Friday, September 21, 2012

How I Broke my Arm & Leg Part II: Lucky Ducky

Haven't seen Part I?  It's here...
My arm and leg were broken.   Snapped in two.   I didn't get to see the scans or x-rays, but I saw the "Uh oh...!" expressions on those who did. A piece of the arm bone poked  through the skin and my leg bone was trying to do the same thing.    Time for surgery.
They pinned my arm bone together, threaded a rod down my leg, let me wake up, and wheeled me to my hospital room.
"Now you've been and gone and done it!" I thought, "Broke your arm and your leg?  On opposite sides?  Whatcha gonna do now?"
My inner critic took over:

I threw him out.  He was annoying.
Still, it would be weeks and weeks before the bones healed, and months before I could skydive again.
No skydiving for months?
I'd been skydiving for barely a year and was just reaching the "good for a beginner" stage.   

It had been an uphill climb.  With obstacles:
It had scared me.  It made me nervous.  Mistakes, slow progress (at least compared to others) and doubts frustrated me.  Each weekend I drove to the DZ for jumps.  I splurged on tunnel time to improve my freefall.   Within the last month or so, the effort seemed to be paying off...
 ...then whoops!  I pranged myself.  Game over.
 Not only that, but while I stagnated on the ground, my peers would still be jumping and advancing.  I didn't like that...

...but it could have been  worse.   Other  jumpers had sustained way more serious injuries.  Some had been killed.  Heck, if I'd landed in a worse spot, I might have been killed too.  Maybe a broken arm or leg wasn't  such a big deal.
Even artists had been hurt way worse than me, I remembered.
Al Capp and Frida Kahlo had both been mutilated by trolley accidents, for example.  I wasn't doing bad for a "fall out of the plane" accident.  Frida had broken her right leg in eighteen pieces  (And her pelvis, foot, spine, etc.)  Had I complained about my injuries to her, she'd  be unimpressed.
"Okay," I reminded myself, "My accident could have been way uglier.  So many things could have gone wrong..."  When I weighed what actually happened with what could have happened...

...I knew I was a lucky duck.

For part three (can I milk this or what?) , click here.


Anonymous said...

AND you Landed a parachute WITH a broken arm..Not many so called skydivers can lay claim to that :)
You need to have your collective shit together in 15 months when I take you freeflying ;)

Namowal said...

Well, my effort pushed the definition of "landing," but I did what I could. we're freeflying someday, are we? :)

CodeFarmer said...

Duck, you have reinforced my suspicion that you are a badass.

Your attitude has champion skydiver written all over it... and you have reminded me to spend a little more time trying to fly and flare my canopy with either hand.

Heal fast.

Namowal said...

@Codefarmer, I've been called "bad" and "an ass" before, but never a badass! ;)

As for the attitude, I can attribute it, in part, to a study I read about years ago. They interviewed people who considered themselves either very luck or unlucky.
"...I decided to present lucky and unlucky people with some unlucky scenarios and see how they reacted. I asked lucky and unlucky people to imagine that they were waiting to be served in a bank. Suddenly, an armed robber enters the bank, fires a shot, and the bullet hits them in the arm. Would this event be lucky or unlucky? Unlucky people tended to say that this would be enormously unlucky and it would be just their bad luck to be in the bank during the robbery. In contrast, lucky people viewed the scenario as being far luckier, and often spontaneously commented on how the situation could have been far worse. As one lucky participant commented, “It’s lucky be-cause you could have been shot in the head – also you could sell your story to the newspapers..."

here's the article

I might also add that some other skydivers have set good examples too- they've gotten hurt- sometimes very badly, but they don't fuss, whine or complain.

Christian Christoffersen said...

Namo, that is so ****ing badass!

Respect from denmark.

Namowal said...

Christian Christoffersen,
Aw, shucks. Thanks!

Linda Davick said...

Namo, this is the best episode ever. I'm so glad you didn't break your drawin' arm. I LOVE FRIDA and the 3 nah-nah-nanny goats and the T.V. quote!

Namowal said...

Thanks, Linda! I had fun drawing them. :)

Anonymous said...

What size canopy and wing loading?

MNC said...

Would live to know this too...

Kristal Byrnes said...

There was really some luck involved with what you experienced, Jennifer. Being able to steer your chute at that height was really something, and it's a good thing you didn't lose your nerve. How's your leg and arm now? It may be a long process to rehabilitate your broken arms and legs, but I believe you'll be able to skydive again.

Kristal Byrnes @ COCOrtho

Namowal (Jennifer Bourne) said...

The canopy was 190 square feet, and my wing loading was in beginnerville- .9 I believe.


Lisa researching broken arm said...

You have quite a creative way of telling a story, I'll give you that.