Content Warning: This post contains the story of broken bones.
The moment is almost a blur. I’m coming across the ice, music playing overhead, makeup done, costume on, and the judges are watching. I’ve run this program a hundred times which is why I don’t see this happening. One wrong step and suddenly I’m lying on the ice, my elbow throbbing. Everyone watching feels like they’re holding their breath.
But, I’m me and I’ve trained to perform since I was a kid. So after a quick experimental stretch of my arm (which hurts like hell if I’m being honest), I skate to where the music says I should be in the program and I continue skating. I have to finish this program. I need to pass this free skate test.
I bow to the judges, step off the ice shaking, and my coach takes me to sit down. After that, everything is a flurry of activity. People are asking me what’s wrong, they’re trying to help me with my skates, they’re asking if I want coffee to help with the shaking, and then the judges call me back onto the ice and ask me to re-skate an element. So I go and I do.
Then it’s back off the ice to try to get my skates off, find my stuff at the rink and get me splinted in a makeshift splint before heading to urgent care. I call my husband to let him know he needs to call a car and come get me since we only have one car and I have it at the rink and I can’t drive. And then the results come in. Somehow, despite my giant fall, I passed.
It’s a bittersweet feeling that washes over me. I’m elated because I passed, but I’m terrified because I’m pretty certain I’ve broken my elbow despite me hoping otherwise that I’ve only bruised it badly.
My husband arrives and takes me to urgent care and they confirm my worst fear. It’s broken. Badly broken and I need to go see an orthopedic specialist. I’m lucky enough to get an appointment the same day and I’m told that I’ve broken it so badly, I need surgery to repair it. Recovery time is three months and I doubt I’ll be allowed back on the ice before that.
A week after my fall, I have surgery on my elbow where it turns out the break was much worse than anticipated. My elbow is shattered. There are now 9 screws and 2 plates holding everything back together. But everything went well and I’m expected to make a full recovery.
It seems surreal to me. I was at my very first competition in a little over a year only a week before the fall. And suddenly, my competition season was cut short. But alas, life happens and we take the good with the bad.
It’s been a month since the surgery on my elbow, and a little over a month since my fall. Despite all the pain and frustration, things are looking up. Everything seems to be healing just fine and I’ve started physical therapy and my range of motion is coming back. I just keep reminding myself that I’ll be back on the ice soon enough. Keeping a positive attitude is helping my motivation to do my home exercises and follow all the doctor’s orders.
I hope you’ll follow along on my journey of recovery. I plan to write about it a little bit here. But, I’ll see you all back on the ice in the fall. #WeGetUp.