Skid pans and broken bones

funny-polar-bear-pic-img121It’s that time of year again. It’s that type of weather again. It’s February.

For us northern dwellers, February is usually the coldest time: the time for ice, snow, icicles, frosty noses and cold fingers.

However, for many people, February is a nightmare. The footpaths are skating rinks and for the unsteady of foot, going outside can be hazardous. Hence the selling out of those little rubber soles with nails in them that you can attach to the bottom of your shoes in order to get a good grip on the ice.

They are a must: but some of us only learned this the hard way. The very hard way.

Nearly exactly two years ago, Sir Pe was working late and caught the bus home in one of the worse snow blizzards ever. On that fateful evening, he got off the bus at about 10 pm. I was fast asleep when suddenly I was rudely awakened by my mobile ringing next to the bed.

“I’ve broken my leg,” was all I heard. Remember that I was in a deep sleep only seconds ago, so it took a few seconds to register that it was probably Sir Pe on the phone.

“You what?”

“I’ve broken my leg.”

“Where are you?” I wondered why he hadn’t phoned the ambulance but was phoning me.

“I don’t know.” Ah – hard to call for an ambulance when you don’t know the name of the street where you are. In between passing out, he vaguely described where he was. I threw on some trousers underneath my nightie and put on my winter jacket over my dressing gown and made a dash for the car.

I could hardly see a thing: the snow was whirling around creating a big vacuum of whiteness. I left the kids (then 3 and 5) asleep, and prayed that they wouldn’t wake up. I then went out in search for my husband and actually found him pretty quickly.

There was no street sign. So, in the end, I knocked on a nearby house, briefly described the situation and asked her what the name of the street was. This marvellous lady phoned the ambulance with the names of two nearby streets and came out with blankets for the shivering Sir Pe. It was a cold minus 13 C, the pavements were treacherous underfoot, but he had somehow managed to haul himself onto his rucksack. When the ambulance didn’t arrive within five minutes, she phoned again. They arrived and very nearly went bottoms up themselves on the icy street as they tried to lift Sir Pe onto the stretcher and carry him into the ambulance. I had to rush home to the kids, but he didn’t notice as he had passed out again.


Sir Pe does things in style and defied the doctor who told him he would be running by that summer. He broke his foot in seven places, has ten metal plates in his leg and often sets off the metal detectors at airports. The bones never set properly and after three operations, it is pretty clear that he will never run again. And will probably always need his stick to get around.

It is amazing to think how the earth can shift under you in a split second – and how that can then go on to change the direction of your life.

Think about that for a second. And then take a few minutes to appreciate all the good things that you do have: be it your health, your family, your friends. A roof over your head and food on your plate. Or even a whole service of dinner plates in your leg.

23 thoughts on “Skid pans and broken bones

  1. First time in Sweden I fell on my arse 8 times in one morning, until my husband finally told me there were these things I could attach to the bottom of my shoe to ensure I wouldn’t fall over. Bastard.


  2. Ouch!!! Yup, in just ten hours and two minutes it will be exactly two years since that fateful night.

    I wonder how long it will take the insurance company to cough up some disability compensation – probably another two years :-p .


  3. I think we need some of those rubbery thingies here in England!! Well cool, one up from everyone around me!


  4. Having taken more than my fair share of spills, and unfortunately not always due to blizzard conditions, I should probably get myself a pair of these grippers and wear them year round. Of course, I would then trip, fall and impale myself on the shoes.

    The most remarkable thing about this story – the busses were running!? Whoa! Down here in Denmark and back east in Rhode Island (where I lived previous to my expat adventure) the slightest hint of snow sends all public transportation running for the sheds. Which means I have spent way too much time trudging home through snow storms. And falling a lot.


  5. I’m still in shock from reading that it was -13. I just can’t imagine how cold that must be.

    Anyway you intrepid old thing – I got a good idea of your anguish and fear that night you went in search of Sir Pe. How quickly indeed all our lives can change in a nano-second. I could never live where you do – I fall over on light snow, never mind hard core snow. How unfortunate his leg has never healed properly – does it hurt still?

    (if you want to find out what happened with me and the gloves and the law, I’ve put the story in the comments section now – didn’t want people thinking I’d stolen them from someone)


  6. Oh my goodness! I read most of this post with my hand clamped over my mouth. Whenever I read things like this, I always think about what this scenario would have been like in the time before cell phones. I’m glad that you were able to find him out there in the cold and dark – how scary that must have been! And I’m so sorry to read that Sir Pe still has trouble with the leg today.


  7. How awful for him and you! That would be very frustrating to be told you could never run again. Can he do any biking?
    Be careful on that ice and yes those rubber “cleets” you strap on your shoes are a must!


  8. This is why I eat extra chocolate in winter-I need the padding on my bottom in case I have a spill- poor Sir Pe ! (and I do have a pair of those rubbery spiky shoe things, but most of the time I just risk it).


  9. Life does turn on a dime, as they say. I am sorry that he is still feeling the problems from such a bad accident. Thank goodness he had a cell phone with him that night. How shocking for you to get that call.

    We have something for sale here, it looks like a stretched spring that crosses over the bottom of your shoe, no impaling yourself, they are elastically and easy to put on and off. I wonder if you can get them in Sweden.

    On a lighter note! Yes they are snowdrops, and it is a sheltered sunny spot, we are the ONLY spot in Canada to have them!!!!

    Regarding your comment on my blog about Blotanical, [maniacal laugh!!!] oh you just wait! Once you discover Blotanical, your life will change……Haaaaaaa haaaaaa hahaaaa.

    Free time? Ha.



  10. Braja: Bet he was laughing his head off! The rotter!

    Sir Pe: Happy second anniversary to your foot! 😉

    Mother of the cousins: They are really meant for shoes. How would you get them onto your bare feet?

    Archaegoddess: Denmark is like England – everything skids to a halt at the mere mention of snow. It snows a lot in Sweden, so takes much more for the buses to stop running.

    FF: Yes, it was scary. Thank goodness for cell phones! Have read about your adventure with the gloves!

    Dog geek: Yes, it was horrific. But thank goodness for the age of the cell phone.

    Amy: Biking and swimming are good for the leg.

    Alice: Yes, it was scary – for both of us.

    Hayseed: Extra chocolate is a must! Even in the summer…

    Jen. I’ve got a pair of those tracker thingies – the springs you wrap round your shoes. I daren’t try Blotanical – you temptress you!


  11. Lady Fi!! I am honored you have signed on to FOLLOW me. You are a writer extraordinaire and I love that I found YOU and can follow. Welcome to my world. I think we’ll have fun together because you know I mentioned we might have been separated at birth.

    WHAT a harrowing experience with your husband. You’re right about our worlds changing so rapidly and thank you for the reminder to stop and appreciate all we have. I hope Sir Pe continues to see improvement despite evidence to the contrary. Perhaps his stick will become a mere accoutrement to make holes through crowds and open doors for himself before he even gets there!

    THANK you again. 😀


  12. Can’t believe it’s been 2 years, Pe! I guess you can use the stick in the same way House does (i.e multi-purpose)


  13. Good lord… what a scary story. I can’t even imagine how he must have felt, what you must have felt. I’m amazed it worked out as well as it did … sounds like with just a few changes, things could have gone in a very different and dark direction. And that he can never run again and had such a bad fracture …yikes. I feel such sympathy.

    Does make you appreciate all that is right in life. Thanks for the reminder.


  14. From one limper to another..Sir Pe..all really wonderful people limp a little now and then..I do not use a stick yet..but they are so distinguished looking when men use them! I am sorry that you had to suffer through this ..and I totally understand your pain and frustration. Lady Fi, you saved the day!! A lady in a nightgown:)


  15. Robynn: My twin! You’re welcome! And watch our for those gophers.

    Meg: Totally overrated.

    Po: Hope you aunt’s break is a nice simple one.

    Kata: Yes – a stick can be good in a crowd.

    Jenners: Lucky I found him quickly as it was pretty cold. And not many people walk in that off the track alley.

    Far Side: To the rescue I sped lightly,
    Lady Fi in her nightie!


  16. Ouch… my mother did the same thing a few years ago. We are a slippin & a sliddin over here too… I have been wishing for snow all winter… (be careful what you wish for…) it has been snowing non stop for severla hours now. Happy Friday!


  17. oh my goodness. What a scary night for you…
    but how lucky Sir Pe is to have such a good nurse/wife!!! :o)

    I have fallen a few times already this season, but so far, just my tailbone and pride have been bruised.


  18. I read the story and thought..THANK GOODNESS for mobile phones, because I cannot imagine what may have happened if your hunsband couldnt have called you for help!!!.

    Yes unexpected things happen in life and we have to keep adapting and changing.

    Best wishes Blu


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