My Life As A 3-Year-Old

It’s been 2 weeks {my, how time flies when you’re having fun} since my bike crash when I broke my collarbone.

In the blink of an eye, I regressed from a highly active and independent woman of mature years to life as a 3-year-old.  The abrupt transition has not been easy.  I’ve been stubborn and determined to continue life as usual only to be confronted with a general lack of ability.

It’s been one big reality check.

Misha - kitchen
(1991)    I think I can, I think I can …


Right from the start, I insisted on showering – on my own.  It’s been painstakingly slow – key word is “pain” – but I’ve managed in an *approximate* kind of way.

Drying off has been a completely different challenge.  Have you ever tried to dry yourself with one arm … while keeping the other shoulder as immobile as possible?

I eventually had to give in to being helped because I knew getting dressed while wet wasn’t going to be pretty.

Jordan - bath
(1986)     I guess I have to trust you …

Getting Dressed

Having someone else dress you is – well, humbling.  Toss in an extra large serving of frustration and you’ve got the right idea.  Now I understand why 3-year-olds get rather grumpy while being dressed.

For years I’ve half-joked that I needed to stay healthy because Gilles would have no tolerance or patience to handle an invalid.   I imagined Gilles sticking me out on an ice flow when I was no longer able to care for myself.

ice hut
Photo from

Happily, it seems I’ve badly maligned this poor man because he’s been a saint.  (shhh … I don’t really want him to know I said that).

I have issues with labels and seams being “just right” otherwise I itch and fidget … not to mention the velcro on the shoulder harness I have to wear while the bone is healing. Not once has he been less than accommodating to the various adjustments and corrections needed … although I suspect he’s rolled his eyes a few times behind my back.

Yesterday however, was a major milestone day – I could dress myself!  {Wild jubilation was heard throughout the land}

To sweeten it even more, I now have enough range of motion in my shoulder that I could finally zip up and button a pair of pants!

Misha - gymnastics
(1996)     No – not this range of motion.  Ever.

Perhaps there are some of you who would happily stay in sweats and yoga pants if given half a chance.  I’m not one of them.  I felt particularly conspicuous when out in public.  I think I’ll be less judgmental in the future about some of the attire worn by others.  One just doesn’t know the challenges they are facing.

I’m celebrating these victories as they happen.  True – I still can’t tie my shoelaces, but I’ll take any progress I can get.


I’m a poor sleeper – always have been – so it’s been a relief to discover I can, and do, sleep in spite of being stuck like a turtle on my back.  I can lie down just fine … but getting back up has been brutal.

(1992)      {sigh} … to be able to sleep on my side again.  Any side.


It’s been a trying time.  I’ve needed help with everything from cutting my food to buckling my seat-belt in the car, but mostly I’ve been frustrated at being held hostage at home because I haven’t been able to drive.  My body may be broken, but my need to be out-and-about hasn’t diminished at all.

I like to believe I’m recovering well, so surely it can’t be much longer before freedom comes again!

(1990)     I’m free!  I’m free!


  1. Awww…take care Joanne. Praying for your speedy recovery. I went through something like this last year and I can totally understand the frustrations. Take care dear Joanne


  2. Oh, you poor thing. I hope you get the full use of your arm soon. How frustrating it must be for you, I’m going to tie my left arm (I’m left-handed) up behind my back for the day, in sympathy with you………………… on second thoughts, having read your post, I’m now changing my mind, but I still sympathize with you.


    • Thanks Jean. I so appreciate the sympathy!! That expression “misery shared is halved” is so true 🙂

      The shoulder is getting stronger with each passing day, although I sometimes tend to get carried away and the ‘ouch factor’ brings me back to reality.

      … like typing on the computer. Can only do it in short doses 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad to hear of some progress there. i can’t imagine how tough it is on you to be so dependent. Kudos to Gilles, though…you must have accrued quite a few points through the years that he’s stepped in so brilliantly! And I’m quite happy to see your sense of humour hasn’t been affected by this accident….you’re still in fine form there. Love the pix of your little guys…though must say that one of the split hurts me just to look at!….like you, I can’t imagine being that flexible EVER!

    Hang in there, Joanne and keep counting the baby steps…since we’re talking about 3-year olds here, I’m sure you remember how fast those baby steps turn into bigger steps, leaps, and then bounds. I’m quite sure pretty soon you’ll be back out there and stirring up trouble again! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve lived with a frozen shoulder for a long time, and even that is painful. I can’t imagine how bad it is with a broken collarbone. I’m amazed (but delighted) that you can type, but not only type, share your pain with adorable pictures and platitudes to your loving Gilles. Three thumbs up to him, and four thumbs up to you, healing with dignity and a touch of humor. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are doing very well considering how frustrating it all is. I would have a hard time waiting for someone else to do something for me. I tend to want something done NOW (talk about a three year old 😊)! I remember When my mom got older, she had difficulty getting dry after showers. It was very frustrating for her as well. So I gave her a nice thick terry cloth robe that she could put on after her shower for a few minutes. She said it felt very luxurious and it helped soak up water on her back and legs. Then she could just throw it in the wash as needed. Hope you mobility continues to improve!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny – I was thinking about a nice terry cloth robe during the early days after my injury. Unfortunately my robe is an over-the-head version which of course I couldn’t do with a broken collarbone 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m lucky that the pain is actually very manageable. I have yet to take any of the pain killers I was prescribed at Emerg.
      My shoulder is doing a really good job of letting me know when I’ve done something stupid … like trying to get on my bike on the indoor trainer this morning. Mistake 😉


  6. I injured my shoulder once and it was so painful to get dressed! I couldn’t even hook my bra – I had to go buy the snap in front ones. Hope you starting “aging” soon!


    • I know what you’re saying. Actually for the first week, I couldn’t wear a bra at all because of the strap sitting on the shoulder.
      Things are getting better though 🙂


  7. The images you shared along with your narrative are fantastic.
    I totally understand how you’re feeling. I had my first broken bone when I was 35. I was 9 weeks in a full arm cast. After the first two weeks I was still in a lot of pain. X-rays showed the bones not staying together so I had to have surgery to have a pin put in to hold my wrist and arm bones together. 😦 I couldn’t drive, dress myself, or tie my shoes. I got a pass from my bank to sign my checks left handed. At least I could shop! 🙂
    You sound like your spirit is well which is key to healing! I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery!


    • I was particularly interested in your comment about the bones not knitting together. That’s something that’s been on my mind the past couple of days. It might sound kind of stupid, but I was wondering how do I know it’s actually healing?
      Based on your experience, it sounds like I can be certain because I can do more with less pain. Thanks! That was really helpful.

      Break0ing your dominant arm would be a serious handicap. I’m grateful it’s my left shoulder. At least I can do a lot of stuff.

      Thanks for the best wishes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. They say laughter is the best medicine, so it looks like you are on the right track. It’s impressive to see the strengths in our loved ones when we really need them to step up. Glad you have good help and wishing you a speedy recovery so you can get back to your active life!


  9. It is so easy to take good health for granted… until something happens. I had to laugh about your perception – and then the reality – of your husband’s care-taking abilities. I have wondered the same thing about what would happen if I had to rely on my husband’s patience and continued accommodations if something were to happen to me. I expect that there would be a lot of eye-rolling (hopefully all done behind my back). I’m glad to know that you are doing much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I popped over with the exact purpose of seeing how you were getting on since the wreck. Thank you for accomodating me. Ha!
    Seriously though, I’ve been thinking of you and wondering how you’ve been managing. Based on the cleverness of this blog post (SO clever!) and despite the many challenges, it seems you are doing okay.
    Very glad that you have such an able and patient caregiver in Gilles, and I’ll be hoping you gain your independence soon.
    Healing thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Laurie and glad you enjoyed my attempt at making this post lighthearted 🙂
      I appreciate the healing thoughts coming my way. They must be working because every day seems to be a bit better than the one before!


  11. So very sorry to hear about your injury!! As you know we see a lot of this type of injury here at the chiropractor Monelle

    Sent from my iPhone



  12. As a fellow side-sleeper, I can relate to your sleeping difficulty. If I stay too long on my back it feels like someone has punched me in the stomach. Glad to hear you’re making progress.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s funny that I don’t instinctively try to roll onto my side in my sleep. It’s just that in the morning my back feels really stiff and takes a while to loosen up again.
      Ahhh – aging. Got to love it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. All I can think of to say is “this too shall pass.” There are better days ahead, Joanne, but be kind to yourself in the meantime. Enjoy the patience and help of your saint.


  14. Aw, that’s such a bummer! I do not envy you with that whole shower, dry, dress situation. I stopped judging people a long time ago — when I worked at the hardware store — people up to their eyeballs in projects, they just do not care. That’s the only place I’ll go lookin all hectic, lol! Otherwise, I don’t wear houseclothes to the store or whatever, but I understand why people do. My daughter’s knee surgery comes to mind…Anyway —
    I love how you’ve been pleasantly surprised by your husband. I think that’s wonderful.
    I also love how you incorporated these old photos 🙂 So cute!


    • Glad you liked the photos. I sure wasn’t going to consider adding my own sorry image regardless of how impressive my bruises are!!

      I grew up in a small town where everyone knows everyone. My mother was highly opinionated on being seen in public looking “presentable”. That was been ingrained into me as a child and it’s stuck to me.
      Having said that, she still managed to roll her eyes at some of my wardrobe choices 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I get it, it must be both humbling and frustrating. But soon you’ll be back, and thankful for all kinds of strange little things we take for granted every day. I’ve never broken a single bone in my body, but a guy I dated for a while broke his collarbone in two places. He didn’t see the ice underneath the newly fallen snow outside the stairs … Took some time to recover from that one.


    • ouch!! That sounds like it was a nasty tumble!!
      You’re right, we do take so much for granted until we can’t do it anymore.

      I consider myself lucky though. In the grand scheme of possibilities, this was a relatively minor injury.
      Yesterday another cyclist was killed in Toronto … swerving to avoid a car that was about to cut in front of him. This stuff makes my heart hurt.


      • My husband’s son [lives in QC], has had two bad accidents (bicycle/car), but so far it hasn’t stopped him from continuing. He got lots of money from insurance both times. Right now, though, he’s got some unrelated (?) knee issues, so he’s been unable to bike this summer … to his great dismay.


        • Being sidelined by an injury is sooo frustrating. Hope his knee injury is resolved soon. They can be grouchy for a long time.
          Five years ago when I crashed, I said I would never ride again … but I did. This time, it’s just a question of how soon I can get back on! 😉


  16. You have made me grateful that I was (mostly) able to shower and dress myself even from day one. (Well, okay, I think it was probably day two or three before I attempted a shower. And my clothing choices were limited to tops with buttons and thankfully my …er …lack of bust meant I didn’t need to tackle certain undergarments.) I’m not one to handle being helpless either. And don’t you hate it when the menfolk rise uncomplainingly to the occasion? 😉

    The no driving thing. Oh, I hear you about the no driving thing…… Hang in there. It will feel sooooo good when you get back out there.

    Absolutely adore the photographs. Little boys. Sigh. I miss those.


    • Thanks – I thought the little guys did a great job of illustrating my story ❤

      I thought of you while I was writing this. With cracked ribs, I would have thought it would be so much worse. In fact, I was grateful I didn't crack any ribs on the fall.
      My biggest issue has been range of motion for the shoulder. The more it improves, the easier my life gets … well, not counting the lack of strength. Even doing up buttons initially was a challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I can completely relate to that as I had an injury last year. What a reality check it is! Your post brought it all back…..good luck and hope you are getting back to normal now.


  18. Love the fun photos, Joanne and it’s good to see that your sense of humour is still intact. So happy that your helmet did its job so well. There’s always something to be thankful for, isn’t there?


  19. I’m sorry to hear about your broken bone. (Ouch!) Does the injury pull you back from life around the edge? Perhaps it’s just a different vantage point for a couple months.


  20. It’s kind of amazing how useful all parts of our bodies are and how we kind of fall apart when one simple piece isn’t working right! (Yes, that’s why 3-yr-olds are so frustrated). I’m so glad you are seeing some progress and that Gilles is turning out to be a hero 🙂 Cute photos too. Your son(s)?


  21. Yikes! Glad you are healing well – losing mobility is the one thing I fear in old age. Not being able to dress or wash oneself must be horrible. I know how disabling it is just having sciatica now and again which fortunately only lasts a few days. Good to know your hubby is being a gem 🙂


  22. Love the photos that you selected to show your state of mind…perfect!

    Sadly, have to say that I’ve been there, done that in terms of what can’t be done with broken body parts. I feel for you on the not driving part. At least I could drive, though it was tricky.

    Isn’t it wonderful when the guys come through like champs when they’re needed!

    Keep making those milestones…each one is a gift. I am so grateful to be able to do most things though I have not been able to achieve normal even after seven months and am concerned that I may not ever get full recovery. At least I didn’t do something really stupid like lose a limb that is a really tough recovery…knock on wood.


      • I broke my hand tripping over a vacuum cleaner, breaking my fall on a door jam. 😦

        It happened two hours before my flight to see family over Thanksgiving. I debated on waiting until I arrived at my destination but opted to seek help in familiar ground.

        The break healed in average time but the adjoining fingers, though not broken were so badly impacted that healing has been very very slow. I can’t clench into a fist but I can type poorly, pick up small items awkwardly and do most everything else. All of those are huge milestones from taking ten minutes to pull up a pair of pants.

        I like you don’t like doing nothing and spent the next week helping my aunt move boxes around in her house. I just used my arm instead of my hand. 😉

        Thank god it wasn’t my right hand!


        • Ouch!!
          I’ve long known that bones normally heal without much fanfare, but it’s all the soft tissue that’s been affected by an injury that can take forever to get better.
          … and I can totally relate to taking 10 minutes to pull up a pair of pants. Going to the washroom took forever!!!

          I can’t imagine how much worse I’d be impacted if it had been my right shoulder.


          • It’s funny the little blessings we can take along the way.

            As awful as it sounds, sometimes our misadventures are what make life so very interesting.

            When I was teaching basic first aide to my 7-8 year old students, we had just begun the section of cuts and scrapes and you should have seen them…suddenly they were quite animated, showing each other the scars they got along the way and telling how they got them. It was hysterical to watch…they were comparing war wounds, lol.

            That makes you a very exciting person because you have LOTS of war wounds! 😉


            • So very true. I’ve often said that yesterday’s disaster is tomorrow’s really great story. Funny how even young kids have the same instinct to share “war stories” 😉


  23. This is a cool post Joanne and I feel good for you and the progress you’re making. I know what it’s like to need help showering, drying, dressing, etc. It is humbling but it is also very comforting to know that someone loves you that much. I wish you continued good progress,


    • It is comforting Dan. In a crisis, we really see the strengths and weaknesses in a relationship.

      It was a little bit scary at first because I’m not used to needing help and I felt pretty vulnerable, but I couldn’t have asked for more support and encouragement from my husband ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. You’re doing well (love the parallel photo essay 😄). Your thoughts about Giles putting you out on the ice floe is what I think about my other half. When I had some problems with my balance a few years ago and thought I was getting MS, he said, “Don’t worry, we’ll have lots of fun with me racing you around in your wheelchair”. 😂


  25. Oh Joanne I actually got teary reading this. Teary for your pain and teary for the love of a husband. Amazing to witness what our long time partners are capable of. Yippee to being able to dress yourself. I can only imagine how fabulous that piece of independence felt. Sending lots of positive energy, healing wishes and gentle hugs.


  26. I can dress myself without problems, just “the girls” are having a bouncy good time right now. I can not close my bra. My thumb seems to get better too, I could peel apples yesterday without spilling blood. Yippie 🙂

    I am glad you got some motion back; I am glad we both make progress.


    • hahaha! Up until yesterday, Gilles was doing up mine 🙂

      I know what a handicap it is to have a thumb not working. We really don’t appreciate what our body parts contribute until we don’t have the use of them anymore!!

      Glad you’re making progress too. Take care of that thumb – it’s important!!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. You have made a terrible mistake Joanne I would have been the one to push you out on an ice flow, LOL 😜 In my years I have had my share of broken bones and I learned you can’t just will the broken bones away. It’s a process of time combined with as you say some humbling to have other people help you. Trust me on this I am an Italian (aka thick headed).


    • bahahaha – glad I won’t be relying on you for my retirement home selection 😉

      … and yes, I’m getting regular reminders throughout the day from my shoulder when I’ve gone a little too far. I know the doctor said 6-8 weeks, but surely I can do it faster 😉

      See? I’m a bit thick headed myself … it must be the 50% Italian.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I don’t know how I missed your original post but I did- OMG I am so sorry!! I can fully relate to being incapacitated- as I broke my elbow and was out of commission for months. Hurray you can dress yourself- I celebrate with you as I have been there too. Take care and don’t overdo- sometimes the new found freedoms can lead us to think we can do more than we should. So glad you are on the mend ❤ ❤


    • OUCH! I cringed at the broken elbow.

      There are some injuries worse than others and I think in the grand scheme of things, a broken collarbone isn’t so bad. It’s not particularly painful as long as I don’t get carried away … which I tend to do on a regular basis.

      I’m just glad to be somewhat *normal* again. It’ll only get better from here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I love all of the very appropriate pictures and am in awe that you have your pictures so organized that you are able to illustrate this post! I hope you do heal quickly and with as little pain as possible!


    • Thanks Corina! Yay – someone appreciated my funky way of illustrating this post 😀

      … and I admit, I tend to be very organized – although if you saw my dining room table right now, you’d question that statement 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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