Monday, March 27, 2023



On Monday, March 6th, I spent the entire day at Urgent Care, followed by a stint in the hospital’s emergency room, getting my broken arm and wrist repaired. So by the time I got home after 9:00 that night, I physically and emotionally was ready to sleep for the next 24 hours.

Make that 124.

But the next day, a phone call from an orthopedic surgeon’s office ruined my chances for a peaceful respite. I was informed that an appointment had been set up for me at 2:00 that afternoon. 

I had no clue why a surgeon wanted to see me…and so soon, so I felt just a tad apprehensive.

Make that scared half to death.

I had to call my friend again (the one who’d spent the entire day of torture with me the day before) to ask her if she could drive me to the appointment. She was in the middle of doing whatever it was she’d already fallen behind on doing, thanks to me, but dropped everything to rush over to pick me up.

We arrived 15 minutes late for the appointment, but luckily(?) I still was seen right away.

The surgeon smiled at me, introduced himself and shook my hand – which shocked me. I mean, no one had extended a hand to me for a handshake since the word Covid first was uttered. And to be honest, my hands always get so clammy whenever I have to see a doctor or a dentist, I hadn’t missed the whole handshaking thing at all. It had eliminated the need for me to frantically keep wiping my soggy palms on my jeans as I anticipated the doctor’s grand entrance

The fact the doctor was smiling and didn’t look worried, helped to ease my fears…that is, until he said he’d studied my X-rays and thought surgery might be an option.

Immediately I felt what little breakfast I’d eaten rise in my throat. I'd already had my bones yanked back into place and was wearing a cast that weighed as much as a bowling ball, so that was more than enough for me. I didn’t want to even think about going through surgery. Visions of all sorts of hardware, from pins and nails to clips, piano wire and rods holding my bones together, ran through my mind. I feared I'd be doomed to a future of setting off bells, beeps and alarms every time I had to pass through a metal detector.

But the doctor went on to explain that with patients over age 65, he’d found that whether he did surgery or not, the end result usually turned out about the same. So it was my choice. Did I, he asked, want perfectly symmetrical bones that would look stunning on X-rays, or did I want bones where one might be less than a millimeter shorter than the other, but its ability to function wouldn’t be adversely affected?

My immediate thought was it was highly unlikely anyone ever would point at my arm and comment about one of the bones looking a millimeter off, so why subject myself to any more pain?

I think I’ll pass on the surgery,” I said.

“Fine, then we’ll treat you without it.”

“And speaking of surgery,” I added, “I’ve been waiting six months to have my cataracts removed, and I’m finally scheduled to have the first eye done next week. Is it okay for me to still do that?”

His amused smile told me I’d probably asked a dumb question.

“Doesn’t that involve putting drops in your eyes something like 12 times a day for about a month afterwards?”

“Yeah, three different drops, four times a day each.”

“And you have someone who’ll be there to do that for you every day while your bad arm is mending and can’t be moved?”


At that moment, I realized that by the time I’m finally able to get my cataracts removed, I’ll have to train my dogs to be guide dogs.

“So are you having any problems with the cast?” the doctor asked me, returning to the subject of my arm.

“Plenty,” I muttered. “I can’t sleep with it, I can’t open jars, I can’t peel a potato, and worst of all, there is no way I can hook my bra.”

“Do you really need to wear one, then?” he asked in a matter-of-fact tone.

I wanted to say, “No, I suppose I could always just tuck my boobs into my waistband,” but instead, I blurted out, “If I don’t wear a bra, I’ll end up with black-and-blue kneecaps.”

To my relief, he chuckled.

He said he’d see me again in a week, when I’d be able to swap my bulky, torture device of a cast for a new, lightweight one in a pretty color of my choice. Meanwhile, he advised me not to get the current cast wet and to sleep on my back with my arm propped up on a few pillows so it would be higher than my heart. He also recommended that I keep the arm in a sling.

It was going to be a very long week.

It turned out to be a week of frustration as I tried to adapt to one-armed living. For one thing, I usually sleep in a fetal position on my side, so trying to get any decent sleep while lying on my back with my arm propped up on pillows was next to impossible. So was trying to squeeze any of my sweaters or shirts over the humungous cast. I finally gave up and wore my late husband’s size 4X shirts. And whatever I wore during the day, I also wore to bed because struggling to change what I was wearing took as much energy as running a marathon.

I also couldn’t type with only one hand, so I tried to use a voice-to-text computer program. All I can say is I must sound as if I have my mouth stuffed with marshmallows when I talk because every time I spoke to the voice program, it asked me, “What was that?”

It ended up taking me less time to use the hunt-and-peck method of typing with one finger than it did to have to keep explaining to the voice program that I was saying “cast,” not “cash,” and my dog’s name is Eden, not “Eating.”

Fortunately, I have kind and thoughtful friends who dropped by daily to help me out by doing everything from shopping and cooking for me to brushing my hair and even taking one of my dogs to her vet’s appointment.

Finally, after what felt like 100 years, the day of the Medieval-torture cast's removal arrived.

And so did the worst snowstorm of the year, with wind gusts over 50 mph, a foot of heavy, wet snow, and thousands of power outages.

So my appointment was canceled for another week.

By the end of that second week, I was ready to gnaw off the cast with my bare teeth, it was making me so miserable. For one thing, it became a bit loose, so it constantly rubbed and twisted until I was certain I had no skin left under it. Visions of my arm resembling a clump of raw hamburger ran through my mind.

But when the cast was removed at long last, all I saw was a wrist about the size of a ham in lovely shades of blue, purple, yellow and black. 

“It looks much worse than it is," the doctor explained when he noticed my wide-eyed expression of horror. "Your X-rays kook good, and that’s what counts. So, have you decided on a color for your new cast?"

It had taken me days of careful deliberation before making my decision. “Turquoise,” I said, eager to have something more vibrant than the previous white one, which had stayed white for all of 12 hours. By the end of the two weeks, it was covered with everything from spaghetti sauce to dog hair and bed lint.

“Sorry," he said. "No turquoise. The closest we have is either light blue or dark blue."

I was crushed. I chose dark blue, mainly to conceal any future stains.

But this new cast is such a relief, I'd still gladly wear it even if it were a vomit-green color. I can sleep comfortably with it, all of my clothes fit over it, and it barely weighs a thing. My arm thinks it’s just been released from federal prison. 

Which is great…because this cast is going to be my permanent fashion accessory for the next four weeks.

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:




Monday, March 20, 2023


Last week, I told you about how I slipped on black ice in my driveway and injured my wrist and arm. The irony was that at the time, I was wearing ice cleats that supposedly were recommended by an official bobsledding team. 

Let’s just say I have a bone (pun intended) to pick with them.

Anyway, I went to Urgent Care where X-rays confirmed I'd fractured my ulna and radius. The arm was splinted in something similar to concrete (or at least it felt like that) all the way past my elbow. I then was instructed to go to the nearby hospital’s emergency room to have the bones set by an orthopedic surgeon. I also was told not to eat anything, to prevent vomiting. I was pretty sure my stomach was safe, however, mainly because I hadn’t eaten even a bite of food since dinner the night before.

Welcome to Hell.

When I walked into the emergency room at about 2 PM, the first thing I noticed was how huge it was. The next thing I noticed was nearly every seat was occupied.

I checked in at the desk and was informed that all of my information, including my X-rays, already had been sent to them, and because I had to see only the orthopedic surgeon, I probably would be called shortly and not have to wait my turn after the 42 people ahead of me.

That made me feel better because at that point, I didn’t know which was going to kill me first – starvation or gangrene. My stomach was making noises that resembled those of guys in horror movies as they transformed into werewolves, and I could feel my arm swelling inside the concrete, which, by then, had all of the comfort of a tourniquet. I also noticed my fingers on that hand suddenly felt as if they’d spent the night in an igloo.

I took a seat in a row of seats facing another row, where a pregnant woman whose eyes were closed as she slowly massaged her stomach, was sitting directly across from me. She looked calm, so I figured she probably wasn’t on the verge of having the baby in her chair. In fact, the guy she was with looked more distressed than she did, so I suspected maybe he was the one who was ailing, even though all of his body parts seemed to be intact and he wasn’t gripping his stomach or groaning.

An hour later, I still was sitting there. One by one, the other people were called. The nurse said to at least two of them, "I'm taking you to a recliner."

I thought that was nice – making people more comfortable as they waited. Little did I know at the time what "the recliner" actually meant.

Another hour passed and I still was sitting…waiting, and so was the pregnant woman.

“By the time they call your name, your baby will be ready to go to college,” I joked with her. She didn’t seem amused.

That’s when I began to fear, to my embarrassment, that maybe she wasn’t actually pregnant and was there for some kind of stomach-bloating condition.

Although I tried to ignore it, a few minutes later my bladder started to send urgent messages telling me that if I didn’t find a ladies' room fast, I'd be sitting in a puddle. So I headed to the restroom. I had no trouble unbuttoning and unzipping my jeans with only one hand, but when it came time to re-fasten them, I was helpless.

Admitting defeat, I, still unbuttoned and unzipped, walked out of the stall. As I did, a woman entered the restroom. I rushed right up to her.

“Can you please button and zip my jeans for me?” I asked.

At first, she gave me a look that made me feel as if she were debating whether or not to call security. Then her eyes dropped to my arm and she seemed to relax a bit. Of course, everyone was required to wear a mask, so for all I knew, she could have been muttering obscenities at me underneath hers.

But at least I got my jeans zipped.

By 5:00, I was feeling as if my arm were caught in a trash compactor. I went up to the desk and asked how much longer it would be because I was beginning to lose the feeling from my elbow to my fingertips.

“Oh, I understand how uncomfortable you must be,” the woman said with what sounded like genuine sympathy. “But good news – you're now at the top of the list!"

So I sat back down feeling optimistic…until two ambulances rolled in with patients who had life-or-death emergencies. Understandably, my arm immediately lost its place at the top.

At 6:30, my friend came in to search for me.

“Brought you a present,” she said and handed me a bag that contained a box of my favorite cookies.

Never before had I wanted to tear open a box with my teeth and devour every crumb inside than I did at that moment. But the previous warning at Urgent Care not to eat anything stopped me. I mean, vomiting up my favorite cookies had the potential to make me not like them any more, and that, to me, would have been a real tragedy. So I opted to wait to eat them...which turned out to be even more painful than my injury.

Finally, at nearly 8 PM, my name was called. I felt like dancing a jig…but I didn't want to risk injuring another body part.

I was led to one of the aforementioned recliners – all of which lined a long corridor and contained a patient. This, I was told, was where I would be treated because all of the cubicles were full. At that moment, surrounded by bright lights and people walking by, I was thankful I wasn’t there for something embarrassing, like a pelvic exam. 

A medical person finally appeared about 15 minutes later and introduced himself as an ER physician, so I guessed the orthopedic specialist probably had skipped town. This doctor was friendly, though, and put me at ease, even as he described the tortures he was about to inflict upon me.

“First, I’m going to hang your arm to stretch it, and then I’m going to give you an injection of lidocaine to numb you. After that, I’ll reset the bones, take an X-ray and put you in a temporary cast.”

“Sounds like fun,” I said, rolling my eyes. “So why did Urgent Care tell me I might vomit?”  I just had to ask.

“Because sometimes the pain or the lidocaine can cause nausea. Or with severe fractures, we might have to put a patient under general anesthesia, so it’s better to have an empty stomach.”


And as he promised, he did everything he said he was going to do. I smiled and looked unfazed through each step because I didn’t want the people walking past me in the corridor to think I was a big sissy. Also, screaming “Dear Lord in heaven, please have mercy on me!” might have frightened the little children.


By 9 PM, my friend and I finally were headed home. I stuffed my face with cookies during the entire ride.

The next morning I received a call from an orthopedic surgeon’s office and was asked if I could come in at 2:00 that afternoon. I hadn’t expected the call so I found myself wondering…what now? 

Next week, the saga continues…

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:


Sunday, March 12, 2023



I’ve heard people say that just one second can change your entire life. Unfortunately, the past week has taught me just how true that is.

Last Sunday, I spent three hours shoveling the remnants of a storm that dumped eight inches of snow on the area. The next morning, I felt great – not an ache or a pain anywhere.

“Not bad for an old lady," I smugly thought as I walked down my driveway to get the mail.

The next thing I knew, I was flat on the asphalt…on my left hip.  My legs had slipped right out from underneath me – sideways – on a patch of black ice. As I lay there, convinced I’d broken my hip, I saw, as if in slow motion, my left arm also come crashing down on the driveway, as if it had decided to do it as an afterthought.

Only this time, I heard a crack that sounded like someone attacking a lobster-claw dinner.

I’m no expert when it comes to human anatomy, but I was pretty sure any cracking sound wasn’t a good thing for a body (especially an old one) to make.

I stood up and tested my hip. It felt sore but it worked fine. Then I checked my arm. It hurt and it didn't work fine. It might have had something to with the fact my wrist was shaped like a letter S.

“Noooo!” I cried as I dashed into the house. "It will be fine! It's only a sprain – or maybe a dislocation that can just be popped back into place."

But as the wrist continued to puff up until it resembled a flesh-colored, giant marshmallow, I began to think getting it checked out might be a wise idea, just to be safe. At least one small favor, though - it was my left hand and I'm right-handed.

So I called one of my friends, who said she’d be over in 20 minutes to drive me to the urgent-care clinic.

That’s when I realized I still was wearing my flannel pajamas under my coat. Even worse, I wasn’t wearing a bra. I rushed to make myself look less like a bag-lady.

“Rushed,” however, turned out to be a misnomer. Trying to get dressed while using only one arm, I quickly learned, was next to impossible. The two worst tasks involved my bra and my jeans. I couldn’t hook the bra or zip and button the jeans. Neither could I tie back my straggly hair, which was hanging in my face.

The minute my friend stepped into the house, I, feeling totally panicked by then, practically shouted at her, “Quick! Help me hook my bra and zip my jeans!”

She grabbed the sides of my jeans and yanked them up so hard, I felt as if I’d just been given what teens like to refer to as an atomic wedgie. She then fastened them, ran a brush through my hair and tied it back, and hooked my bra. I felt as if I were back in kindergarten again, needing someone to dress me…well, except for the bra part, that is.

I grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and put it on my ballooning wrist, and we were off. 

Surprisingly, the urgent-care clinic wasn't busy and I was seen within 15 minutes. By then, my wrist was feeling as if someone were learning how to play the drums on it – using a pair of chisels. My blood pressure, which usually is 111 over 76, was 169 over 90. I then had x-rays taken.

The physician’s assistant came into the room and asked to see my wrist. I removed the ice pack and he blurted out, “Oh, sh*t!”

I cracked up because he immediately looked so embarrassed and profusely apologized. But then I thought, “Why am I laughing? His reaction obviously means I’m doomed!"  


He left to go check the x-rays, then returned and informed me I’d fractured my ulna and my radius.

“I’ll immobilize them for you with a splint that’s similar to a cast," he said. "But I have bad news.”

As if what he’d already told me had been the good news?

“There’s no one here to set the bones," he said. "You'll have to head over to the hospital’s emergency room and see the orthopedic surgeon on call.”

Two words immediately caused my heart to race…”hospital" and "surgeon." 

“Sounds like it’s going to be a really long day," I muttered, thinking of my poor dogs crossing their legs back at home. “Guess I should grab something to eat before heading over there.”

“No, you’ll be better off keeping your stomach empty,” he said. “So you won’t end up vomiting.” 

Easy for him to say, I thought, fighting the urge to glare at him. His last meal probably hadn’t been dinner the night before, like mine had been. 

He didn’t elaborate about the vomiting, and I didn’t dare ask.

All I knew was it was puffy wrist and I definitely were doomed. 

I’ll tell you all about my crazy adventures at the hospital in next week's post. Typing this one with only one hand has taken me about seven hours and seven million typos. So I’m ready for my nap now.


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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at:




























Friday, March 3, 2023



Ever since this whole period of inflation began, burglaries and break-ins have been at an all-time high. For this reason, I’ve kept my house locked up more securely than Fort Knox.

In fact, there is so much “dead air" in my house because I haven’t opened any windows since 2019, it probably smells like a place where a forensic pathologist is performing an autopsy.

But I can’t tell the difference anyway...because I haven't been able to smell much of anything since I had Covid last year.

Actually, in my particular neighborhood, burglaries have been popular for years – long before the pandemic. I even suspect that if someone did an online search for “best places to commit a burglary in New Hampshire,” a Google map of my neighborhood would  pop up.

I remember way back when I first moved into my current house and I was taking a walk around the area at dusk to check things out. A man who lived on the next street over greeted me and then added, “Not to scare you or anything, but we were burglarized the night before last.”

Scare me? Why on earth would he think that telling me about a burglar lurking somewhere in the neighborhood when it was nearly dark out and I still had to walk past a quarter-mile of nothing but thick woods before reaching my house would scare me?

I’m pretty sure I actually broke a few Olympic speed records as I ran back home.

And more burglaries followed – one on a property adjacent to mine. The woman had a fancy alarm system, yet the thieves took everything but the wallpaper…including the alarm system, which they’d disconnected before breaking in.

Another day during another walk, I talked to woman who was out raking leaves and she told me about how, while she and her husband had been at work the week before, someone had leaned a ladder against the back of their house, then climbed in through the second-floor bedroom window. She said all of her precious jewelry, including several family heirlooms, were gone. 

A sense of panic overcame me, certain I had to be the next target on the “to-be-burgled” list, even though I had nothing much to steal. I mean, my three jewelry boxes contained about $100 worth of jewelry, most of which was tarnished and turned my skin green whenever I wore it. Also, I’d bought my TV on sale for only $499. My computer was so old, the company didn’t even make parts for it any more. And the loose-change jar had cobwebs in it because there was no such thing as loose change any more. I was spending every penny.

But the worst burglary I heard about in my neighborhood involved this poor, unfortunate woman who came home from work one afternoon to discover her house had been ransacked. She, terrified the culprits might still be hiding inside, dashed right back out and ran across the road to the safety of her neighbors’ house. She knocked, then didn’t wait for them to answer – she just barged inside…and startled their Great Dane, who promptly bit her.

Talk about having a bad day.

When I first tried to get homeowner’s insurance for my house, I was rejected over and over again because I had two Rottweilers, which, I repeatedly was informed, were second only to pit bulls on the “do not insure” list. Finally, one agency said they would insure the property if I posted signs.

“You mean ‘beware of dog’ signs?” I asked.

“Sort of…but I advise you to find something that sounds scarier,” the agent said.

I had no idea what he meant, so I did an online search until I came across something I thought was perfect: “WARNING! SECURITY DOGS!”  I bought several of the signs and hung them along my driveway. 

Granted, one of my dogs back then would have given sloppy wet kisses to any thug who broke in. But the other would have enjoyed de-pantsing him and then shredding every inch of skin all the way up to his eyebrows. So my message to any potential burglar was, good luck finding out the hard way which dog was which.

One wintry day. I walked out to get my mail and happened to notice fresh tire tracks in the snow in my driveway. They halted abruptly at the first dog-warning sign I’d hung, then the tracks backed out of the driveway.

The next day, the police contacted me and said the house on the far side of my property had been broken into and they wondered if I’d seen anything suspicious. I thought about the tire tracks and told them about them. The police came over to check things out and said they believed my house had been the intended target, because the same tire tracks were found at the house that was robbed. But apparently my sign had scared them off.

And not long after that, a tax assessor for the town contacted me and said they were reassessing the homes in my neighborhood and had come to my house to take outside measurements, but they’d noticed my security-dogs signs and had decided not to chance it.

Bless my insurance company. 

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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: