It’s been four weeks now living with a cracked rib. So, I decided to compile what you never hear about living with a cracked rib.
Disclaimer: This is only applicable after receiving medical attention for a cracked rib. Do NOT use this as a substitute for medical attention!
You Have to Get Creative with Sleeping:
This is the first thing you have to learn. I had to move pillows around and use extras to figure out how to sleep with minimal pain.
Eventually, I figured out what to do and I continue to tweak it whenever I needed it.
I also keep a glass of water by my bed. That is non-negotiable!
Sometimes, I wake up coughing at night. Coughing is painful and I have to make sure I can take care of a cough quickly and efficiently. That means not stumbling around in the dark trying to get water.
Stumbling around is also hazardous because the risk of bumping into something is very high. If you need a light on all night in case you need to see where to go, turn it on!
This didn’t have anything to do with moving and having boxes around either. Although, my parents said having an invalid around is an incentive to not strew the boxes everywhere.
It benefitted all of us actually. Instead of chaos, it’s organized chaos.
You Are Going to be Uncoordinated and Off-Balance:
My Dad is really good at seeing when I’m about to run into something! Was I that clumsy a baby?
However, it’s invaluable during a time like a cracked rib. I almost bumped into things that I never would have bumped into at a regular time.
There were a few nights when I had to leave a light on nearby so that I wouldn’t trip on something or run into a wall. Then again, boxes were lying around so that was another factor.
Additionally, you get pain from your atlas to your coccyx. Don’t go thinking that you only get pain in one place because you don’t!
There’s No Such Thing As Doing Something Without Pain:
Ribs are constantly moving, broken or not. It’s going to hurt to do the simplest things.
Bottom line: Your day is determined by how much pain you are in when you wake up!
Fact: I couldn’t tie my shoes or use stairs for the first week after the accident. Getting in and out of bed was the worst!
I had to be like Chuck Yeager when he couldn’t close the door of the plane because of a cracked rib, so he used a broom. Except, I loaded up on painkillers, braced my arm against the door and hung on!
You’re Going to Live on Painkillers for Ten Days… At Least:
There are times I agree with only taking painkillers for ten days after an accident or injury. This is not one of them.
I refused painkillers at the hospital. “Painkillers” can mean opioids. No thanks.
Mentally, I was in too much shock to analyze my options at the hospital, and I didn’t want to make a decision that would get me addicted to opioids in the long term. Plus, opioids make me sick.
I got creative with using pain relief. Motrin is good for reducing inflammation inside your body. Salonpas pain patches are good for direct relief at the source.
Neither one can be a substitute for the other, but at least I have been able to use Salonpas more often since there is no risk of damaging my liver.
You Can Get a Rib Brace:
Yes, you can. Check out a medical supply store for one.
I stumbled on this by chance. My parents were out and walked by a medical supply store. They checked it out and I have been wearing a brace all this time!
I personally don’t wear the brace when I am eating or sleeping. I have been injured wearing a brace while sleeping in the past. That being said, if I had needed to remain immobile while sleeping, I would have worn it.
You Will Relearn How to Laugh, Cough and Sneeze:
You also have to relearn how to breathe!
Here’s how I dealt with each one:
I got people to laugh for me. I call them my laugh buddies.
Sometimes, some things do make me laugh. At the best of times, I got irritated. At the worst of times, I quote the Joker below.
“I like you but I want to kill you”— Joker
When I feel a sneeze coming on, I move my body in a way similar to the sneeze and say “Achoo” to help it along. It helps immensely!
Sometimes, I need my back patted when I cough. Other times, I follow the same steps as a sneeze, but I lightly cough instead.
I call the preparing for a cough or sneeze “priming myself” for them.
You’re Going to Crave High-Protein Meals:
Your body is telling you it needs protein to heal, so get some good quality protein.
At a time like this, it doesn’t matter if you need to eat meat or dairy. I generally don’t eat meat and I limit my dairy intake, but I am binge-eating dairy.
