generator to some saltwater fish-tanks (nothing like having pets on perpetual life support), And while paying way too much attention to making sure the cords wouldn't get damaged by being closed in my extra heavy, security-conscious door, I neglected to notice that my thumb was still in line with the door frame as I slammed it shut.

I didn't scream.

I'd like to say that this was to to my credit, but the pain was so bad and so sudden that my body simply went "What was that?!" and shut down all higher functions except to make sure my thumb was still on my body and the rest of the world was staying the fuck away from it for a few minutes.

To be honest, I have no idea how I didn't break the bone. I think I just got amazingly lucky.

Once my body reclaimed the ability to articulate its feelings, it screamed "FUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK!" in the privacy of my head for about 10 minutes.
posted by quin at 8:24 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm not entirely sure, but I probably fractured my toe once when I was stage managing a production of Hamlet. We were just finishing up a rehearsal; most of the cast had scattered either to the lobby, the dressing rooms, or elsewhere in the theater. I was cleaning things up, and was bringing the three prop swords to the locker we used for storage in the back of the theater. As I unlocked the door, I held all the swords by the blades in my left hand.

Now -- because they were prop swords, they were dull blades. But they were still made of metal. And thus they were heavy. And I was holding them by the blades like they were a cluster of upside-down roses or something. But -- one of the swords was loose in my grasp, and the weight of it pulled it down out of my grasp. And it landed with its full weight directly on my big toe.

That moment was the first time that anyone in that cast had ever heard me say the word "fuck." And conveniently, it was the moment that everyone in the cast all at once heard me say "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKK!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2011

My former boss said that once, on getting a shock from the output stage of a valve-based SSB radio transmitter he was working on.

The thing about SSB is that the output power is directly proportional to the audio input. And the microphone was on. So what he actually said was more like FuuUUUUAAAAAAAAHHHHH!
posted by flabdablet at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Matt, didja choke on a pretzel & black out briefly? Get attacked by a ferocious killer wabbit? Or was it some kind of new-custom-bike-bliss that overpowered you? In any case, Numero Uno, please be careful, and heal well.

I have not yet broken a bone, mine or anyone else's. My story about closing a finger in the car door is short: owwww.
posted by theora55 at 8:45 AM on July 5, 2011

Here is (what I consider to be) a genuinely funny fracture story:

A friend of mine (honest to god, this was not me) once had a job that was quite undemanding. Make that very undemanding. He worked out that he could do all the work in two hours a day and still be just above most of his co-workers, performancewise. So, what was he going to do to fill in all the free time? He started off by reading Project Gutenberg books. Then he bought a scanner and started scanning books into his computer at home, pasting the text into Word documents and reading them.

Thing is, he was living in a university town, and although he'd never much enjoyed lectures as a student, he was now starting to like the idea. He calculated that, because of where his desk was and because of his meeting schedule, he could walk into work, sit at his desk for an hour, walk out and cycle to a lecture, cycle back, and return to his desk, and nobody would realise that he hadn't just been there all along. He attended half of a lecture series on existentialism like this.

It was on the cycle out to one of these lectures that the Bad Thing happened. Here my powers of description fail me, because I am not a cyclist and so am unable to fill the detail in convincingly. A car did something unexpected, control of the cycle was lost, and my friend fell headlong off the bike. Immediately he felt a searing pain in his wrist, and a searing 'OH FUCKFUCKFUCK' in his brain.

Somehow he picked himself up, wheeled the bicycle back to the office one-handed, walked to his desk, and waited there for about ten minutes. Then he walked out and stood by the water cooler (or some such office feature) for a bit until someone came up to it. He said, with an attempt at nonchalance, "You know, I'm really beginning to think I might have really injured this wrist. I thought it was fine when I fell of my bicycle on the way to work, but it sure does hurt."

He got quite the rep as a Brave Spartan after that. Sometimes karma tries to bite you, and instead you bite it right back.
posted by Acheman at 8:53 AM on July 5, 2011 [8 favorites]

As an 8 year old, I broke my tibia near the ankle in a playground accident, a few blocks from home. But it took me a couple hours, hopping on the good leg, and resting, to get home after I did it. When I got home, I was the only one there, for another hour or so, when my Dad came home early from work. He'd been called by Mother, who had to take my kid brother to the hospital with severe abdominal pains, after he'd been sick all the night before.

Dad was upset I'd broken my leg, but he took me straight to the same hospital's ER, and they proceeded to set it, cast it, and give me some Anacins for the pain. All this took a couple hours, and by then, my Dad had found my Mother, who told him they'd taken my kid brother in for an emergency appendectomy, and that he was in the recovery room, coming out from under anesthesia. But my Dad didn't tell me any of that, just that my Mother had brought my brother to that hospital earlier.

So, after I was all done with the cast, my Dad wheeled me up to my brother's room, and by that time, my brother was in there with my Mom. So, my Dad wheels me up to the head end of my brother's bed, and brother says, weakly, with my elevated cast leg nearly in his face, "What happened to you?"

And all I could think to say was "What happened to you?"

Which seemed funny, for some reason, to both Mom and Dad.
posted by paulsc at 8:53 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

mathowie, last week I posted an AskMe about what I can do now to make life easier while I recuperate from upcoming surgery on my right (dominant) rotator cuff. I've got to hand it everyone, I got some great advice, and now I'm armed with very practical tips. Just remember, you don't need to shoulder the burden all by yourself: Forewarned is forearmed.

Feel better soon!
posted by Room 641-A at 9:00 AM on July 5, 2011

I am the MetaFilter pintern (paid intern)

I am just so relieved to learn this doesn't mean "Pinteresque intern."


posted by FelliniBlank at 9:00 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why do they called them clipless pedals when you're pretty clearly clipped into them? Or are they an improvement over an older style of pedals that were actual clips? *imagines giant clothespins or chipclips holding people's feet to the pedals*

Oh, and I've only ever broken one finger. It was awesome wearing a splint on my middle finger for a few months in school. It was like Craig on South Park (did you just flip me the bird?). Sadly, I can't do my usual joke when people talk about broken bones in an online medium. "I've only ever broken one bone. This one!" Hyuk, hyuk.

mathowie, you have my permission to flip as many people the bird with the goofiest expression on your face that you can muster, for the rest of the summer. If anyone has issue, just point them at my mefi userpage and tell them, "e-mail's in profile."

Also, I typoed that as mathowei. Who is totally the Chinese philosopher who runs the .cn equivalent of MetaFilter. "If you meet the Buddha, do not post about it, because that would be a self-link."
posted by Eideteker at 9:09 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why do they called them clipless pedals when you're pretty clearly clipped into them? Or are they an improvement over an older style of pedals that were actual clips?

Yup! Picture the pedals with a strap going over the foot when you're pedaling. That strap is attached via clip, generally a toe clip at the front of the pedal that keeps your foot from slipping forward. That system uses a clip. When you switch to just a cleat & shoeplate, you've removed the clip. Hence, clipless.

But yes. It's a stupid naming system in my book.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:15 AM on July 5, 2011

I once injured my tailbone too, Eyebrows. I was working as a waitress and wiped out spectacularly on a just-mopped floor. I finished my shift and somehow managed to drive home, but after that I couldn't stand or sit, and lying down was pretty bad too.

I didn't go to the hospital, so I doubt I broke it, but for the next six months I had the superpower of predicting storms with my butt.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:21 AM on July 5, 2011

The only bone I've ever broken is my collarbone. I was about six-ish and sitting on the bed with my sister playing a card game. The last thing I remember is her telling me yet again to "SCOOT BACK!" Apparently, I did, and went over backwards onto the concrete floor. No cast, thank god, just some elastic stretchy thing I had to wear for a while.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2011

Right at the start of the summer after sixth grade, I led a couple of neighborhood/family-friend kids on a bike ride up Mt. Tabor, as a sort of daycare chaperone (since we were way too close in age for me to be, you know, "babysitting"). We had a great time, nice long morning ride around that little volcano, beautiful warm blue-sky summer day.

