Broken Shoulder Scene

There are moments in life when you suddenly realize that you are heading for disaster and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Some people have experienced this sensation once or twice. Some, like me, have experienced it more times than they would like to count. A lucky few have yet to know what it feels like.

If you fall into the third category, I beg you to find a piece of wood to knock on this instant.

I had one of those moments three weeks ago. One minute I was happily riding my mountain bike down a hill – I will not disclose the speed at which I was riding for fear any sympathy I am about to garner will be whisked away prematurely, but suffice it to say that “reckless” is a state of mind – the next I was in a crumpled heap in the bushes and screaming.

Between those two steady states was the realization that I was well and truly screwed.

This moment took place in action-movie slow motion, allowing time for me to give myself a little pep talk about how if I kept my arms in and fate was feeling generous, I might be able to roll out of this with nothing more than an extreme case of road rash.

Fate was not feeling generous. Although she did see fit to bless me with the extreme road rash, she added in a broken shoulder for good measure. And it hurt. A lot.

I have some experience with pain – 17 broken bones, three dislocated shoulders, third degree sprained ankles. You can’t be a mogul skier and rugby player without suffering your share of bumps and bruises. Plus, I’m a klutz.

But I can say categorically that breaking the head off your humerus (the big bone in your arm) right at the joint takes the cake in the pain category.

Long story short, I was treated to a deluxe ambulance ride complete with morphine drip and all the casts, slings and enforced couch sitting that a girl could desire.

While in the Emergency Room I learned from several nurses that mountain biking has claimed quite a few victims besides me this month – more this season already than the hospital normally sees come through their doors over an entire summer.

As I thought about how the number of riders in town has ballooned, combined with the number of new and more difficult trails popping up everywhere, I had to admit this made sense.

So if you fall into the category of the currently cast/sling/crutch-bound, read on.

Here’s a rough guide to Yukon summer activities if injury prevents you from biking, climbing, running, paddling, swimming and hiking.

Movies: We’re into summer blockbuster season, so even if you can’t take part in your own personal action movie you can certainly live vicariously through the big screen. Also, I’ve learned that cashiers take pity on people with casts and sometimes give us deals.

Sunshine: Just because you’re not allowed to move doesn’t mean you have to forego your daily dose of vitamin D. Find a patch of grass and soak in the sun, doing your healing body some good.

Volunteer: Even though you can’t compete in the plethora of summer sporting events, you don’t have to miss them entirely. Chances are you can volunteer to click a stopwatch or point people in the right direction.

Festivals: Turn your immobility into an opportunity to delve deeply into the territory’s amazing arts scene. Just one thing: stay clear of the mosh pits at the music festivals.

TV Shows: Pick a series that you’ve never had time to watch before but your friends love, and binge-watch guilt free.

Use your friends: I can’t stress this one enough. With the right injury, especially ones that involve a cast, you’ll have access to visitors, lots of visitors.

They will keep you entertained and pity you enough that they will take on whatever cooking, cleaning, fetching and driving demands you can dream up.

Bring everyone to your level: My friends and I played an epic game of left-handed Pictionary last night. In other words, impose your limitation on everyone else and let things run amuck.

I wish you luck and fast healing, all of my brothers and sisters in hospital accessories.

We’ll get through this sooner than you think. Then we can turn around and get right back to doing whatever got us here in the first place.

Amber Church is a writer, artist and climate change researcher who lives in Whitehorse and still believes she can change the world. You can reach her at [email protected].

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