Fractured Mindset

Four weeks ago, my oldest son got a hoverboard for his birthday. He tested it out in the house, and my husband and I did, too. We then took to the front street to try it some more, and my son quickly got the hang of it. I was brave (or stupid!?) and also hopped on outside. I wouldn’t say that I was good, but I wasn’t terrible either. As I looked backwards to talk to one of my neighbours who had spotted us and came out to see what we were up to, I tried to get off the hoverboard by taking a step backwards which I think was my second terrible mistake (the first one being getting on that thing in the first place). Before I knew it, the hoverboard went flying forward and I fell backwards, landing super hard on the left side of my bottom and both of my wrists which were extended behind me to break my fall. I got up, shook it off, but quickly realized I wasn’t as okay as I thought. I started feeling dizzy and had to sit down to regain a bit of strength. I eventually went back inside and sent my husband outside to watch my son who was still at it. I iced my wrist and hoped that by the morning, I’d be okay. I didn’t sleep that night, or the night after that.

Long story short, it took over a week for me to get confirmation that my elbow was in fact fractured. The many x-rays that I got done showed that my wrist was fine, but blood was obstructing the x-rays at my elbow joint, so I was told to keep my arm stable in a sling and to come back for more images the following week. So, 10 days after the incident, I found out that my arm was broken and that I’d need a cast. Brutal, I thought, with summer just around the corner. Truth be told, though, I was relieved because my arm was in quite a bit of pain, and every time I moved it the wrong way, the pain brought tears to my eyes — “but if I don’t move it, it’s fine” is what I kept telling everyone. I headed to the clinic where my doctor sent me to get my cast, but once again, I was told that I’d need more x-rays and that I’d need to see the doctor there before anything. I jumped through some more hoops only to have this doctor tell me what I already knew: my elbow was fractured. This doctor, however, told me that it was best if I didn’t get it casted and instead started physio therapy right away to work on my range of motion.

This should have been thrilling news… but it wasn’t.

Why? Well, it’s ridiculous really. I felt as though my injury wasn’t as valid without a cast. Would people think I was overreacting? Would parents be annoyed that I missed some work for a broken arm that doesn’t even need a cast? Would people think that I lied and that my arm isn’t even broken? But my arm is broken… that should be proof enough. And the pain I felt was (and continues to be) real. Instead of thinking I’m pretty amazing for doing remote learning with a broken elbow, I am so tough! I thought, my arm is seriously hardly broken, I’m such a baby!

I’m weird like that, though. I also react this exact same way if I miss work and head to the doctor thinking I have strep throat only to find out it’s “just” a cold. As if that’s not reason enough to take a sick day. It makes me feel weak.

This whole situation got me thinking… this is my mindset when something is legitimately physically wrong with me. There is proof of my fractured bone. There are many X-rays that show the crack near my elbow joint. Every time I rotate my wrist, bend or extend my arm, there is pain, there is resistance. It doesn’t get much more black and white than this. Yet, I still doubt. I still feel weak. And I still feel guilty.

It’s no wonder anything related to mental health is astronomically harder. Nothing about it is black and white. And the doubt, weakness, and guilt that accompanies it is so much heavier.

I need to work on this, all of this. Why do I care so much about what others think? Why do I feel weak when I know I am strong. My mindset is fractured far worse than my elbow is. And I’m certain I’m not alone.

ps – If anyone is curious, my elbow is slowly getting better. I’m now able to type at the computer without any pain. I would say that my range of motion is at about 90% right now, but there is still pain and resistance as I push to rotate, extend, and bend my arm. I go back for more x-rays on July 8th and the hope is that by then, the break will be fully healed and I will be able to start a bit of strength training. Until then, I can still run, but no biking, no rollerblading, and certainly no hoverboarding (EVER AGAIN!) Basically, I can’t do anything that would lead to the possibility of me injuring myself further since my elbow is not protected right now. Every day gets a little better, so I will just keep going to physio and doing my exercises. Who knew broken bones could heal without a cast? Because in case you needed a reminder, Annick, a broken bone is a broken bone, regardless of if you need a cast or not. 🙂


  1. Randi Pilon

    June 14, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Mme Annick.

    I loved your message. I used to be a Certified Hand Therapist. I worked with many people who didn’t need a cast but had extreme amounts of pain or upper extremity mobility issues. I love that you point out the unseen mental health challenges but this also include those with physical pain that you can’t see. Chronic pain, nerve pain, tendon and ligament pain all can be excruciating and just made worse because others can’t “see” the injury.
    This can impact and take away a persons sense of self. Self worth, self awareness and self confidence.

    I want to thank you for always listing and believing your students. This sense of self starts a young age. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world that we didn’t feel like we had to prove our pain?!?

    1. Annick Rauch

      June 15, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Randi! Thank you so much for your comment and your kind words. Your last question is spot on! Prove our pain… justify our everything. Working on it, as I’m sure many of us are.

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