Your Idiot Injuries

I’m not a very adroit person. I have terrible balance, can’t dance unless I’ve been drinking and I’m exceptionally unobservant. While I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid really serious injury so far, I can’t help but feel it’s only a matter of time. Some highlights:

At age four or so, I climb up on a chair and brace my feet against the back of the chair and my hands against a table. The chair falls backwards and I fly back into the kitchen counter. Five stitches to the back of my head.

I’m about five and my cousin and I are dancing in her living room. I somehow flip over the couch from behind and smash my forehead against a coffee table. It bleeds.

In grade 5, we’re all out on the playground in the winter time. The playground is covered in wood chips to prevent injuries from falling off of the playground equipment. It does not, however, prevent injuries caused by tripping on a patch of ice and sliding knees first into one of said woodchips. Three stitches.

Grade 9 Phys. Ed, my friend and I are making a slow walking circuit around the gymnasium while we’re waiting for class to begin. Several boys are playing basketball and the ball is accidentally thrown toward me. I instinctively reach out to grab it, forgetting in the heat of the moment that I have no athletic ability. My right ring finger is sprained, although I don’t realize this for awhile so it gets nice and swollen and stiff.

Grade 10 Phys. Ed, we’re playing Capture the Flag with the Grade 12 Leadership class. I reach out to tag a boy running by, driving the same ring finger into his neck. It’s sprained again, although I remember the feeling from before and ice it quickly.

The summer before Grade 12, my dad sends me to the store for a bag of ice. I pull out of the parking lot of the convenience store but my RIGHT RING FINGER somehow catches on the steering wheel. I feel a little shift, and sure enough, it’s sprained. I blame my dad.

In May of 2007, I return from a trip with a brand new lucky four leaf clover tattoo on my right foot. Mother’s Day is approaching, so I offer to clean and wash my mother’s car for her. As I round the corner of the house in my flipflops, showing off my bright beautiful tattoo to the world, I catch my right baby toe on a (big, red, stationary) lawnmower. It stays nice and broken for a good long while, helped by the fact that I catch the same toe on someone’s bookbag while walking down the aisle in a class a couple of weeks later.

Last week, I woke up and my left middle finger was sprained. Um, okay. I guess I must have rolled over onto it.

None of these injuries are major. I don’t get major injuries. I get minor injuries that are made oh so much worse by the hopeless embarassment I feel when someone asks me what happened to my foot or why my finger is taped. So, share your ignoble stories of idiot injuries and maybe we can all feel a little better about ourselves! Just, y’know, don’t hurt yourself.

When I was about sixteen or so I was at summer camp not watching a movie one night. Most of the other campers were watching the movie, but I had seen it and it wasn’t very good, so I decided I would write a letter to my mom instead. The problem was it was rather dark where we were watching the movie, so I wrote the letter by flashlight. After I finished, I turned off my flashlight and stood it up on the table next to my letter. A moment or two later, I bend down to look at something on said letter by the light of the TV screen and BONK hit my head on the flashlight.

Before that moment, I thought “seeing stars” was just an expression. A lump started forming quite quickly right between my eyes and I had to go find my counselor and explain that I needed ice because I hit myself on the head with my flashlight.

I am very clumsy, so I trip and fall a lot. I still have a scar from when I was five years old, ran through the house, and fell down. The thing is, we lived in a trailer (mobile home, whatever) at the time, and these often have the air-conditioning vents in the floor. When I fell, I cut my right hand on a vent, and as a result, I have a weird little scar on my palm.

I was cutting something with a bread knife once, and didn’t realize till I looked at my finger that I’d cut it. Not very far, though; it was gross fun to show people, but healed without a trace.

When I was about ten, for some strange reason, I put my right middle finger down on the keep-warm element of a coffee maker. I had a perfect pillowy blister on that finger for a while.

When I was sixteen, I worked as a waitress in the dining services department of a nursing home. I was taking plates back into the kitchen and walked into a stack of full glass racks someone had stacked in the middle of the floor. I had a three-inch scratch and bruise on my leg–but my pantyhose didn’t even tear!

I was moving things into my dorm room my first semester at college and tripped on the little rise of concrete between the sidewalk and the concrete area right in front of the doors. I not only fell, I rolled, and sent soda cans rolling everywhere, as I’d been carrying a fridge pack of sodas in each hand. I was bruised for a good way down my left side, and ached so much that I couldn’t sleep without pharmaceutical aid for a week.

I once did the movie-scene move of not watching where I was going because I was watching an attractive person walk by–and walked into a tree. There were far too many witnesses for my comfort.

I also have great difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Age: 15 or 16

Goal: Burn a large symbol onto a sheet of plywood

Method: Draw the symbol with black powder and light it off

Result: Black powder ignites prematurely while my face is hovering over the plywood.


Fortunately I closed my eyes quickly enough to avoid any damage there. As it was, I merely suffered the equivalent of a moderately painful sunburn to one side of my face. Singed off my eyelashes and ruined what I’d been passing off as a mustache, and I had to get a haircut to remove the singed hair.

Once it was clear that I’d suffered no serious injury, the whole family — especially my dad — thought it was pretty funny.

I confess, I’m rather graceless. Twice I’ve stubbed a toe hard enough to break it and one of the times it also set off an acute gout attack. Just from a minor blunder. Sheesh. I have a few scars, but nothing really major. The biggest scar is on my leg, where some stitches ripped out. I didn’t realize it had happened till I noticed my foot was wet from my sock wicking up all the blood.

I’ve torn a finger and a thumb open to the bone. The finger was from hopping an 8’ cyclone fence and my finger got caught on one of the wire twists at the top as I jumped to the ground. Ouch. The thumb was a mishap hooking a trailer up to a hitch, and I had my thumb between the tongue and the hitch. Oops. There’s two scars on the back of my thumb and one on the inside that runs down into my palm and some small bone chips in the knuckle of that thumb, which hurts occasionally.

I once did a face plant on an asphalt surface. The left side of my face was like hamburger; I had a bunch of silt and stuff ground into the skin and they cleaned it with alcohol and a scrub brush. That was unpleasant. At the same time, I also got a small rock in my eye socket (it went under the eyeball and my sight is fine), broke my nose, and broke off both upper incisors. The broken teeth led to a root canal, which was two hours of dental torture once a week for four weeks in a row. I understand it’s way easier nowadays; my root canal was 40 years ago. My nose was never set, and I’ve had some problems breathing ever since. The day I did it all, I got home before my baby sister, once Dad finished getting me patched up. I hid behind the front door as she entered the house and jumped out at her, doing my best monster roar. I was 13, she was 6 and she saw this bruised, bloody, snaggletoothed thing coming at her in her house and she freaked. Dad was totally pissed, to say the least. Damn, 40 years later and it still makes me laugh!

There’s lots more, but those are probably my better ones.

I was in Long Beach, taking pictures of the Californian.

Eye glued to the viewfinder, I stepped in between the dock and the deck of the ship. My knee conveniently caught my fall when it wedged itself in the space between dock and deck. Ouch.

When I was around 16 my friends and I climbed into the substructure of a large bridge and then decided to rappel down one of the supporting towers using woefully inadequate ropes and zero proper technique.

When I started my decent my grip slipped and I started to fall. I was so high up, maybe 40 or 50 feet, that I was terrified to let go. This resulted in the ropes literally cutting groves into my palms and fingers as I slid down the ropes, clinging for dear life. . This lasted for about 10 or 20 feet but it was so gruesome and painful that I had to let go, knowing I would fall around three stories.

I landed on my feet on hard earth. The impact was tremendous and it felt like someone was turning my leg on and off like a light switch. One moment it existed, the next, it was gone. I couldn’t walk for a month and to this day my foot has a hump on the top, I walk with a slight limp, my knee sounds and feels like a pepper mill and I should really book another surgery.

I just posted this in the “scream like a girl” thread.

My ankles are very weak and I’ve sprained them more times than I can remember. The last time, and most serious, was four years ago. It was a skipping accident. Yes, that kind, skipping along a wooden boardwalk with a six-year-old, tra la la la la. The boardwalk was a little uneven. I hear a loud bang, like someone just dropped a pile of lumber on the boardwalk. Wait a minute, the sound came through my head, not my ears. I stop. My leg feels funny. The six-year-old wonders why we’re not skipping anymore. Her parents are behind, asking me if I’m all right. Their concern confuses me. What just happened?

Then I try to take a step. My right foot flops like it’s hanging on my leg by a scrap of skin. I can barely lift my toes. Odd, I’m not feeling any pain yet. According to the witnesses behind me, I didn’t lift my foot high enough on the swing forward stage of the skip and my foot hit a board that was just a smidge higher than the rest.

We were kind of in the middle of nowhere, so we had to keep going, me dragging my right foot like it was a dead body. It wasn’t too bad until I sat down and watched it swell like a balloon. My achilles tendon was functional again after a couple of months, but the normally concave shape just above my heel is now convex, full of scar tissue. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to rise up on my toes on my right foot again for as long as I live.

Warn your friends. Skipping can maim you!

I took a dry dive from a balcony because I was panicked by a thunderstorm ( the lightning was directly overhead and I was freaking) Broke a bone in my foot and didn’t realize it till the next day. Fortunately back in those days UNMH had a very efficient ER and it only took them two hours to put the cast on. Then I broke the cast by trying to walk on it and they had to put another one on. I limped for a long time.

When I was a kid I thought it would be fun to tease a pet gerbil. The gerbil didn’t think it was fun and sunk it’s teeth into my finger–and wouldn’t let go. I stared in horror at this animal hanging off my finger, wondering how I was going to get it loose. Finally it lost interest in punishing me but by then my finger look like I’d stuck it in a blender. I guess it served me right–I’d been warned never to tease animals.

More recently I stood on a chair with a wobbly platform while changing a light bulb. A concussion resulted which later lead to some interesting side effects (sparks before my eyes, weird buzzing sensations in my head.)

Pre-teen: Walking out onto the snow in the front yard, although my dad has warned me that it’s ice. Doh! I know snow when I see it. It’s ice, I fall, break my right arm, which doesn’t heal, which leads to it being rebroken. Fun.

20s: I slip on the steps going down to my flat and break my wrist, which doesn’t heal, leading to months of physio where the physiotherapist and I are both getting upset because the wrist just won’t bend and my doctor if convinced I’m “not trying”. No, the wrist doesn’t work because there is a huge bone spur, which leads to surgery and a metal plate.

30s: An argument ensues which causes a) a broken collarbone and b) the end of a relationship. Once again, a break doesn’t heal for me, leading to a bone graft and a nifty metal plate collarbone.

Anyone seeing a pattern here?

40s (one month ago): My dog is SO pleased to see me, he tackles me on the wet grass while I’m wearing flipflops, I fall and break my right elbow. I explain to the doc at urgent care I have healing issues, so I’m referred to an orthopedist. The good news is, a broken elbow will heal by itself. This is also the bad news, as it will hurt like hell whilst healing. I do point out that I don’t heal, either by myself, in plaster or whatever and am told that this injury is different than all my others (which didn’t heal) and not to worry.

Two weeks ago, I get xrayed and told it’s healing fine, but perhaps should be moving more (I am trying!). Last week, I phoned explaining that it won’t straighten, and I can’t bend it more than a right angle. No, don’t worry, I’m told.

I do worry, as I’ve never broken a bone that has healed properly and I can’t bend my elbow. Or straighten it. Or scratch my nose with my right hand, put my hair in a ponytail, sleep well or just about anything. I’ve an appointment next Weds and it will be interesting to see what the xray has to say. I dread months of physio ending up with “oh, our bad, yeah, it doesn’t work, let’s operate”.

  • pls send warm healing thoughts my way :slight_smile:

I have one of those Swedish style chairs that you kind of kneel to sit in. For the purpose of simplicity we can pretend it’s a small stool on wheels. I hadn’t been using it for awhile and so had been using it as a shelf to throw blankets on. And I hadn’t forgotten about this fact. I needed to retrieve something in that area of the room and thought I would just be stepping on a pile of blankets. But no I was stepping on the Swedish chair. Which rolled forward and also flipped over. This of course, was a slight impedance to my ability to keep balance and I went flying backwards and down. The back of my skull collided with the corner of my desk. Amazingly, I did not lose consciousness or even break the skin, though it was nasty sore for awhile. I guess I really do have a thick skull!

Earlier, when I was in elementary school, I had a massive crush on this older girl. She wore her backpack on one shoulder, so I thought it was cool and did the same. Also, I was a bit of a nerd, so I had a lot of books. And I never switched shoulders. Fast forward to the end of high school, I start noticing that on one side, my ribs stick out a little more, and my back muscles are tighter on one side. Despite switching to wearing a backpack on both shoulders, I still have muscle spasm all along my right side and asymmetry.

This one is an idiot injury mostly because it took me so long to figure it out:
In my adult life, I’ve never owned a comfortable desk chair. Not ever. After a while my butt aches dully. Even pillows on the chair don’t help, so persistent an ache this is. So, about a month ago I ordered a chair pad with gel inset. And then, only then, did it occur to me that maybe it’s me that’s the problem, not the chairs.

See, the night I graduated from high school, we had a chem free party. One of the activities was to go roller-skating. The rink sucks, because it’s bumpy. I hit one of those bumps, and landed square on my ass really hard. I ended up with a bruise the size of my hand, and it hurt terribly for the next couple of weeks. Sitting or standing up made it worse. But, then I forgot about it.

