How to Fracture Your Elbow, in Three Easy Steps

Step 1

Follow your usual nighttime routine. After everyone is in bed, get a cup of water for your nightstand, turn off all the lights in the house, and make sure the front door is locked. Proceed to the front door in the dark, since you know your way around the house very well, thankyouverymuch.

This is key: Forget that a very large, very heavy box was delivered today, and is likely still sitting in the entryway, a few feet in front of the front door.

Step 2

Trip over aforementioned very large, very heavy box. Realize that you are unable to get your feet back under you because the box is too big. Insanely clutch that cup of water, because spilling water would be undesireable.

Step 3

Catch yourself — all your weight, all your momentum — on the front door with your right arm. Attempt to hold yourself up with that arm while gravity insists on pulling you down. Also, drop cup of water as the pain makes you forget everything around you.


There you have it. That’s all it took. I’ll save you some of the gory details, but between the impact and the battle between my arm and gravity, I managed to fracture my elbow (technically a “radial head fracture”), sprain my wrist, and damage all sorts of things in between my wrist and elbow.

It happened in about one second, and has drastically impacted my life over the last three weeks…and for the foreseeable future. I do not recommend following the above steps in your own home. At all!

I am not a screamer. When I get hurt, I’m more the type to grit my teeth and mutter incomprehensible things under my breath. But that night, I yelled. I woke Chad up, I made C.(13) run out of his room to see what in the world was going on. It was out of character for me, but in hindsight, was understandable. My orthopedist has declared my injury “significant,” so some yelling and some tears were certainly justifiable.

Three weeks in, I’m hanging in there. There has been a whole lot of pain and discomfort, and I’ve lost a huge amount of the range of motion in my right arm (can’t straighten it and can barely bend it past 90 degrees). I can do very, very little with my right arm at this point .

And I may or may not need surgery. Elbows are apparently notorious for being difficult. At any point during the healing process, the bone parts could displace, resulting in a need for surgery (essentially replacing the end of the fractured bone with some prosthetic part). At the one-week mark, it had been healing well, but the doctor said that just meant “no surgery…yet.” Today, we’ll take another look.

In the midst of this whole ordeal, there have been some very bright spots. God’s grace is abundant, and I’ll blog more about those bright spots another day.

I will say, though, that I know my injury did not catch God off guard. The day I was born, He knew that at age 38, I’d have a painful encounter with a door, and would struggle with pain, discouragement, and questions, while finding myself thankful for His grace and faithfulness, and the kindness and help of others. I firmly believe that He weaves things together for His glory, and for the good of those who are His. I pray that my eyes and heart would be open to what He has to teach me.


  1. Aw, honey. I’m SO sorry! I broke my elbow many years ago…basically popped that little funny bone nub off and caused my elbow to dislocate. Surgery required to bolt everything back together but good as new 10 wks later with some PT. Hang in there. (((hugs)))

  2. The story! Wow.

    You summarize well. It’s not fun. It hurts like heck. But God knew and this is one of those refining moments. I’ll be praying that your elbow heals up wonderful withOUT the need for surgery! This is definitely a journey and a struggle. Grace and peace be yours. Praying!

  3. OUCH! I’m sorry you’re going through this and hope you don’t need surgery. Sending healing vibes your way!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this. : ( My husband broke his elbow about 4 years ago and had surgery – he was up and going again in no time but I hope for your sake that you don’t have to do that!

  5. Graywolfie says:

    Oh dear..hope u are feeling better..
    Praying for u..

  6. Oh wow. Are you right-handed? I tend to to check the doors at night in the dark, too, because I know my way around — maybe I shouldn’t do that any more! And I would do the exact same thing trying to keep the water from spilling. I’m so sorry you’re going through this but glad there are bright spots and grace alone the way.
    Barbara H.´s last post ..The Week in WordsMy Profile

  7. So glad you don’t’ need surgery.. yet.. I hope it stays that way! Sounds like quite a painful injury! I hope you heal up quickly!!
    Lindsay @ Bytes of Memory´s last post ..Naked Pasta NightMy Profile

  8. I’m glad that you realize God’s presence and His sovereignty, but so very sorry that this happened to you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — accept help!!! I hope that you have some friends there who don’t listen to you as you say you don’t need it and who are stepping in to help you anyway.

  9. Wow, how awful! Sounds rough…and painful. But you need a good story! Nothing as mundane as tripping over a box. Maybe hang-gliding or rock climbing? ha ha Hope you heal quickly. My son just hurt his knee last week – same sort of thing – just running and twisted it or something. We are also waiting to find out if he’ll need surgery – should hear his MRI results today or tomorrow.

    Anyway, I hope your elbow heals quickly and without surgery.

    At least you have good books to keep you company while you heal!


  10. So sorry about the pain but your testimony is helpful to all who want to see God at work in their life.

  11. ouch! You know you are never alone no matter what God really does know

  12. I hope you get better soon. Odd accidents do happen. The night before last, my son stepped on his knitting needle. It went 6 inches into his foot, and only stopped because it went into the ankle bone. He had to have surgery to remove it. He is in a cast now up to his knee, so he doesn’t move his foot at all. Trust me, strange things happen.

  13. Wow, that whole experience seems extremely painful. Actually made me cringe while I was reading it! I pray that you don’t have to have surgery!
    Mimi´s last post ..Marvel’s The Avengers LEGO PosterMy Profile

  14. Ouch! So grateful for the Lord’s grace in ALL our afflictions! May He grant you a quick recovery!
    Lisa writes…´s last post ..On parenting a pre-teen and the survival thereofMy Profile

  15. Oh ouch! Praying that your poor elbow will be fully healed and mend quickly with no lasting negative effects!

  16. Praying for a quick healing and for the pain. A couple of years back I walked “quickly” (key word) into our school office. My left foot caught the metal strip that anchored the carpet down and my ankle flipped. I heard the crack as did the secretary. I kept asking God why. It made me slow down, not just physically, but made me slow down and take time for God. Seems I’d gotten real bogged down at school and had let my morning time with the Lord slip. He provided me with the time. There is always a reason for things. Maybe God wanted you to know how much others care for you, and love you. You are loved.

  17. So, if God is this all great thing worth praising… Why didn’t he fix your elbow for you? Hm, guess we should rely and put our “faith” in real things and people (like the doctor who helped you) and not worry about fairies and such. Well, I guess that’s just what rational people would do, what do I know.

  18. o i am sorry

  19. sorry honey hope you get well

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