Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Apparently they do it themselves

SK Waller asked what do they do for broken ribs. The answer is not much. There are no bandages or straps or wraps or flaps.

My Doctor in Finland told me not to lift anything and if I got dizzy or felt sick to call an ambulance immediately. He stressed immediately. He hinted at dire consequences. He mentioned Spleens.

He gave me some heavy duty pain killers.  These were fabulous and enabled me to listen to Led Zeppelin without the benefit of an iPod. I could  also hear individual snowflakes calling out to me as they fell.

I thought the Doctor might give me some literature or some other guidelines. Four broken ribs in the wilds of Lapland seemed like a big deal to me at the time. I mean he did consult two colleagues in another city before he would let me fly home. Apparently it is bad form if patients die on Finnair.

Maybe a brochure? Sure it would be in Finnish but given what I know now about the life threatening events that can befall a person with broken ribs - even pictures would help. 

You could show a man just about to sneeze. Just before he sneezes his companion clubs him over the head with a piece of firewood and renders him unconscious. You could show a woman about to look at a cartoon. Her companion tears this from her grasp and throws it into the snow. The universal signs for laughing, sneezing and coughing are marked with skulls and crossbones.

There is no need to do this for farting as it is simply not possible to fart when you have four broken ribs – no matter how much you would like to. Trust me on this one.

I mean you have to believe me when I tell you that had I known the consequences - I would not have sneezed – and it will be a long time before that memory fades.

It is amazing what you can do not to cough. I could train crowds at the Metropolitan Opera and performances would be undertaken with totally silent audiences. Most operatic and theatrical events these days are treated as cough-a-thons. The lights go out and everyone in the audience develops Tuberculosis and hacks their way through three acts of Faust. I could fix this. It is actually possible to not cough – not just for 3 hours – but for weeks at a time.

OK so who cares about Faust – indeed I hate Faust so much I would be happy for people to ring cow bells or bang tins drums through it – but it is the concept that is important – the self restraint – the ability not to cough – the inner strength available to all those with broken ribs.

I used to lay awake most nights in pain and worry about how the ribs would heal given that I could feel them moving about. They made extraordinary popping and burbling noises –and still do. I figured that if I lay really still they may knit a bit at night - but that when I started moving about they would surely part company again in the morning.

But I checked Google and various sites – including the Mayo Clinic – and all they say – rather mysteriously – is that the appropriate treatment is to let them be and they will heal themselves. Clever little blighters.

One of the reports I read said that more than 3 broken ribs at one time is potentially life threatening so on that basis  alone I am surprised that no mention was made of sneezing because that particular incident nearly sent me into another dimension. I was driving along the A2 at the time and the A2 and Billy Benz very nearly parted company. However - I dwell too much on what is really a trivial part of my otherwise wonderful existence.

I am indeed getting better and after the required time – which varies but seems to be somewhere between two and three months – I will be perfectly healed – or deformed – but no longer in pain. 


  1. I will be gentle with you Badger. I won't shake the pepper pot around too much.

  2. Yeah, there's not much to be done for broken ribs. So sorry :(

  3. stay away from Brussels Sprouts & Cabbage. If you can't vent you could potentially explode

  4. `I could also hear individual snowflakes calling out to me as they fell.'

    Nice blog

  5. Maalie: Thanks

    Jessica: Thanks also

    Glen: That was only for the first few days. I am OK now.

    Merlin: That is beneath you. Nice blog indeed.

  6. This post cracks me up. How did you write it and not laugh?

  7. Christina: Discipline and 4 broken ribs.

  8. Can I have some of your drugs? We have snow falling here.