Life is (Still) Full of Firsts

Life is (Still) Full of Firsts

Last week, I broke my first bone.

Well, technically, I “acute fractured my elbow.”

I was biking down a busy Toronto street when another cyclist cut me off. When other people tell me about their bike accidents, they always say the same thing: “It happened in a split second.” I can now attest to the fact that it does happen in a split second. One minute I was cruising down the street, thinking about how nice the warm sun felt on my skin; the next thing I knew, I was lying on the hot black asphalt, a transport truck stopped a few feet behind my head. The cyclist helped me to my feet, apologizing profusely. Strangers stopped to stare. My legs shook. Tears streamed down my face. What just happened? Am I okay? Is my bike okay?

I biked home in a daze, came in the front door and started to cry again when I saw my roommate. My arm was still in pain so she came with me to the emergency room.

We waited a short time in St. Michael’s emergency and, after listening to the sounds of an intoxicated man moaning and realizing I had been given the wrong hospital bracelet by mistake (my name is not Eileen and I definitely wasn’t born in 1930), I was seen by a nice young doctor who was immensely helpful. She put me in a sling and told me to come back in three weeks for another follow-up x-ray.

For the next three days, I was probably the worst patient you could ever imagine. I would try to make myself food but would drop things. I would try to clean or pick up my purse and would moan in pain. I hated having to bother my roommate and boyfriend for the smallest of things: Can you put my arm through my cardigan? Would you pour me a glass of juice? Of course, they were happy to help me, but I hated feeling powerless and useless.

But I quickly learned that was something I had to get over. In the days following, I wore a lot of dresses (they’re much easier to put on with one arm than a top and bottom). I also learned now is not the ideal time to go out to a nice restaurant where I might have to cut my food. (Cutting a steak with one hand is an extremely difficult task. Try it sometime.) 

Most importantly, I learned that sometimes, bad things happen. I could have missed that cyclist by a second if I’d left the house a minute earlier that morning or stopped for a coffee on my way home from work. Simply put, it was an accident. And accidents happen. This isn't going to stop me from ever biking again, nor am I going to let it get me down for three weeks.

And I should also mention, my arm is feeling a lot better today.

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