On the way back down, with a little time left to kill before whatever it was we had to do, we decided to take a detour down a side street and into some sprinklers, to cool off. Which was great, flying along at downhill speed with a dusting of cool water on our faces and arms and legs. And shoes and pedals. I went to put my foot down to start powering along again, and my wet right shoe slipped right off the front of my wet right pedal and wedged itself between my front wheel and the frame.

Full stop, up and over the handle bars with mouth meeting medal along the way, all of it in slow motion for the first half of the moment and then blurry and black for the second half. On the ground, I got shakily up, looked around as my charges pulled up and freaked out. Told them to ride the last couple blocks to my house and get my older sister. We found a chip of my left front tooth on the sidewalk, and I had some pretty miserable bruises and scrapes for the next couple weeks, but the real damage was a fracture to the long bone of my right pinky, which got me a splint and wrap deal for the next two months and left my right pinky just a little bit stupid and twitchy ever since.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2011

In kindergarten, I was stuck sitting behind a very tall person at my sister's spring band concert. I sat on my knees, the chair (folding) closed on me, and I toppled forward. I reached out with both hands to catch myself, and promptly broke my wrist. We still have the band tape. It's pretty funny--a half hour or so of fifth graders playing an off-key rendition of Claire de Lune, and then a high-pitched, wailing screeeeam.

I was put in a pink cast up to my armpit for six weeks, but the band played on.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

I broke my right index finger (technical term used by the doctor when she thought I was a teenage mother, as my significantly younger sister was trailing me in the hospital, was "shmushed", recast as "broken into multiple fragments" when my sister said I wasn't her mother) and had to have surgery to repair it. I am, perhaps, not overly tolerant to pain, and was not at all looking forward to the surgery which required general anaesthetic, and the OR was very cold, so between the anxiety and the pain and the cold, the anaesthesiologist could not find any veins. (She was just looking, not poking around my arms with needles.) While she tried to warm my hand up, she also tried to make conversation with me.

"Are you scared about the surgery?"
"What are you scared of?"
As I was about to answer that I was scared I would wake up in the middle of the operation and be in pain, she interrupted me.
"Are you scared you aren't going to wake up from the surgery?"

posted by jeather at 9:41 AM on July 5, 2011 [14 favorites]

So really, they should call them strapless pedals?
posted by Eideteker at 10:03 AM on July 5, 2011

Just remember, you don't need to shoulder the burden all by yourself: Forewarned is forearmed.

Knock that off, or the long arm of the law will feel your collar.
posted by flabdablet at 10:04 AM on July 5, 2011

So really, they should call them strapless pedals?

No, because before you could buy the cleated shoes and matching pedals, you could buy strapless toe clips.
posted by flabdablet at 10:09 AM on July 5, 2011

At 63 I'm probably the oldest person here to be able to claim that I broke my wrist skateboarding.

In 1965 the only skate boards available were about 2 feet long, 8 inches wide, were made of 1.5 inch thick hardwood and had, get this, metal wheels!

I was living in Jackson, Michigan, the home of the Cascades, a rather elaborate, man made waterfall (go see it if you get a chance, at night it's all colored lights, falls, and fountains). On the back of the hill was the area Soap Box Derby track, about 150 yards long, at a pretty steep angle.

Bob Clem and I decided to go ride the hill. We loaded two of us and two boards onto my Honda 50 and headed for the hill about three miles from our neighborhood.

There was really only one reasonable way to go down that hill, a gentle sweeping back and forth... we were 16, reasonable was not really our mode of operation.

When we arrived there were two or three other people with Boards already there and the dares start pretty quick on that hill. Eventually someone suggested that we just go straight down the hill.

I went first. With a 45 degree angle to the hill, speed builds up pretty quick, at about 50 yards down I would figure I was doing about 35 miles an hour, which doesn't seem like much, unless you're on 24 inches of wood with tiny metal wheels.

Here are the three things you should remember if you find yourself in this situation. 1. Once a small board starts to wobble, it will only wobble more. 2. at 35 miles an hour, you will probably not be able to turn a board with metal wheels. 3. The only brakes you have to slow down your speed are built with either the fabric of your clothes or your skin.

I lost it as the wobble got out of control, finally jumping off the board, thinking I was just going to run. My ability to move my legs at speed did that equal moving them at 35 miles per hour. I hit the ground, took most of the force on my right hand.

Bob had to ride the bike home, I couldn't bend my wrist enough to turn the throttle. A trip to the Doctor, then to the hospital, then home with a plaster cast up to my elbow.

The reason I'm relating this is to let Matt know that, even with a cast, life doesn't end. I found a way to rig the throttle on the Honda so I could still ride (pissed my Dr. off when I rode it to my follow-up appointments). I did, however, lay off skateboarding after that.
posted by tomswift at 10:13 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I seem to be surrounded by guys who ignore the obvious.

--My high school boyfriend slipped on the ice walking into school one morning, breaking his ankle. Like any self-respecting geek, he got back into the car (manual-transmission, early-80s Mustang -- blecch), drove home using his broken ankle on the clutch, and logged on to his BBS for an hour before calling someone for help.

--My dad flipped over the handlebars of his bike, slamming his (dominant) wrist. He ran a conference all morning while holding his hand in a pitcher of ice water. Later that afternoon, I called him for some unrelated reason and he told me what had happened, saying, "Geez, it's really swollen, and I can't move it." It took me a while to convince him to let me take him to Urgent Care, but we found out he'd broken his wrist in three places.

--By the time he was 17, my fiance's knee already looked like a percentage sign from multiple breaks and surgeries. It didn't seem to help him remember what to do when he... okay, I can't remember which was which, but it was either falling off the porch or slipping on ice. Or both. At any rate, he somehow managed to get up from the front walk and up a flight of L-shaped stairs to his bedroom, where he waited for the emergency crew. Of course, not only did it hurt like hell to get up there, it made it impossible for the crew to bring a stretcher up, so I think they had to use a lawn chair.
posted by Madamina at 10:19 AM on July 5, 2011

I'm still disappointed that the one time I break a bone, not counting toes, I didn't get a cast. I was eight years old and climbing a neighbour's tree with my younger brother and the neighbour's kids. I somehow slipped off the branch I was on, but managed to wrap my arms around it. It was a California Pepper tree with very rough bark. The inner part of my left arm was scraped up enough to look like hamburger. My left arm is also the arm I landed on and broke. My arm was wrapped in enough bandages to give a mummy a run for his money, but because of the wounds I was unable to have it in a cast.
posted by deborah at 10:23 AM on July 5, 2011

See, I don't think of those as clips. They're more like sockets you can slide your feet into. You're not clipped to anything, the way you're clipped to clipless pedals.

It's like having a tiny metal horseshoe that you slide paper into, and calling that a paperclip. Well, no, without any force done on the paper, it's not really clipped. Clipped to me suggests a need to do mechanical work to unclip. Moreso than just "gravity". You don't even "unclip" those pedals so much as slide out.

So yes, it's a silly name. Someone should make one of those extranorml videos taking down the entire industry in a sort of smug and self-satisfying way that actually changes nothing at all.
posted by Eideteker at 10:29 AM on July 5, 2011

When I was about five years old, my aunt thought it would be fun to give me a "rocket ride." You remember those? One person lies on their back with their legs pulled back to their chest, someone else lies on their back on that person's feet, and the lying person then pushes them into the air? Well, no one told me what the heck was supposed to happen to bring this little event to a safe resolution. I went flying through the air, and instead of trying to land on my feet, I landed on my back, and my arm smacked the ground. Yeah, it broke. Huge family event with a lot of people looking on.

Later on, my aunt brought a gift over to me (a tree, it was pretty cool). And me, as a matter-of-fact five-year-old, I thought it would be good to tell my aunt that she was the one who broke my arm, simply as a point of discussion, in case there was any doubt about it. Yeah, she cried. I really do understand my daughter better now, though, when the other day I tried to console her by telling her that I loved her, and her response was, "I love mama!" Sometimes five-year-olds just say what's on their mind.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:29 AM on July 5, 2011

"My high school boyfriend slipped on the ice walking into school one morning, breaking his ankle. Like any self-respecting geek, he got back into the car (manual-transmission, early-80s Mustang -- blecch), drove home using his broken ankle on the clutch, and logged on to his BBS for an hour before calling someone for help."

Well, to be fair, he'd already put ice on it.
posted by Eideteker at 10:30 AM on July 5, 2011

When I was about 14 my mother made me polish the hardwood floor. I didn't like the stuff that she gave me to use and decided that aerosol furniture polish was a better idea. That of course made the floor slicker than a hockey rink.

You think I'm going to say that I fell and broke something. You're wrong. I took my shoes off and made our English Setter run across the floor while he towed me by his tail. He decided to bolt upstairs and I smashed my foot into the base of the stairs, breaking the second toe on my right foot. Served me right.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:34 AM on July 5, 2011

Metafilter: a sort of smug and self-satisfying way that actually changes nothing at all.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:37 AM on July 5, 2011

Picture it: Sicily, 1948. No, wait, sophomore year, swim team practice.

We were doing warmups, and a friend of mine who was in my lane had just dunked me, so I was chasing after him to return the favor. I was in the lane next to the wall, and at the deep end drop off there was an o-ring to attach the Deep End Rope. I grabbed this to pull myself along faster, and my middle finger inadvertently went into the ring. I pulled vigorously... and then stopped just as suddenly, secured to the wall by a now grievously broken finger.

Two surgeries and a gnarly scar later, I'm fine. But I don't grab on to things in the water any more.
posted by norm at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2011

More importantly, I think you need to re-craft his story, so that the fall didn't occur in a garage, but rather on a treacherous part of a very steep slope ( possibly with ice and snow). He didn't fall, he threw himself off the bike to save a very fluffy bunny. Making the boss look good is an integral part of your job, isn't it?
posted by Ideefixe at 10:49 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: left my right pinky just a little bit stupid and twitchy ever since.
posted by Melismata at 10:49 AM on July 5, 2011

"But I don't grab on to things in the water any more."

takes all the fun out of bath time, eh?
posted by tomswift at 10:54 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ouch! It's the slo-mo falls that get you. Matt, you may be able to get in some light riding. I was able to ride with one foot in an immobilization boot one winter after I got a stress fracture in one foot. You'll just have to see if you can put any weight on that arm at all.

Previously: I once broke my toe on my boyfriend. I accidentally kicked his foot (hard leather shoe) with my foot (barely-there sandal) while waiting for a bus. While it was sore at the time, I could walk, so we went off to the double feature anyway. But by the time My Beautiful Laundrette was half over, my foot was throbbing and I had to prop it up on my boyfriend's thigh so it would hurt less. I still remember barely being able to see Daniel Day-Lewis on the screen because my foot was in the way. Yes, it was my left foot, too.
posted by maudlin at 11:09 AM on July 5, 2011

While I was recovering from a neck fracture in high school, I had to wear what I called a "marshmallow"--this flexible but firm pillowy white collar that restricts neck movement. One weekend during this time, I had gone to the mall with a friend. We lived in a rural area, so going to the nearest mall was a rare thing, and a big deal that took lots of driving. We had been fighting on the way, about something stupid I'm sure, so that by the time we got there I was in a terrible mood, bitter and impatient about everything. And I hated that marshmallow--it looked so, so stupid and I was trying to be a cool teenage person.

When we parked the car and were getting ready to head in, I accidentally dropped something on the floorboard behind my seat. This was a small convertible, so if you wanted to even look back there you had to put the front seat forward. So I picked up my thing and in my haste and annoyance, flipped the seat back before I was able to get my stupid marshmallowy self out of the way. The impressively firm headrest hit me across the nose with a sickening crack I have never forgotten. Just to clarify, I did this absurdly stupid thing to myself and had to explain it to people later, including my friend who was like 8 feet away at the time.

So now I'm going into the mall, doubly pissed off, with blood streaming down from my nose, looking even more conspicuous since it got all over the marshmallow. I wish there was a good punchline for the end of this story. I'm afraid it sort of ended with me stomping angrily through the Sears, looking for their bathroom, leaving a trail of blood, and yelling at people who stared at me.
posted by heatvision at 11:13 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

My first broken bones were the result of a white water rafting accident on a river run that ended in a class five waterfall. We managed the preceding miles of class four rapids just fine. We managed the waterfall just fine. During takeout, someone hauled the raft up just as I was getting out of the raft, and one of my feet was trapped between two rocks as I was dragged alongside the raft. It was six months before I could walk on that foot without pain.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:17 AM on July 5, 2011

I broke my finger by jamming it on someone else's hand. I broke a bone in my foot by stepping on my shoe when I was in a hurry to get somewhere. All of my bone-breaking has been sad and pathetic.
posted by lookoutbelow at 11:17 AM on July 5, 2011

My daughter broke a bone in her foot skipping down the hall at school last year.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:34 AM on July 5, 2011

I got hit by a police car while crossing the street in Rome and broke a leg. The subsequent week in hospital did wonders for my Italian.

Right after I got hit, you'd think I could have done something useful like pass out, but no: I was translating between my non-Italian-speaking mother, the various bystanders, and the driver who'd hit me (a really nice guy named Renato, who felt bad about it) all the while looking at my foot, which was definitely not supposed to be sticking out at that angle.

The hospital where I was first taken (a former convent, still full of nuns) had a sprig of rosemary taped to the wall of the X-ray room. Old superstitions die hard.

They felt strongly about not cutting off my leather trousers, and instead painstakingly removed them. Afterwards a nun said to my mother, with a nod at me, "Lei è brava."

The X-ray technician asked what I did. When I said I was a singer, he said "Io sono tenore!" His name was Gaetano, and he sang me some Donizetti.

After an operation in Rome I got flown back to the US. It was the first and only time I've flown first class, and I was too nauseous to appreciate the food and on too many drugs to drink any booze.

When I got to the orthopedist in DC, the nurse there (ex-Army) took a look at my incisions, stitched shut with black thread. He said "Wow... I've only ever seen silk used to close skin on cadavers."

That's my only broken bone so far. I really hope not to break another one.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:37 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Many years ago, when I was still a fairly resilient young'un, I was spending the evening with a few friends, at a fairly nice apartment complex that had a gigantic pool and hot tub. One was a big guy, built rather like a hockey player, who (being that we don't have ice here) had taken to rollerblades like he'd been born with them strapped to his feet. The other was a girl, small and clumsy in the way that means you're somewhat uncomfortable in her own body. Guy had decided, for reasons I will never understand, to teach Girl how to skate.

Having been through the same procedure earlier and escaping without injury, I wisely said "Screw that noise," and went to go sit by the pool. I kept an eye on the two in skates and shouted encouragement or snark as necessary. Everything was going fine until Girl decided she was done skating, and wanted to get to the deck chairs so that she could sit down and remove her skates.

The concrete pathway leading from parking lot to pool was on just enough of an incline that Girl, who really had no idea what the hell she was doing, lost control of her motion. She slid downhill towards me in slow motion, panicking and flailing, "oh God oh God oh no oh God."

I did the heroic thing and ran up to catch her. What I did not see was that, behind us, Guy was also doing the heroic thing and skating up to catch her. We sandwiched together in a glorious Three Stooges pileup, and in the scuffle Guy's skate, holding all 200+ pounds of him, went crushingly over the long bones in my foot right behind the toe joints. Somehow nobody fell over, but I howled my way to a deck chair and worked my sneaker off.

Since I could still walk, I didn't think much of it. The foot was bruised black and purple for a few weeks after, and I was limping for a week or so, and even now when I press down on that foot there's a noticeable dent. I probably broke, or fractured, something. I have no idea. It doesn't hurt anymore, anyway - this is a good ten years later. Maybe someday I'll have it x-rayed for fun and see what happened in there.

The moral of the story is: stay the fuck away from people on skates who don't know what they are doing. Doubly so if you're wearing Converse All-Stars.
posted by cmyk at 11:37 AM on July 5, 2011

Not my story, but does teach a valuable lesson:

I worked in the student machine shop at college, and the instructor in charge told several tales at the beginning of each semester to the freshman to scare them into not maiming themselves on the machines. He tells one story about a semester awhile back, first day of class, and he's doing his schtick and telling the students not to be idiots. As he's scanning the group of kids, he sees one guy roll his eyes up into his head and fall over backwards. Cracked his head on a lathe, blood everywhere. He sends one of the TAs to go call for an ambulance.

As he's dealing with the situation, he turns around to watch another student roll up her eyes and crumple into a ball on the floor. Seconds a second TA to go call another ambulance and fire department, as it now seems like there's a gas leak in the building. He pulls the fire alarm and evacuates the building.

What he later finds out is that the first guy to pass out had just arrived at school from an overnight international flight, on no sleep and no food. He had simply arrived at the airport and gone straight to class. He passed out from hunger or lack of sleep. The second woman had a very visceral reaction to the sight of all the blood, and passed out from that.

The lesson: eat your breakfast and avoid unnecessary building evacuations!
posted by backseatpilot at 12:07 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I broke my collarbone when I was three after my best friend at daycare pushed me off a picnic table onto asphalt. I was sitting next to her favorite teacher, and apparently she didn't like that. According to the daycare staff, I didn't cry at all but they noticed me favoring my left arm and called my parents. My only memory of the entire experience is getting x-rays at the hospital.

My little sister, who's 18, broke her collarbone two months ago. She was studying for her finals in our parents' dining room with a few friends and choked on a sip of water she'd just taken. She tried to run over to the sink to spit it out but halfway there had a vasovagal response and fainted. When she passed out she fell on her left arm and hit her head on the tile floor. She was diagnosed with a concussion and had to have surgery on her collarbone to have the fragments pinned back together.

I told her that the next time she chokes on a drink to just spit it out on the floor.
posted by mollywas at 12:27 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

In our households, Sucrets lozenges were used as "Mickey Mouse medicine". These were given for any injury at any time.

When I was around 6, my mom bought a hanging lampshade with silk fringe around the bottom. She left it on the couch for several days and I developed a fondness for running the fringe through my fingers.

She finally hung it up. I found myself missing the sensation within hours. After a day of resisting, I finally climbed onto a folding stool, stretched myself as far as I could go, and reached out for the fringe. Just after making contact, the stool over-balanced and my side connected with the chrome and glass coffee table the lamp was intended to spotlight.

The crash brought Mom and my best friend (Laura - her best friend's daughter, like a sister to me) running into the room. It was quickly determined I'd fractured at least one rib.

As Mom tried to figure out what to do, Laura came running in, wielding the tin of lozenges and saying, "quick! take a medicine!".

They were never used as the trusty cure-all ever again.
posted by batmonkey at 12:43 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I was 13 or 14 and a complete jerk I did something that got me sent to my room (I don't remember what it was, but it was a common occurrence in those days).

I decided that I wasn't going to put up with that kind of bullshit anymore and was going to take off for a while, so I climbed out my window on to the roof (which had 6 inches of snow on it) in my sneakers wearing just pants and a long-sleeve shirt and jumped off.

I broke my ankle when I landed, and since it was getting dark, we lived in the boondocks far from civilization, it was cold and I couldn't walk I was forced to hop to the front door and knock to be let back in.

Whereupon my parents let me in, listened to my story, tried not to laugh, took me to the ER to get patched up, then grounded me for 3 weeks.

In retrospect I got off lightly.
posted by dolface at 12:47 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

A few years ago, I was putting on my Telecaster guitar (a heavy variety), when the strap's connection to the base of it came loose. It fell, seemingly faster than gravity, or at least faster than my reflexes, directly on my foot, breaking several bones in it.

The ER doctor said I should have played the flute instead. I laughed hysterically, because of the Vicodin.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:54 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I was around 10, I was playing at the park with a neighbourhood friend. We were on the corkscrew slide and she insisted on going first. I was waiting but not seeing her come off the end, so I called down. She told me she was waiting and she'd say when she was off.

Her mother and sister appeared at the edge of the park, headed to the tennis court. I heard her call out to them and saw her wave. Not long after, she called out, "ready!" and I launched myself.

Next thing I knew, I was groggily struggling up from the ground at the side of the slide, no one around. I had no idea what had happened and couldn't shake the feeling of pins and needles in my right arm. I thought maybe I'd been stung by wasps (a prior adventure), so I rinsed my arm at the water fountain while looking around for the friend or her family.

Gave up on finding them, arm started to really hurt, started home. By the time I got there, it was swollen like a swim float and turning purple. Mom's eyes were huge as she asked me what happened, then called Grandma to ask for advice. She put ice on me and then we were off to the ER.

Turned out I'd broken my wrist in one place and had a green fracture along the big bone. Plaster splints tightly bandaged to my arm and a sling, with no activities using that arm for several weeks - ended up with a new school friend when she was assigned to be my scribe.

The friend on the slide was shocked when she saw me with the sling but it took a while for the story to come out: she thought it would be funny for me to crash into her as she waited, but being much smaller than she was, I went pitching over the side as soon as I hit her. They booked from the park when they saw I was knocked out.

This event started a ban on that slide that was roundly ignored until my brother fractured his skull after falling from it a year later.
posted by batmonkey at 1:04 PM on July 5, 2011

I've never broken a bone, but my first clipless pedal screw-up was following a Metafilter meetup! We were at our customary Billy Goat monthly meetup, and I had ridden to work that day and probably had a few more beers than I should have given I'd be riding home. But then again, my commute at the time was 90% on the Lake Front Trail, so it wasn't like I'd be fighting traffic much.

A few other MeFi cyclists including hydrophonic were riding to the trail with me. We came up to a light that was turning yellow, and I thought we'd be going through it. But hydro saw a car and stopped, so I came to a sudden stop too.

I had been using the clipless pedals/shoes for less than a week. I stopped. I felt myself falling over in slow motion and was powerless to stop it.

Luckily hydro broke my fall and I just scraped up/bruised my knee.

I really like my clipless pedals. My other bikes have toeclips/straps and I much prefer the clipless for ease of use. But I also like being able to wear street shoes, so I keep them as they are. It's kind of funny that my bike choice often comes down to "what shoes do I want to wear?"
posted by misskaz at 1:09 PM on July 5, 2011

Having been diagnosed with a scaphoid fracture dating to an injury in late March, I've got a lot of sympathy, though no funny story (my injury was thankfully later downgraded to a sprain).

I hope you'll be able to wear a splint instead of a cast, which is what happened for both my co-worker and myself. Splints are so much easier to deal with, vacation-wise.

Not sure how your doc will handle this, but mine prohibited both swimming and biking. I went biking this past Saturday (nearly four months after injury and three weeks after I got my splint off) and found it to be godawfully painful and ended up back in the splint. Swimming, too, was exactly the wrong motion for my injury. I'm kind of a wimp with pain, though, so hopefully my experience was unusual and you'll be back to normal very quickly.
posted by librarylis at 1:18 PM on July 5, 2011

Rollerskating in the house? Don't do it.

That is all.
posted by bilabial at 1:39 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have a theory:

Tram lines are alive. All the electrical patterns caused by the trams running their routes give the lines a rudimentary consciousness.

Tram lines are made of steel, which is mostly iron. They get eroded by trams, cars and weather. When it rains, the tram lines entered a heightened state of awareness, and try to fix all the erosion suffered throughout the year. The erosion makes them thirsty.

They start vibrating at the atomic level, until they manage to aligns all their little crystals and magnetize themselves. The will wait for a steel framed bike to come close, and then ZAP, they will pull it down.

The drink the iron in the cyclist's blood and are able to quench their thirst just a little bit.

Municipal transportation agencies should perform yearly blood sacrifices to apease the tram lines.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 1:52 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've broken more than my share of bones and I always go through the same depressed, my summer is ruined, I can't do any fun things anymore, thing each time.

Now for my broken bone stories:
When I was 7 or 8 I was at a birthday party and jumped/fell out of a treehouse and broke both my wrists. I didn't get to eat any cake. My earliest memory is of my Dad helping the doctor to set the bones.
Age 16 broke my collarbone while cycling to school. I had a huge school bag full of textbooks on my back and just lost my balance as I went down off a curb. Still prefer riding with panniers over a backpack.
Age 17 I got kicked in the hand while playing goalie in intramural soccer and broke/dislocated my finger. Picked the ball up and kicked it away before I remarked that my hand hurt. A teammate asked if it looked okay and I noted its incorrect angle and thus decided to seek medical attention. It never healed quite right and I still can't form a proper fist but I can't say it ever effects my daily life.
Age 18 I rolled a motorized trike within the first 10 minutes of driving it for the first time and broke my collarbone again. The doctor mentioned that he didn't think they made them anymore because they are so unstable.
Age 23 broke my wrist playing volleyball. Collided into someone with my arms outstretched. No cast needed.
Age 27 I broke 3 bones in my foot playing basketball while just running. Got to wear a huge boot all summer which I used as an excuse to flaunt the corporate no-shorts policy. Corporate dropped the no-shorts policy the next summer so there is something good to come of it at least.
posted by metaname at 2:18 PM on July 5, 2011

I've broken other people's bones but never my own.
posted by Sailormom at 2:32 PM on July 5, 2011

yea as a former bike messenger, I say with fervor: fuck tram lines.

late to the thread as mr. lfr and I were, funnily enough, off in Breckenridge all weekend, riding our mountain bikes up mountains whilst doing the Firecracker 50 MTB enduro. But I do have many broken bone stories. Having gone from equestrian sports (3-day eventing, show jumping, etc) to skateboarding, to bike racing and working as a messenger all within the first 20 years of my life, and then sticking to various disciplines of bike racing for the next 23 years, I suspect were I to recap all the broken bone stories I do have, we'd be here for the rest of the week. So.

my (shockingly enough) only MTB-related broken bone ever was the ankle I broke up at Winter Park, something like ten years ago this summer. My x and I, fresh out of the Midwest, decided it would be a super-terrific idea to go up with our little 50mm travel elastomer-fork flatlander hardtails and shuttle the resort trails with a couple of friends who were fullblooded gravity gonzos on straight-up park bikes. 6" travel front and rear, which was pretty much as much as you got back in those days, dual-crown forks, 200mm rotor full hydraulic brakes, 3" foamwall tires, flat pedals, the whole enchilada. Park bikes. For riding parks. Yea. We all bought lift tickets, and they donned their fullface helmets and full body armor, and we changed into our 2-micron-thick Lycra and roadie lids, and spent the next 5 hours basically scaring the everloving shit out of ourselves by riding completely unsuitable equipment off of berms, rocks, ledges, drops, big ripping washed-out rutty fire roads, you name it.

So we get up to the top of the lift for our last run of the day when my X points out this nice-looking singletrack twisting up through the trees that we somehow had not noticed before "Ooh looky, a real trail!" Our downhiller friends voiced no interest at all in pedalling their 45-lb rigs uphill, so they said "cool, see you back at base" and took off down the run. We took off up the one real, smooth, sweet piece of singletrack we had encountered all day. It twisted and traversed through the woods, and was buff and flowy, and everything we'd been looking for. Except for the part where, as I was pedaling maybe 4 mph uphill on the straightest, smoothest trail we'd seen all goddamn day, I managed to hook a tree branch with my handlebar, and wipe out. My SPDs, which I'd neglected to replace the worn cleats on (a known design issue I hear they later fixed, but I'd long since changed systems) did not disengage, and the resulting sickening crack signalled 4 weeks in a cast, then several weeks in a walking brace, and ages of PT. Busted the end right off my tibia, and to this day I have a small hitch in the bottom of my left pedalstroke that I can't seem to fix.

But that wasn't the worst part. No, the worst part was that since we'd taken absolutely the last possible lift run before the lifts shut down for the day, and (at least back in 2001) there was very little in the way of patrol or staff in summer months, I was forced to ride all the way back down to base, on 5 miles worth of crappy bumpy washed out fire / maintenance roads, on a broken ankle.

Reader, I cried.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:08 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I broke my ribs hanging curtains. I was a graduate school lass on a Friday night with no particular place to go. I had recently moved into a new apartment and had a set of brand spanking new curtains for my bedroom. Feeling lazy, I decided to grab the bench that I had been using as a nightstand instead of getting a much sturdier kitchen chair. An old fashioned bench, with the legs placed six inches in on either side.

While standing on the bench, I put all of my weight squarely on one side, tipping the bench up and throwing me off it. I remain mystified, to this day, as to how I manged to hit the upended corner of the bench on my way down, cracking two ribs on my right side and dislocating my elbow. The elbow snapped back into place when I hit the floor. The ribs remained broken.

Let me go on record as saying the only pain worse that the initial break was the night my now-deceased 15lb cat Squeak decided to use my body as a conduit to get from the bottom to the top of the bed. 15lbs of cat on broken ribs is a highly unpleasant experience.

I also broke a bone in my left hand once when I accidentally put in a ceiling fan running full speed, while trying to change my shirt. I still have the mark from that incident.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:01 PM on July 5, 2011

I broke my left wrist once. Doing the hokey pokey. On skates. At a church-sponsored skating party billed as "Holy Rollin'". Turns out they do not like it much when you beef it on a polished concrete floor and then holler FUCK!!! at the top of your lungs, boy howdy.
posted by palomar at 4:21 PM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]

I have broken more bones than I can remember, so I feel your pain mathowie. I hope it heals up soon and doesn't ruin your summer. My brittle bone disorder means I've got my fair share of broken bone stories, but because so many of them happened when I was a little kid they're less ha-ha funny and more you-poor-child pathetic.

But I do have one particularly ironic "now summer's ruined!" type of story that might cheer Matt up. In the summers my parents sent my brother and me over to a neighbor's house every day with a couple other kids. The other kids were all several years younger than me, so it was particularly torturous for a girl who yearned to grow up and be a cool adult. Anyway, the summer after fourth grade the neighbor lady convinced all the parents to buy memberships to a local pool so we could go a few times a week. And the lifeguards were all 17/18 year olds who were SO COOL. They taught swimming and diving lessons, had real jobs, drove their own cars, and everything they said was BRILLIANT. I tried so hard to be like them, so I convinced my mom to sign me up for diving lessons (since I already knew how to swim), even though I was terrified of the whole jumping-headfirst-into-water thing. I spent the first few weeks of summer doing everything I could to be like the totally cool lifeguards. But I was really shy, and I rarely worked up the nerve to actually talk to them.

One evening my brother and I convinced my mom to take us to the pool after work. Everything went pretty well, and during the fifteen minute no-swim period I scammed enough money out of my mom to buy a candy bar from the snack station. I shyly asked for a frozen Reese's cup, because the lifeguards said frozen candy tasted much better than normal candy. I gobbled the whole thing and waited for the whistle to blow so I could get back in.

My brother jumped in at the shallow end of the pool, but I hesitated a moment. I knew I should probably go jump in at the deeper end and swim back, but the other end was so far away and my brother was already calling for me to jump in. So I ignored the warning voice in my head and jumped. And hit the bottom of the pool.

I came up screaming, and chaos instantly erupted. The lifeguards just stared at me in confusion, because the water was only four feet deep so I couldn't possibly be drowning, but I sure sounded like I was dying. My mother tried to drag me out of the pool without getting wet, but the shock froze me in place in the middle of the pool. The waves kept hitting my broken foot over and over again, and all I could do was scream. The oh-so-cool lifeguards panicked, and then my mom had to both calm them down and coax me out at the same time. By the time she'd hauled me out and got me in the car they were on the phone with their boss trying to explain how some kid had managed to break her foot just by jumping in a pool and please please please don't fire them.

On the way to the hospital I just kept bawling, not because my foot hurt so bad but because I'd embarrassed myself in front of the coolest people on earth. The awful cast only made things worse, because nobody wanted to be friends with a kid in a cast. I got one day at home, and then it was back to the neighbor's house.

The worst part: The neighbor didn't have much sympathy for me, because even though my world was ending she still had 4 other kids to entertain, and those kids wanted to go to the pool. And so it happened that I spent my entire summer next to a pool that I couldn't swim in, sitting with all the adults while the younger kids played in the pool. And I'd finally gotten the attention of the cool lifeguards, who stopped by every shift to introduce all the other employees to "that girl who broke her foot when Jim and Amanda were on duty!" I'd gotten everything I wanted, and it was so bitter.
posted by lilac girl at 4:31 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

While I was in college, I had a roommate that had a Jack Russell Terrier that was so delighted to see her one day, the dog crashed into her ankle and shattered the bones in her leg. Denise was in a cast for six months, and I was impressed that she was able to still feel affectionate toward her dog through all that pain.
posted by effluvia at 4:32 PM on July 5, 2011

I broke a bone in my wrist very near the scaphoid in a tickle fight with my husband that got out of hand. I went in for the killer tickle-spot... the crease of his groin, which, if you dig your fingers into it just right, apparently endows him with super-human strength. He grabbed my hand to wrench it away from the area, I thought I'd be all clever and do a quick "windmill twist" with my wrist to break free from his grasp, and cleverly fractured something in my hand. This resulted in six weeks in a (thankfully removable) cast, not to mention an MRI that made my hysterically claustrophobic ass cry like a little wussy in spite of a horse-dose of Valium.

Also... when I was a kid I very nearly fractured my collar bone in a bike accident. I was riding my bike to the library, and since I didn't have any baskets to carry my books home I brought along a large, empty fabric purse which I carried slung over my shoulder as I rode. Just as I was about halfway down the steep hill at the bottom of our road the empty purse slipped down my arm and wedged in the spokes of the front tire, stopping it cold and sending me flying over the handlebars where I landed on the side of my face and collarbone. The collarbone was not, in fact, broken, but whatever was wrong with it I had to wear my arm in a sling for awhile, and then my shoulder froze up from lack of use and I had to do some pretty painful exercises to loosen it up... that was fun.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:36 PM on July 5, 2011

Dumbest. Bike accident. Ever....I was making coffee* when I realized we were out of half & half; the grocery store is less than half a mile away, so I figured I could bike over & back and the coffee would still be hot. So I was biking too fast, I turned into our driveway too fast; it was full of wet leaves and I just slid sideways and over: crash! Landed mostly on the side of one knee; screamed like hell, but mr. epersonae seriously (seriously?!) thought it was noisy kids next door; in his defense, he was all the way in the back of the house. Some random guy came out from across the street and helped me up. Was going to just "tough it out" but eventually ended up at the Urgent Care.

Nothing broken, but I ended up in physical therapy and couldn't take stairs for a couple of months. That's now my "old lady knee," with arthritis & weather-forecasting & everything.

* I don't even drink coffee. I was making it as a favor to mr. epersonae who was cramming out a humongous paper for school. But I do take half & half in my tea.
posted by epersonae at 5:23 PM on July 5, 2011

Oh lord, I have broken basically ALL THE THINGS.

5 - left forearm when class bully shoves me off top of jungle gym (I also managed to grab onto her dress and take her with me; she broke her jaw)

8 - left collarbone while galloping around the muddy woods in summer camp like a deranged donkey. since I am not big on showing emotions, counselors do not believe that it is broken until splintered bone ends start to push through my skin 3 days later. fuckers.

12 - dislocated same collarbone while fucking up horribly on a 3m springboard. manage not to pee in pool, feel this is great achievement.

14 - last 3 fingers on left hand while stupidly breaking a fall from uneven bars

15 - last 2 fingers on right hand during field hockey brawl

18 - same two fingers on right hand when crazy ex-boyfriend throws me down the stairs over an argument about shampoo

21? 22? - left ankle while drunkenly walking dog amidst unexpected fireworks display

Somewhere along the line I also did mysterious and horrible things to my tailbone but I don't remember where/when/how. SIGH.

OH ALSO one time I tripped over a fat little puppy in the pitch black night on my way up our unlit driveway and ripped my left knee open such that the ER doctor had to clean chunks of gravel out with a horrible horrible brush of cruelty.
posted by elizardbits at 6:00 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I had a hairline fracture of the scaphoid from falling backward off a short wall while playing flashlight tag at night as a kid. Like an idiot, I tried to hide the injury as well as the foot and a half scrapes down the back of my right thigh. I totally knew on some level that the parents would ban flashlight tag if they found out, and thought I could somehow cover up the scrapes and bruises until they healed. Unfortunately, when I rolled over in the morning onto my then swollen up to the size of a baseball wrist and let out an involuntary shriek of discomfort the jig was up.

Somehow this gave me a rep for being stoic, despite what I think of as a general lack of toughness on my part.

Long story short, I wore a cast up to between shoulder and elbow for six weeks. There is still a picture of me in a soccer uniform with my cast double wrapped in 1.5 inch thick foam so that the ref would let me onto the field; no go.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:10 PM on July 5, 2011

When my daughter was nearly three, she managed to break her elbow falling off an ottoman. Rather badly, too - snapped one of the end knobs off a long bone and had to have it pinned. Somewhere there are pictures of her in her uncle's wedding with a pretty white dress, blue ribbons, and a screaming pink cast.

Same kid broke a finger playing foursquare last summer. I had not realized it is now a contact sport.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:27 PM on July 5, 2011

Update on trying out the clipless: I...fell over in my parking lot. Starting out. I managed to get on the bike, start riding (sans clipping in, I was heading to meet a friend and was going to practice clipping in there), realize that I'd forgotten my multitool to adjust the cleats, stop in my parking spot, realize that I'd accidentally clipped in my right foot, sllllllooooooowwwwly tip over and land on my right forearm, worry that I'd "pulled a mathowie" and broken something.

But I was fine, went in, got the mutitool, cautiously biked over to our meeting area, and figured out how the hell to clip in and out. Did a 25k ride at a leisurely pace chatting with my friend, managed to clip in and out without too much trouble, although no sudden stops arose that might have been a problem.

Verdict: success! Or at least close enough. I like the clipless, I can definitely feel a difference.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:28 PM on July 5, 2011

Yeah - When I was a kid, I cut half of the tip of my finger off with electric shears. Which I was fooling around with. After being told not to. I was 7 or 8. I was bleeding like a stuck pig, and the tip of my finger was hanging by a small section of skin, but there was no way I was going to own up to it, so I went inside, wrapped it in a towel until the bleeding stopped, then cinched it back together with a bunch of bandaids. I was somehow able to hide the finger from my parents for several weeks, until they finally noticed the big wad of smelly, discolored bandaids while we were on a camping trip. It was, of course, infected by then. I never really got sick from it, but it grew back together kind of funny.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:28 PM on July 5, 2011

Aw, Matt, I'm sorry to hear this. I broke my scaphoid a few years ago (in a totally mundane, non-entertaining, falling-on-ice way), and about all I can say is that it's good practice in developing patience and the Long View. Seconding all the good advice about hanging in there with physical therapy, casting, etc., no matter how tedious in the short term -- orthopedic stuff will, if slighted, catch up with you in the 40s/50s/60s, when you want to still be spry and active and biking around like a young 'un.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:55 PM on July 5, 2011

I got my arm broken by a kid I pissed off in 5th grade who didn't mean to do it, but it was still sort of scary. I had to stay in for recess because of, you know, the broken arm. He had to stay in because he was in trouble for breaking my arm. No one else stayed in for recess. It was a long few months.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:05 PM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

that's so Lisa Simpson, jessamyn.
posted by sweetkid at 7:35 PM on July 5, 2011

When my son was 3 weeks old, I slipped on some ice and sort of caught myself as I fell on my ass - resulting in a broken right wrist. I was/am right-hand dominant, and so not only did I have a big, awkward cast on my right hand, I was nursing an infant, trying to deal with sleep deprivation, generally just not-having-my-shit-together. Several times while burping my son, he would spit up a bit, and did so directly down into my cast. The SMELL when that cast was finally removed was kind of crazy - all "old vomit and talcum powder". Plus, the hair on that arm had gone all dark, so I had one regular arm and one monkey arm. I used lady moustache bleach to turn it the right color again.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:40 PM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

OK, so!