Did you know that skating is one of the most common ways to break your tailbone? Idiot.

None of these ended up in serious injury but I’m sure they would have made a funniest video show were there any video in those days.

Running down a hill to the beach in the dark I ran flat out into a tree. Somehow I must have sensed i was about to hit it. I threw my arms around it as though I was tackling the tree and only ended up winded. The other, non-tree-hitting runners were amazed.

Sitting on the bonnet of a friend’s car when he started the engine to drive off back around the corner where a party was. For a joke I told him to go with me there and he did. He drove nice and slowly and it was no problem until he started cornering. I proceeded to slide straight off. I figured it would be in poor taste to grab a wiper so I slid onto the road. I only suffered a little gravel rash.

Once I stuck my foot under the wheel of a moving car to prove that it wouldn’t crush my foot as most people believed. Afterwards someone pointed out “what if you were wrong and it did crush your foot to jelly?” That made me question whether I am as smart as I think I am.

Before playing a cricket match I was jogging over to the other team for the toss and upon reaching the fence I vaulted over it by putting one hand on the fence and swinging across it parallel to the ground. The fence was wet and as I reached the position parallel to the ground my hand shot off the fence and I was momentarily airborn. Due to a lack of aerodynamics I immediately hit the dirt instilling great confidence to our opponents.

About two weeks ago, I was teaching a class on Computer Basics. I was in the process of explaining what great things flash drives are, and then I was compelled to mention their biggest (IMHO) drawback, which is that when they are inserted into the USB slot, they form first-class first-class levers, prone to snapping right off if struck with sufficient force.

I chose to demonstrate this with my finger, which for some reason or other I didn’t manage to turn fast enough. So, instead of bending the direction the knuckle is supposed to bend, I bent it to approximately 75 degrees in a direction it clearly is not intended to bend.

It’s better, but still not 100%.

Dismantling the nose gear on a B727. I was in the standing in the wheel well, knocking out the pins that hold the gear in place. I thought we had everything supported properly, but as I knocked the last pin free. the gear lurched a bit, like it was about to collapse. I turned to run, forgetting I was still inside the wheel well.

Crushing aluminum beer cans on the forehead is easy. Aircraft, not so much.

I once cut myself on crunchy snow.

I climbed up the back of a high school play set and pulled it over on myself.

I didn’t actually get hurt when I cleaned out the gutters, drunk, while my husband held me by my shoelaces on the 2nd story roof, but really…if I fell, I would have totally deserved to die.

I inflicted an embarrassing injury on myself about a month and a half ago at my workplace.

I frequently need to access our data center, which has a raised floor due to all the cables. At the door I normally use to enter and exit this room is a two-step staircase complete with metal handrails on each side, to accommodate the raised floor.

So as I was exiting the data center on this day, I somehow missed the first down step and fell into one of the handrails, impacting the left side of my rib cage quite hard.

After a few minutes I really started to feel pain there, so I spoke to my manager, thus starting the workers compensation process (which is another topic entirely that I am not going to get into.)

I went to the clinic our workers compensation injury cases are required to go to and was diagnosed with a chest wall contusion and possible bone bruise. They sent me home with a couple cold packs and a prescription for an anti-inflammatory.

It was a little over a month before that spot on my rib cage went back to feeling normal.

The embarrassing thing about this injury was I’ve taken that little staircase I don’t know how many dozens of times without any incident and really without thinking about it, then all of a sudden for no apparent reason I miss one of the steps!

Ouch, you guys! Some of these injuries are awful! You’re making me feel downright lucky about mine. :slight_smile:

S3G prototype in Ballston Spa, NY. Age 22. This is basically a copy of half the engineering section of the USS Triton, used as a training platform. Because it’s based on an authentic submarine hull, it has low overheads. Everywhere. And everyone points them out to newbies, because eating the overhead is a bad thing. So, I’m doing drills in the Engineroom Lower Level, and for some reason I have to run from one set of pumps to another. And while I’m running… I stand up. And suddenly I’m on my back, staring up at the overhead.

Because I’d hit one of those (fortunately) padded stanchions that we were all warned about. That I had been talking about wanting to make sure I didn’t hit while doing drills that shift. :smack:

Or about 12 months ago, while I was cooking, and had just taken a baking pan out of the oven. Telling myself to make sure I use the hot pad to handle the pan. I start using the hand, covered by the hot pad, to lever the food from the pan, while using my bare hand to hold the pan. The delay between contact, and the sensation of “Ow! Hot! Hot!” was just long enough to half get the roast out of the pan.

That burn lasted for about three weeks.