Understanding Helen

I broke my coccyx. Sure, I could say tailbone, but honestly, how often in life do we get to use the word coccyx? Yes, on Christmas Eve 2016 I experienced the full impact of the saying, “… like moving the furniture in Helen Keller’s house.”



On the night before Christmas Eve we all prepared for my first visit with extended family for the whole weekend:

Know that, like a true sister Kendra excels at seeing past my mess and makes herself at home in my apartment. She lived here with Cole and the boys, so she knows the layout and gets altered priorities (like saving rinsed dishes in the sink until it’s full and worth running water till it’s hot). Even so, Cole hiding Christmas gifts in my place put a slight hitch in my giddy up. For Christmas Eve-Eve Kendra and I planned some girl time together to wrap the gifts she also hid here. I moved small furniture around (including my desk chair) to give us space and lessen the chances of her seeing anything she shouldn’t yet.



With the altered routine and too excited to sleep well, I was slightly disoriented the next morning despite two world-class lattes. At one point I decided to chance having an internet signal to check the weather forecast and be certain I packed appropriately. Surprised to see I had a strong signal, and I’ll admit I got side-tracked, I took a moment to scan my inbox. I began easing myself onto the chair – that wasn’t there.

I’d give anything to have the video as my derriere kept lowering – long after it should have touched the chair that’s most always perfectly in place; the look of confusion-giving-way-to-panic realizing I was falling alarmingly fast toward the concrete floor, and then the hard bonk-jar and the ultimate, graceless bounce as my legs splayed before me.

Assured no one witnessed my ridiculous landing, I was glad to know my floor was clean enough that my lovely skid was without any annoying dust/soot residue on the seat of my black jeans. I realized the level of pain in my posterior forecast a very clumsy, inelegant present me to meet Kendra’s family.

Forever the writer, I quickly began giggling over the scenario, despite the agonizing bolts shooting from my nearly freezing fanny. I cautiously turned to lift myself from the floor.

I immediately decided to share the experience with Kendra, which actually required walking it off to the main house. Certain I’d fractured something, but delighted I actually could walk, I was giggling uncontrollably by the time I made the back steps. Stepping up with a more intense shot of pain I prayed, “Lord, please help me not throw a wrench into our Christmas and help me through this.” I imagined His perspective of my recent event and laughed even more.

Fortunately Cole was out checking the truck so that between us girls, Kendra soon fully understood what had happened. In rare form I poured on the humor. Despite her obvious concern she too began giggling as she poured a small coffee for me and laced it with some peach moonshine saying, “If your bags are in the truck this will help.”

They were and it did.

Roo & Kendra Christmas 2016

Roo & Kendra Christmas 2016

A week and three long days later, I’d confirmed nothing more could be done to help me. The hairline fracture pains me whenever I move, assuring I’ll often reflect upon Christmas in Washtucna and Sister-in-law’s concern. I explained why I moved so carefully. She understood my example clearly, “… You see, changing my routine can have the same effect as moving the furniture on Helen Keller…”

I was glad that by the time most of us sat at the large dining table playing Nerts, no one was troubled by my stance at the end of the table, or my audible groans each time I reached across it, alternating legs stretching out behind me for balance as I slammed my cards for points (we’re all serious card players). Aside from being especially careful navigating down the stairs to my room and despite the pain it was a wonderful weekend.

Though I never won a single game, I’m content with the abundant holiday blessings. Sure, I could have slowed down enough to look or feel for the chair in its usual place, but then again the fall could have done far more actual damage than it did. I thank God for humbling me – and slowing me down dramatically. Then there were the extra calories I burned standing and walking rather than sitting. Pain also forbade me from risking the frozen steps to tour the chicken house as the youngsters ski boarded the surrounding wheat fields.

washtucna-1 washtucna-2

As I turned 55 I lived in and worked for a 55-and-over community. Over those few years I often witnessed the damage a slight trip or fall can cause aging bodies. Granted, I have 7 – 12 weeks of discomfort to look forward to, but I clearly I am blessed and much better off than I have any right to be. Slightly less nimble than I ever was, but abundantly blessed.

Besides, I can now play the sympathy card at my discretion.



“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2-4 (NLT)

*Images courtesy Pixabay

Donut pillow image courtesy Amazon



Filed under Notes from the Apex

24 responses to “Understanding Helen

  1. Pingback: Stove Up | What Next: Behind Roo's Ruse

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  4. Hope you are feeling better. I hurt mine falling down the stairs years ago. I remember well how much it hurts. Hope the pain has lessened for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That happened to a friend. It was awful for her. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Roo. I was perusing old pposts from my blog and was astonished to note that you had commented way last January and left your email. I then had promptly forgotten about it… My sincereapologies, my face is red! I followed that comment to your growing blog pposts today and have been read a few. I am glad to see you are writing and in the NW– and that your recent new home is one you are settling into!
    I’m sorry to hear about your fractured coccyx–such a trial. I will cheer you on in your recovery and keep reading your posts, as I am following your blog to see what develops next in your life. Blessings–a year late but well meant.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had the same experience many years ago. Someone pulled the chair out as I was sitting down. They thought it was funny until I couldn’t get up. I thought I had broken my tailbone and may have but most likely it was just fractured. The pain eventually subsides.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear that Eugenia. The hairline fracture & bruising slowed me down considerably, but that’s not necessarily bad. I’m also amazed at how common it is. Least to mention how much worse it was for several friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Fortunate you could see the humor in the situation and had the fortitude to make your Christmas pleasant in spite of the pain. May your coccyx heal rapidly. (Well, it looked like a fun word to use.) My post yesterday concerned that James scripture. https://onetahayes.com/2017/01/04/ill-count-it-all-joy/ If you have time. It’s short.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. No doubt, you were the butt of many jokes. I hope you heal quickly and are soon out of pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ouch! I hope your butt heals quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

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