In June 2010, at the age of 41, I was walking out of a Starbucks and slipped and fell down a couple of steps, hard. I landed on my wrists and the force of it traveled up my arm and fractured my right elbow. I also got strawberry frappucino in my hair. I went to the doctor and they took my picture with the little camera at the front desk, the kind they take to add to your chart so they're sure they're treating the right person. I was like, no, no I have strawberry frappucino in my hair, there's no way --- *click* Aw, shit.

The bones are lined up properly, they're just fractured, so there's no casting needed, but I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup. Which, you know, I'm pretty good about (martini glasses weigh significantly less than coffee cups after all), but the bone just never healed on its own. So one orthopedist sends me to another orthopedist to talk about maybe just replacing the bone altogether. I'm like, titanium elbow, SWEET!

Now it's September. The second orthopedist kind of doesn't want to do surgery and after a few weeks of the bones STILL not hooking back up, he orders a strap-on bone stimulator for me. (Cue Beavis and Butthead laughter in 3 ... 2... The ultrasound waves generated by the bone stimulator actually do in fact stimulate the bones to grow back together and by January 2011 everything is healed and back to normal. HOORAY!

In February (a matter of weeks after being released from I fell while walking the dog and broke three fingers on my left hand. They had to cut off my wedding ring (the finger was dislocated and swollen). My left pinkie was in three pieces and in March I had to have surgery to pin the pieces back together. (I was debating whether or not to really have the surgery, but then I sat down with a doctor I work with and told him what happened. He asked, can you touch your pinkie to your thumb? I could not. This is what separates us from the apes, Kari, he said. Go get the surgery. So I did.)

I have a big scar up the back of my left pinkie and the last three fingers on that hand are still pretty misshapen and painful (soft tissue injuries, apparently), but I can basically make a fist.

If I were you, Matt, I would pretend you got the injury in some kind of super-activity. "Walking down the steps with a strawberry frappucino in hand" and "Tripping on a crappy sidewalk while walking the dog" didn't make very good stories; I just looked sort of pathetic. Try not to look pathetic.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 7:50 PM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

Although I've amputated a few fingers (on various occasions...), my recent experience tripping UP the stairs of my home and breaking my right big toe nearly completely off (yes, it tore almost off) was a bigger deal... not fun. Long recovery. Still in occasional pain over a year later.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:43 PM on July 5, 2011

At the age of five-ish I was at a playground at school going down a slide, when another bigger kid decided to come up it. I was in his way. He casually pushed me off the side, right onto my right arm, which broke.

I don't remember it hurting much after the fall, and they got me to the hospital fast and got a cast on me, the heavy plaster jobbies they used back then.

But, the next week, I came back to school, found that kid, and whapped him with my cast. Made him cry.

A less funny story: I was a tiny newborn and my mom decided to go bike riding. Ran into a wall and broke both arms. My dad was now in charge of a 12 year old, 11 year old, 8 year old, and me, which in those less-enlightened days, meant that he was largely clueless. They ate a lot of KFC for two months.
posted by emjaybee at 8:51 PM on July 5, 2011

I broke my right pinky toe falling off my bright yellow 10-speed back when 10-speed bicycles were SOTA. I was wearing...clogs, yes, wooden-soled clogs, because I liked how I looked in them and didn't consider their inappropriateness for bike riding when I set off on a short jaunt. Doctor said, no cast, just wear tight fitting shoes with a hard sole while it heals. I asked him for an example of shoes I should wear and he said, "Do you have any clogs?"
posted by Lynsey at 9:02 PM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]

Welcome to an exclusive club known as "Everybody!"

I broke my scaphoid about 2 years ago. I was moving my chicken tractor, and one of the tow ropes gave way. Stupid!

I spent about 2 months wearing a fancy wrist brace, and another month wrapping it in an Ace bandage. It took about 18 months for it to heal completely, to the point where I didn't get a twinge whenever I tried to pick something up with my wrist at the wrong angle.

I got pretty good at mousing with my left hand. I also learned that MS Vista is bundled with free dictation software (similar to Dragon Naturally Speaking) buried deep in the accessibility tools. Which is good, because I write for a living.

My #1 item of advice is: buy two braces. That way you can wash and dry one, while wearing the other. Trust me, you will want to do this.

I have a very vivid memory of having a meltdown because I really REALLY wanted to have some Chili Con Queso, you know the kind that comes in a squat glass jar? But I couldn't open the jar using only my left hand. I tried and tried, but just couldn't do it.

Finally I heard my neighbor's car when she came home from work. I dashed over to her driveway and held out the jar, weeping in frustration and pain, and asked her to PLEASE OPEN THIS FOR ME I JUST WANT NACHOS HELP.

It's funny NOW.
posted by ErikaB at 9:05 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I was 12, I tripped walking across the room and broke bones in my right ankle. Like, "in a cast from my toes to my knee, no weight at all, for 8 weeks" broke.

In my defense, I'd been sleeping all curled up in the one chair in the room, got up to pee or somesuch, and probably had a half-asleep foot or something. But the family joke is that I tripped on the lint in the carpet - because other than the chair, the room was EMPTY. My reputation as a klutz was sealed on that day.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:44 PM on July 5, 2011

I've managed to injure just about every part of my body several times (mostly in stupid ways), but only broken anything once and I didn't even know until months later. I needed to have a chest x-ray (can't remember why) and the doctor asked me how I broke my ribs. I said that I'd never broken any ribs, but there was the evidence on the x-ray. When I thought about it, I'd been unceremoniously ejected from a race boat a few months earlier, hitting the side of the cockpit hard enough to make a tear right across the fibreglass deck. While I had a lot of pain in my ribs, that was hardly surprising given what I had done and I had no idea they were broken. Until then, I hadn't even noticed the lump on my chest where one of the ribs healed crookedly.
posted by dg at 9:44 PM on July 5, 2011

I broke my little toe once because I was wearing Dr. Scholl's sandals whilst trying to change a flat (I kicked a wooden block trying to reposition it.....)

Compound fracture. And THEN my travelling companion had to learn how to drive a stick shift all the way to our destination (a couple of hours away) because I couldn't drive my VW with a broken toe. Good times.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:30 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I broke my toe accidentally kicking a box full of porn magazines. It's a big box. With a lot of porn.

And it's not even my porn.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:42 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

A couple of years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night needing to use the bathroom. I walked in, did my thing, and woke up an hour later on the bathroom floor with a concussion, a broken nose and blood everywhere. Good times.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:19 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

My story: there was a summer where myself and my son, who was 11 at the time, were riding our bikes over to my mom's house, about 40 minutes away. My niece, who was visiting from the small town where she lived in the Interior of BC, joined us one Sunday afternoon. Unused to traffic, she stopped abruptly in front of me when she saw a moving car down the block, and as I tried to put my foot down to stop it got tangled in the brakelines (I'd been meaning to tape those up, but you know) and fell over hard and fractured my knee. My son's father lived close by, so the kids went to find him and he drove over to pick me up. The rest is the basics; ER, painkillers, cast, crutches etc. The only remarkable bit is that this event capped a month during which I'd both been dumped (and I use the word advisedly) from my last relationship and laid off from my job. It was one of those doesn't kill you, makes you stronger times.
posted by jokeefe at 8:43 AM on July 6, 2011

2 summers ago, I had a newly mobile was the stage where he'd be in unexpected places, and I'd often forget that he could now move. One day, I was walking through the living room, and all of a sudden oh-my-god-he's-RIGHT-THERE. I did some sort of weird contortion to avoid stepping on him, and then ANOTHER weird contortion to avoid falling on him, and of course broke my fall with my right hand/arm. It hurt a lot, but I thought that it would pass. We went on vacation, I went to a conference, and it still hurt. So off to the doctor when I got back...verdict? Broken elbow. I'd been walking around with a broken elbow for about 10 days.
posted by altopower at 9:28 AM on July 6, 2011

So many ouchies!

I've had 3 bad bike crashes (run into by a small truck, idiot coming full speed out of side street & by a Japanese kids baseball team on bikes) and was a competitive fencer for years as well as being clumsy all my life but luckily have never managed to break anything. Bruises however are another story.
posted by gomichild at 9:50 AM on July 6, 2011

When I was a fearless nine-year-old, I broke my wrist by riding down a huge grassy hill on my bike. No-handed. I hit the unexpectedly sandy spot halfway down the hill, skidded out, and went flying over the handlebars. Then I had to walk my bike home up the hill one-handed. The best part was that I got a pink and purple cast that matched my pink and purple glasses.
posted by beandip at 11:26 AM on July 6, 2011

My brother in law fell off his bike reaching for a hat and permanently snapped a tendon in his shoulder (which is now slightly lower). He's the second person I know who's gotten that kind of injury on a stopped bike. Meanwhile the list of things I've run into at at least 20 MPH include a palm tree, bollard, and minivan. Generally with barely a scratch. The lesson I'm taking home is that if you aren't in motion get off the bike as soon as you can.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:32 PM on July 6, 2011

I was attacked by a rooster as a kid. I didn't break any bones but it's cool to show people my rooster attack scar.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:21 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]

This guy's big brother stepped on my foot. Ow. Hope you're feeling better soon, Matt!
posted by Space Kitty at 8:05 PM on July 6, 2011

I had my nose shattered while pitching (it was actually two on two, so I was basically the infield too) in a baseball game in my backyard approximately six seconds after hearing the words "come closer, it's not like I'm gonna hit you."
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:09 PM on July 6, 2011

Age 15, did a Ta-Dah! leap off a shallow two steps by the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park (right where that hot dog vendor stand is) and landed on my left foot, heard the crack and the warm flow throughout the ankle. It was the first day of summer vacation, 1969, the year of Woodstock. Spent that part of the summer as a runaway on crutches.

The cast came off the night of the Moon Landing, July 20th. I took the subway all the way out to City Island to swim, as I couldn't swim the entire month of June and most of July. Stepped on a broken bottle buried in the sand at the beach by the Morris Yacht Club and cut off the very tip of my big toe. Broke into the Chandler's empty house my family had rented the summer before to get a needle and thread. Stitched the toe myself, listening to Laura Nyro's California Shoeshine Boys (now indelible as a memory) and went to the next door neighbor's to watch the landing.
posted by nickyskye at 9:41 PM on July 6, 2011 [6 favorites]

Random woundings: In 1977, I was skateboarding at 9th ave. and Judah, when I lost control of my board, and it rolled away from me just in time for a city bus to run over the tip of it and rocket the skateboard back at me, right into my eyebrow. It knocked me on my ass, but it didn't knock me out. Blood everywhere. The guy at the store I was outside of called EMS, who mis-interpreted his report to mean that a skateboarder had become stuck beneath a city bus, and they came with sirens a-blazin'. Took two stitches, and I was back on my board, tripping on acid, within about 6 hours. Those were heady days.

I caught the wobs skating straight down O'shaughnessey that same year, fell off my board going, i dunno - 30 mph at least, and gave myself a hell of a concussion. This was at lunch time -- right at noon. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in my journalism class at 3:30. No blood, though - just a sharp blow to the side of the head, apparently a thinner area than the forehead.

Another time, in '79 or so (I was a stupid, stupid kid) a biker settled a verbal disagreement by taking my Hagstrom bass from my hands and cracking it over my head. Literally. It has, to this day, a small crack from beneath the bridge all the way up to where he neck bolts on. I wobbled, but I didn't fall down. Didn't stick around for the blues jam, though.

The only time I've ever seen one of my bones was when I dropped the blade of a really sharp knife on the side of my index finger, and saw a little gleam of white before the cut filled up with blood. Took four stitches, and it still itches from time to time, 30 years later. two weeks later, I forgot about having stitches in my hand, and shook hands with the very earnest wife of the Pentacostal preacher who was about to marry me to my first wife. (Don't ask. Okay, fine, you can ask, but that's another store entirely, which involves a very surreal 10-month odyssey to the middle of the orange groves of Florida. Hi, Ramona!) She ripped all the stitches right open again. Made for an uglier scar, I think.

Dear patron of the restaurant I cooked at in 1986 - I briefly considered fishing the small bit of fingertip from your salad, but went ahead and replaced it, at the behest of your waitress.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:52 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

nickyskye, you are now my hero.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:54 PM on July 6, 2011

I broke my elbow (the tip of my ulna) by trying to leap over a very short chain-link fence. (Jackass show-off move.) The tip of my sneaker touched the top of the fence, propelling me head first toward the ground on the other side. It was like in slow motion: if I could just stick the landing on the wood-chips instead of the pavement next to it, I'll make this one clear!--but no such luck. My ulna saved my skull, and my skull thanks the ulna to this day.

Dom the pintern, huh? Have a blast, kiddo!
posted by not_on_display at 10:08 PM on July 6, 2011

Oh, and get well soon wishes dear Matt. Will you get a Herbert screw? You might consider using Exogen to help the healing process? 270 bucks here. Or you might take some Bone Builder With Boron?

Wishing you an excellent recovery.
posted by nickyskye at 10:15 PM on July 6, 2011

I was attacked by a rooster as a kid.

I was bitten by a dairy cow in the field behind my parents' house. It chomped me on the arm and left me slightly bruised and very surprised. I think it took my green sweater as a sign I was edible. Clearly, I am the grassman.
posted by arcticseal at 12:43 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was attacked by a rooster as a kid

Having come relatively late to the practice of keeping backyard chickens, it came a shock to me to discover that a chicken can apparently see no important difference between a human eyeball and a tasty mollusc.
posted by flabdablet at 1:10 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, if we're comparing other injuries --

I gave myself a nasty cut when I was about twelve, while trying to cut an apple. I was holding it in the exact way people say you should never hold an apple while you're cutting it (apple grasped in the palm of my left hand, knife in the right). Usually this would have worked, because our knives were really dull and you had to do it that way -- little did I know, though, that Dad had just sharpened all the knives in the house, and so the knife shot straight through the apple and kept going about a quarter-inch into the side of my hand.

Oh, and this was about three minutes before my piano teacher was showing up at the house for my weekly lesson.

I remember Mom and I both full-on panicking for about ten seconds, and then suddenly both stopping on a dime, realizing "wait, we need to calm down." Then we both kicked into the first-aid we dimly remembered from our respective years in Girl Scouts, and my piano teacher showed up right then -- and she had worked as a nurse for some years so she also checked things out, said it didn't look that bad but I should go to the doctor anyway and screw the lesson for the day. I ended up getting three stitches, and charmed my piano teacher the following week because I'd actually managed to somehow find a piece that was expressly written for one-handed play and had practiced it.

I've also fallen into a bed of sea urchins and given myself a nasty burn working the fry station at McDonald's, but those don't really have stories.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on July 7, 2011

I was bitten by a dairy cow in the field behind my parents' house.

I was once bitten by a duck at petting exhibit at the zoo. Bam, right on my little like six year old chest or whatever. That was maybe my first big formative "animals can be capricious assholes" experience.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:55 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Who knew that "wounded by barnyard fowl" was a prerequisite to moderator status? You have an impressive system, matthowie.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2011

It's like how they restore memories to Gholas in the Dune books. Or that whole deal with The Boys From Brazil.

Maybe more like the first one.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2011

Oh, if we're comparing other injuries --
Then I'd be here all week. I've injured myself so many times in so many stupid ways that it's a wonder I've survived at all I've fallen from things, I've had things fall on me, I've nearly severed a finger doing something stupid, I once set myself on fire and the list goes on and on.
posted by dg at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2011

> "wounded by barnyard fowl" was a prerequisite to moderator status

Hey, I'm qualified! I used to have an evil-tempered hen who really had it in for me. Merely pecking wasn't enough, she'd leap in the air and rake her claws at me. I have no idea what I did that pissed her off so much, but I had to wear leather gloves to handle her. Because of the gloves I have no scars to prove it, though. Such an angry, bitter chicken ... come to think of it, she reminds me of some MeFites. Think I'll pass on the mod position, actually.
posted by Quietgal at 6:26 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older I don't wanna meet no more.   |   We are reconsidering that decision Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments