The Accident and Injury Post


Isn’t it annoying when you give up riding because your back is crocked and then you end up in pain for the summer anyway?

I’ve been procrastinating about blogging.  So much to write! What would I prioritise? Would I make one massive post or a whole series of little posts? There’s the art side… there’s my horsey and expat life… there’s all the books I’ve read this summer… and on and on… I couldn’t make up my mind where to start!

And then a dear bloggofriend rattled my cage a little and woke me up. So here’s the first of a few. I’ll keep it short and sweet. Or maybe not so sweet.

Back in June, on my birthday, we went for a drive with a couple of young visitors. We had a nice day out, touring the Gorge du Verdon and Moustiers Sainte Marie. One of my favourite day trips.

Birthday photo on the Route des Crêtes

The LSH was driving home, I’d had a glass of wine with lunch (well, it was my birthday…) and I fell asleep, as often happens in the car these days.

He had to brake suddenly, and because I was asleep, my head jolted violently forward.  If I’d been awake, it would have been nothing, but nope, I’d given myself a good old whiplash injury.  The following day, there was pain down my right neck and shoulder and lots of pins and needles all down my arm.

I saw the osteopath pretty quickly but because the pins and needles were very slow to clear up, she suggested I visit the GP to get referred for an x-ray.

About the same time, I started to have pain and swelling in my left foot. The sort of thing that would be explained by tripping over something or stumbling and giving myself a sprain.  But nope, I hadn’t done anything dumb, I just had this mystery pain. So when I saw the doctor, he gave me a referral to get that x-rayed, too. He also gave me a referral for a course of physiotherapy, to work on my neck or lower back, as I saw fit.

I had to wait over two weeks for the x-ray appointment, so I got by with anti-inflammatories most days.

And then, a week before my x-ray appointment, I was forking hay into a feeder for the horses and I slipped on the sloping ground.  I fell over backwards and I remember thinking “This is gonna hurt” as I went, because I expected to land on my already fragile lumbar area. But the telegraph pole that’s a support for the roof of the field shelter made contact with my mid-back before I hit the ground with my butt.  It broke my fall, so to speak, and most probably did save me from further damage to my lumbar region. However, the pain in my back was such that I immediately thought I’d probably broken a rib.

So I did what all sensible horse people would do in similar circumstances.  I carried on feeding the horses. Well, someone has to feed them and it’s my job, after all!  And I know damn well that there’s nothing can be done for a broken rib.

Feeeeed me!

That was my last day of work before four days off (I job-share), so the LSH kindly came with me that evening and did the heavy work.  I figured that four days of rest might sort me out. If it was not a broken rib.

I started back after the four days and ended up struggling around, with the pain steadily worsening. Forking hay and carrying buckets is about the worst thing you can do with a damaged rib. To make matters worse, the LSH was away for a couple of days, so I had no-one with me to do the heavy stuff.

Day two of back-to-work and I felt even worse. Every step was painful, even when I was maxed out on anti-inflammatories. My x-rays were scheduled for the following day. Could I get my GP to add a mid-back x-ray to the menu? Nope, he was away on holiday.  Oh well…

Plan A was to ask if the x-ray clinic would do it without a prescription.

Plan B was to take myself off to Urgences if they wouldn’t.

Plan B it was… The treating doctor poked and prodded, I reacted in a manner which implied I had an injured rib. I had more x-rays, which showed that I hadn’t punctured a lung (no surprise there); I hadn’t a displaced fracture; in fact no break showed up at all. But most likely there was a crack, the doctor agreed, just too small to show up on the x-ray.

He signed me off work for a week.


The girl I job-share with is recovering from a significant injury and, like me, needs her rest days.

Alexandrine has just had cruciate ligament surgery.

Her sister who sometimes steps in has just injured her neck and back (trampolining!)

There is no-one else who knows all the tweaks and knacks involved in feeding the 35-odd horses.

I ended up taking two days and then went back.

It seems to be improving, but oh so slowly.

Oh yes, the other x-ray results.

I have a mild scoliosis, arthritis and 2 compressed nerves in my neck, old wear and tear, but exacerbated by the whiplash. And my neck should not be straight like in the pictures – that’s probably the whiplash.

The physiotherapy is ongoing. (I love the medical system here – it’s all covered on my social security.)

Nothing to see in my foot.  It’s all better now, but it was a weird one in that it behaved exactly like a minor break, even in terms of healing time.

Arty post to follow shortly.



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