For Christmas this year I gave myself the gift that keeps on giving.
I broke my butt.
Generally speaking I mean. My pelvis and acetabulum to be exact, and a small tibia fracture too. And I did it over 2,300 miles from home. My husband and kids, my parents too, they were all back in Utah watching it unfold online.
I’m a weightlifter (I’ve written about that before HERE), and I was competing at my first national level competition (The American Open in Orlando, Florida) and the most freaky of all freak accidents happened and I somehow missed a snatch in grand fashion and managed to drop that loaded barbell on myself instead, a heavy one weighing close to 200 lbs. Maybe it was nerves, maybe I tripped, who knows.
I’m sure you’re thinking, WELL DUH, YOU IDIOT. WEIGHTLIFTING IS SO DANGEROUS, but you’d surprisingly be wrong. Accidents like these are incredibly rare, in fact, Olympic Weightlifting is one of the safest sports out there with 0.0017 injuries per 100,000 hours of participation. For comparison’s sake, the sport of track and field has an injury rate of 0.570 per 100,000 hours, #themoreyouknow. Point is, the rate of injury is actually remarkably low and I’m basically a freakish outlier.
Life goals, as usual.
That same weight that crushed me a bit? I’ve made it before and missed it many times more than that without incident. I have no idea what went wrong or how I ended up in the back of an ambulance on my way to two surgeries and a 4 day hospital stay, but that’s what happened.
After some drugs and some x-rays and a CT scan they discovered that the head of my femur had actually broken through the back of my acetabulum (or hip socket), leaving it dislocated and out of place, sitting on a bunch of nerves and definitely not where it was supposed to be. So that hurt. The bottom part of my left pelvis was also pretty broken and then there was that small tibia fracture too but whatever, put it on my tab. Fun fact for the day: breaking your acetabulum is actually rather uncommon, chalk up another point for Team Kalli.
Thankfully, a lot can change in a few short weeks and if I’ve learned one major lesson from all this, it’s that you can get through almost anything if you labor breathe your way through it. Also, God bless the hospital drugs that help you forget.
Other notes from my mental journal, possibly kept while high on prescription and/or IV administered painkillers:
The human body is incredible. My body is incredible. Even now, three weeks out, I’m amazed at how good I feel considering the metal plates and screws literally holding my pelvis together, and the fact that a rod was drilled through my femur to put my leg into traction while I was semi-conscious. I can shower, use the bathroom, and even get my pants on all by myself, but not socks because that’s going too far. So even though it’s ironic because I got injured doing what made me so strong in the first place, that strong healthy body made for damn sure it wasn’t worse and is getting me back to semi-normal faster than I ever thought possible.
When sucky things happen, there is an equal and opposite non-sucky reaction to balance crap out. I can’t count the number of good and heartwarming things that have come from this unsavory event: total strangers showing concern, donating money, designing shirts to be sold, neighbors and friends showing up at my house with money, food and treats, books and magazines, sending messages, posts, cards, everything. Overflowing kindness. Never mind the political shit show of the last year and what anybody else says. People are good, my broken butt can testify as much.
It pays to pick good friends. Immediately after the accident I had friends on the phone with my family arranging flights for my husband and parents, childcare for my kids, and every other logistical detail you could possibly imagine including flights back home. When I finally made it out of Florida I had food in my fridge, meals and childcare arranged for the next month, new bedding, soft blankets to keep me warm, books to read and movies to watch. They left no stone unturned.
One or more of my people has been at my house every day since I got home. This is not to brag about how great I am because I have great friends (and equally amazing family), but more to tell you about how important it is to put the right people in your life, people who will show up.
Good friends show up, and mine did.
It really is in sickness and in health. My husband caught a flight and was on his way to me within 9 hours of the accident. He’s been chauffeur, nurse, Mr. Mom, and everything else on top of his regular dad, husband and job duties and will be for a while to come. It’s a lot, and he does it without complaining (much). Thanks for those safety rails you installed in the tub and the adaptive raised toilet seat, babe. You know what I like.
Life goes on. Kids still need to get to school, dishes and laundry, work needs attention, bills paid, details managed. One way or another, you get it done and will do it all over again tomorrow. Life has this incredible way of being repetitive even when you’re temporarily off your game, which for some reason has been oddly reassuring to me that normal is whatever your life is right now.
So there it is.
Accidents are accidents and they happen to a lot of people, even me. It’s all still a little unbelievable as I sit here in my ugly brown recliner writing this, but I’ll stand up and grab my crutches and hit the bathroom before I head to bed like it ain’t no thing.
Because even though it was a big thing, the broken butt I mean, it’s not anymore and I’m gonna be just fine.