A life with many breaks


A lot of breaks in my life.  Many good ones from luck of being at the right place at the right time.  Others have been fractured bones.

Broke my right arm in 1953, after missing a limb while climbing a tree.

By 15, I had broken my right ankle and left ankles, several ribs and a cheekbone in the kinds of various accidents that befall a rambunctious youngster.

At 19, my Mustang rammed into a rock wall on Starkey Road in Roanoke County, sending me to Roanoke Memorial with a broken ankle, fractured right leg and a cracked skull.

By age 40, after more than a dozen breaks of bones in various parts of my body, an x-ray technician at Arlington Hospital in Northern Virginia shook his head after looking at an image of what might or might not be a broken ankle.

“I can’t tell,” he said.  “There’s so much scar damage on that joint that I can’t see if there is a fresh break.  How many times have you broken it?”

I couldn’t remember.  At least a half dozen times.

A couple of years later, I collided with a catcher in a softball game on the Washington Mall and found myself back in the Arlington Hospital with a broken right arm and dislocated shoulder.

My body was already hobbled by arthritis from previous injuries and broken limbs by November 9, 2012 when I laid my Harley Davidson motorcycle down on U.S. 221 at Pogue Valley Road in Roanoke County to try and avoid hitting a black cow on a dark Friday night.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial added plates and screws to help put my right leg back together while plastic surgeons dealt with several facial broken bones, a broken eye socked, dislocated eye and a skull fracture.  Also had a broken ankle and cracked ribs.

Then broke the left fibula of my right leg last September.

That many broken bones adds to the rapidly-advancing arthritis that limits mobility, along with pain, particularly in times like this with so much rain and humidity.

The metal in my right leg creaks like a old door when I walk up or down steps, movement of my right arm is limited, turning my head to the left is limited and I walk with a limp, especially on wet or cold days.

After too many concussions, and a traumatic brain injury in the motorcycle crash nearly four years ago, doctors warn me that even a small bump on the head could be dangerous, I get frequent MRS’s and am happy when the doctor says “Mr. Thompson, we examined your head and found nothing.”

And that’s the good news.



© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse