January Break

2023, Jan 22    

So... in a great start to 2023 I have to look back at January and how things didn't quite go to plan. In what was supposed to be a 10-day getaway for my partner and I involving the Scottish highlands and breathtaking scenery, what transpired (as you have likely guessed from the main picture) was something very different.

On day 3 of the holiday we headed towards Rogie Falls, which is one of Scotlands better-known waterfalls and was recommended as a beautiful place to visit. As it was only a slight detour from the original route we had planned, why not... Upon arrival the car park had some ice (in places) but didn't look too bad, and the top section of the path didn't appear to have any ice. The subsequent sections however were not so good...

Collarbone 01
A long path covered in ice (30 seconds before I slipped)

As you may have guessed, while attempting to reach the waterfall the inevitable happened (involving my shoulder, some ice-covered ground, and a bone that decided two pieces are better than one). In what I was told was an entertaining 'partial backflip' I managed to land my entire bodyweight on my left shoulder.

A trip to hospital and one x-ray later revealed that my collarbone was no longer intact (something that seemed obvious given it was trying to escape through my skin on the inbound journey). One sling later and it was time to depart (onwards for the remainder of the trip).

Collarbone 02
One broken collarbone later (not ideal on day 3)

24 hours later and the bruise started to appear, confusingly not on my shoulder blade but on the front of my chest. Transference of force is a confusing thing at times. As you can see in the picture it doesn't look good, though over the coming 7 days it got progressively worse.

Collarbone 03
The initial bruising (it got worse from this point on)

Unfortunately an injury of this kind has a 14-day waiting period before a decision can be made regarding surgery or leaving it to align/mend itself. This is a fact that even at time of writing I still find odd given I have a piece of bone still trying to escape my body, but alas, two hospitals have provided the same guidance.

My key takeaways from this experience:

  • Gravity is not your friend
  • Ice is also not your friend
  • Trying to do a full flip is not recommended on ice (accidental or otherwise)
  • Force = Mass * Acceleration (and I have significant mass)
  • When you have boots designed for walking on ice, use them (or better still, don't walk near ice)
  • When someone 10 meters away hears the bone break, don't pretend it's a dislocated shoulder
  • Waterfalls are still beautiful, even when you are in pain

All joking aside, while it is still painful and I wait to see if I need surgery or if it will heal in the correct place naturally, it is entertaining to look back at (especially with the picture of the ice). While plans had to be changed somewhat, the holiday wasn't a wash-out and fun was still had.

Onwards to the next holiday in Scotland (preferably without snow/ice this time...)