I still won’t touch bad-quality meat or dairy, and I certainly don’t like the meat options in California. If I was in Montana or Alberta though, that would be a different matter.
Your Sleep Patterns Will Be Seriously Disrupted:
Waking up in pain… Taking naps at random times of the day…
It doesn’t matter. Just let your body heal!
Did you know Charles Darwin was chronically sick and he planned his work when he felt good? I’m doing the same thing!
I’m so grateful I started freelance writing and copywriting work and that I work from home! One reason I have an entrepreneur’s attitude is I HATE being subjected to outside work schedules!
I have met other entrepreneurs who are chronically sick or in pain and they say the same thing. Sharing war stories with them is amazing!
I wonder how much of my sleeping has to do with being in an accident though. They say your brain processes trauma better if you sleep a lot.
You Should Be Careful Making Plans To Go Out:
Let your family and friends know that any plans you make are tentative at best. You might have to cancel last minute.
If your friends don’t understand that these things happen, then they are lousy friends! Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me. Guess I have done a good job of setting up my support system!
Short walks around the block or relaxing in the sun are beneficial to recovery. It’s easy to get tired though. I don’t expect to do any major outings for a while either.
You Need to Aggressively Treat the Bruising:
The relief when the paramedic gave me ice for my rib was overwhelming!
Since being in ballet, the following hack has never failed me. If I fall or something goes out: Ice or run under cold water for 20 minutes until it is numb.
I don’t know anything else to do to make you feel as if you never hurt yourself the next day. I still continue the ice for 48 hours, if possible.
After that, it’s been hot baths and arnica for me! I didn’t care that arnica is used in homeopathic treatment. I was willing to try anything to lessen the bruising!
My favourite arnica treatment is making it like I would tea and pouring it into a hot tub. Overall, it significantly reduced the bruising!
Sometimes, with a broken bone, the majority of the pain comes from bruising. With a rib, the pain keeps changing from either bruising or twinging.
It’s sort of a moving target as to which pain is worse, but at least bruising is more manageable.
Wear a Mask When You Go Out:
And ask your family and friends to wear one when they see you. If they are sick, don’t let them come near you!
I don’t care if you are reading this ten years from now and the COVID-19 situation has either improved or is non-existent. Stay with me here.
When you have a cracked rib, your lungs are bruised and aren’t working efficiently. That makes you vulnerable to viral infections.
If someone asks you to wear a mask for this reason, please don’t take it personally! And if you have a cracked rib and someone does take your request personally, don’t back down. Stick to your boundaries.
Some Things Had to do with Moving:
The question “Moving or Injured?” has been part of my life. Sometimes, I don’t see any overlap between them.
For instance, after moving, I like to deliberately carve out quiet time for myself and prioritize rest. It helps to have something that forces me to do that.
Moving to Canada and quarantining was one of those times. This is another one.
When you move, EVERYONE wants a piece of you and this is one way of saying “NO!” Chores get overwhelming too, but that has a lot to do with people or companies wanting their Pound of Flesh!
It’s exhausting and it’s best to step away from all that. David Rose has a point when he says, “I’m trying very hard not to connect with people right now!” in Season 1 Episode 2 after moving to Schitt’s Creek.
For a while, I just could not think about different cultures either. Just saying, “Not right now please. I’m in pain” did wonders.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with culture when moving countries. The dichotomy between the place you left and your destination is real.
I learned that it’s okay to take a break from dealing with a cultural shift. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’m just setting a boundary for my transition phase.
I Have to do Some Major Blog Cleanup:
I will be rewriting and republishing some of my posts until the end of the year. It’s time to do a makeover.
This time last year, I was thinking of doing Blogmas this year. Now:
But don’t worry. I will continue to post on Instagram, so you can follow me there. That includes the photos and videos from my trip, pre-Stranded-In-Reno.
If you miss it on IG, I will write about my trip in the new year. Already planning my blog calendar!
See you all around!