- I'm gonna run 1,000 miles for MS
- Just trippin’ with Rip van Winkle
- Now running for sponsors, thanks to Charity Miles
- What makes the world go 'round? Nope, it’s not love.
- You can’t possibly have multiple sclerosis!
I'm sSitting here in an arm sling, typing with one hand. At least, I have a good story. I didn’t just fall down for no reason. (Hey, it happens a lot. Ask any MSer. Been there plenty.)
I tumbled down a steep hill during a weekend trail race. Actually, it was a hill that dropped into a riverbank. And, truth be told, I was hiking, rather than running, this time.
A new running friend and I had just come from another mid-race mishap, in which she helped carry an injured runner to rescue. Here’s that story: 3 women carry injured runner from trail course.
We were making our way back to the start/finish spot when my own accident happened.
I am pretty sure I landed full weight on one wrist. I even heard it crunch. As soon as I stood up, with the assistance of a trail buddy, who grabbed my un-sore arm, I knew something wasn’t right. I grabbed my Fitbit activity tracker with my teeth to remove it from my now-throbbing wrist and yanked my ring off that hand.
Factor in the MS queasies, the “I know I hurt something” shakes, and the nearly-ever-present MS vertigo, and it became a weird walk back from that spot. Plus, I was holding the sore arm up over my head, as it was already swelling.
The friendly race concessions volunteers were kind enough to give me a plastic baggie, which I filled with ice from one of their coolers. I climbed in my car and headed for the ER, driving with my left arm propped up against the car window and praying for no traffic stops.
At the hospital, the front desk attendant looked up from his medical school textbook (I kid you not.) and noticed my pinned-on race bib and my left hand clutched across me towards my right shoulder.
“Having chest pains after a race?” he asked. Seriously? I thought. On my right side?
“Nope. It’s my wrist,” I said. By now, the thing was quite swollen.
Sitting in the waiting room, I was attacked by a killer hot flash and nearly broke my front teeth, just trying to wriggle out of my pullover compression jacket without using my hurt wing. (MSers: Feel free to chime in here about the sorts of things that can happen to us when we overheat.) A kind stranger lady stepped in to rescue me from the errant garment by holding and gently pulling the sleeve on my good arm till I freed it and coaxing the thing over my head.
It’s a fair bet she’s somebody’s mom.
Whew! That was better.
Once I was inside the ER unit, the staff sent me straight for x-rays, which revealed a broken wrist. Now I have a clunky cast. So much for wearing those festive long-sleeved holiday clothes.
I’m not exactly old-hand at doing life one-handed. At least, I didn’t hurt my writing hand. But did you ever try putting on socks (or other stuff), opening water bottles, buttoning shirts, combing out long hair, or typing with one hand? One might say just about every daily task takes some extra elbow grease when one arm is tied … well, you get the picture.
Seeing the ortho in a bit for follow-up. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the doc won’t suggest surgery.
And, right about now, I wanna thank the person who invented holiday gift bags.
Public domain artwork
Runners tend to be a competitive sort, and trail runners are no different. That’s one of the things that make this story so special.
Last weekend, I participated in a trail race. (I am trying to stay more active this winter, even though MS tends to ramp up for me at that time of year.) The event included a 6+ mile run and a 3+ mile hike – both on loopy, hilly, rutty, muddy, woodsy trails. Fallen branches, unearthed tree roots, bubbling creek crossings, slippery rocks, and steep inclines were everywhere. It was a fun challenge.
At least, it started that way.
About 1.65 miles into the thing, a new running friend and I stumbled upon a small group of fellow entries, who were stopped. One of these young ladies had injured her ankle and could not put any weight on it. No one seemed to have a phone.
A few runners had already passed her, tromping along to complete the course.
As I pulled out my cell to call the race director for help, three of these ladies sprang into action. Two of them draped the hurt runner’s arms over their shoulders. The third picked up her legs and hung them over her shoulders. (I’ve never seen that done before, but it sure worked.)
Looking at the photos later, I am surprised that I did not notice the guy in the background earlier. He did not seem to have a race bib, so he may have been a random trail traveler.
Together, with a few scattered rest stops, the ladies carried the injured one almost a mile back through the rugged terrain. I went ahead a bit, trying to spot the not-so-nearby road through the trees and thickets and attempting (rather lamely, if you will) to pinpoint our location. Finally, I stomped through the brush to wave down the rescue truck, and we were able to load the girl into it.
Just gotta love finding folks who are willing to step out of a race and help someone who needs it. A few of those ladies apparently knew one another. The rest did not.
I do not know how the hurt runner fared afterwards. I have no idea whether her ankle is broken or sprained or what. I don’t even know her name. But I am proud of the fellow runners who came to her aid.
After the rescue, several of the ladies found their way back on-course and finished the race. My friend and I headed back to base instead. I broke a bone on the way back – not long after this incident. That’s another story … and another post.
Photos taken and copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson