Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Vindicated December 5, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A selfie taken this fall after going splint-free following months of recovery from a broken left wrist. Now I have even more reason to smile. Read on. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo August 2018.


TYPICALLY I AM NOT SOMEONE who says, “I told you so.” I don’t rub it in when someone is wrong. Rather, I pinch my lips, lock the words inside my mouth but think them in my head. That’s a skill learned from many years of parenting and living.

But this time I need to speak up and claim vindication.


This is a photo snapped with a cellphone of the implant in my wrist, held in place by 10 screws. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2018.


Let’s backtrack. When I slipped on rain-slicked wooden steps in mid-June and fractured my left wrist badly enough to require surgery and implantation of a titanium plate, I heard too many insensitive comments. Topping those was the accusation that my husband pushed me, followed by laughter. I did not hold my words inside. There is absolutely nothing humorous about domestic violence. Nothing. Ever.


Me, several hours after surgery on my wrist in late June. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2018.


The second most common comment involved the strength of my bones. “You must have weak bones,” I heard way too often with the footnote that I needed to consume more milk. As if I couldn’t possibly have broken my wrist by simply falling the way I fell, left hand outstretched to break my fall.

Now I am vindicated. By a Bone Mineral Density Test (DEXA scan). Results show I have mild thinning of my bones with a low fracture risk. Pretty good for a post-menopausal woman in her early 60s.


This is a photo of an x-ray of my broken right shoulder. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo May 2017.


I’m not surprised by my good test results. I grew up on a dairy farm and have always consumed plenty of dairy products. I lift weights. And I fell in such a way that anyone—strong bones or not—would have suffered a fracture. And, yes, that includes my May 2017 fall on a hospital stairway in which I slammed shoulder first onto a concrete floor. I defy anyone not to break a bone when propelling into a surface like that. I’m thankful I didn’t hit my head, resulting in a concussion and/or broken neck.


A snippet of the informational sheet I received from my insurer.


Because of two bone breaks within a year, my ortho doctor suggested the bone density test. I didn’t object. My insurance company also sent an educational sheet about osteoporosis with the recommendation of a DEXA scan. Sure, I thought, why not? I’d already met my $3,600 deductible and am paying $1,000/month in health insurance premiums. Let the insurance company pay for the test (which is really me paying given the $15,600 paid from my pocket to the insurer and healthcare facilities in 2018).


Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


So there you go. I’ll continue to take my Vitamin D and add a calcium supplement, per my primary care doctor’s instructions. He also noted that I should follow up with another bone density test in seven years. Seven years. Does that sound like a woman with weak bones?

TELL ME: Have you ever fallen? Have you ever fallen and broken a bone? Let’s hear your stories.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


29 Responses to “Vindicated”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    I know many who have fallen..just as you did at a variety of ages and the comments you experienced indicate gross insensitivity only exceeded by their ignorance of the subject!!!! The resultant fracture(s) (in varying degrees of severity) could not have been avoided. The shear force of body weight/downward force onto an area with so many fine bones is an impossible scenario for anything but a negative outcome. Duh! I’m so glad to see your smiling face…..and “exposed” hand……and am sending merry greetings of the season….with uber hugs…………….

  2. Sandra Van Erp Says:

    I’m sorry you were a victim of such insensitivity. A DEXASCAN was a very good idea. Hope they did the whole body right away. I pray this means you won’t be enduring all the hip and other body parts replacements that seem to come with age. My right hip has gotten treatment for years. And I am very, very careful on and off the choir risers. Enjoy the good news. Forget insurance. Even my medicare supplement went up, but so much depends on coverage choices. I’d like to see politicians under same coverage as everyone, and term limits. Different discussion.

    • Nope, the entire body was not scanned. Just one hip and my back. I already have an artificial right hip, replaced about 10 years ago because of osteoarthritis. I’m sorry you’re dealing with hip issues. I empathize with your pain and probably mobility issues also.

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    I have fallen plenty but never have broken any bones. I dislike milk but I love cheese! Ha ha. I think in many ways, being active outdoors (natural vitamin D) and quite physical with my work, plus a very healthy diet, I’ve managed strong bones. But, like you, just the right kind of fall on an unforgiving surface, a break can happen to anyone. I’m so glad you have recouped and are proactive in doing what you can to stay strong!

  4. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Audrey, it’s good to hear that you are a strong woman inside and out! 🙂 I fell on the ice while walking our dog a couple of years ago and broke my arm. It was just a freaky thing and the fracture wasn’t terrible – a non-displaced fracture that only required me to wear a brace for about two months. And I had to go get a scan, too, to see if my bones were heading into osteoporosis territory. They weren’t. BTW, those jokes people uttered about Randy pushing you really are in bad taste. I agree – don’t joke about domestic violence. There are plenty of things to joke about that are actually funny.

    • You can bet that now winter is here, I am ever so cautious on icy and snowy surfaces. These falls can happen so fast. I’m thankful your fracture wasn’t terrible. I’m thankful also that your bones are good, too.

      Any jokes about domestic violence garner my strong rebuke. That said, I do understand when medical staff probe about a fall. That’s part of their job. But insensitive comments from people about Randy pushing or hitting me just makes me plain mad.

  5. You know my story and probably in a few years time will be going for a bone density scan. I am still healing road rash from a bike fall back in June – did not think it would take that long, but hitting concrete is not kind to your body. I thank my lucky stars I did not break anything. Plus I am a big proponent of wearing a helmet. Glad to hear you are doing better and strong is the new sexy 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  6. Almost Iowa Says:

    I recommend eggnog. Lots of eggnog. Maybe even laced with a shot of spiced rum. Don’t know whether the rum is good for bones, don’t care either.

    It is great to hear you are vindicated and on the mend – but keep a firm grip on that hand-rail while using the stairs.

    • I love this recommendation because I really really like eggnog.

      You can bet my hand firmly grips all hand rails. Unfortunately the rain-slicked steps I fell on this past summer did not have rails. Lessons learned: Do no walk on rain-covered wooden steps. Do not walk in flip flops on rain-covered wooden steps. Don’t offer to gather rhubarb for your daughter from a friend’s garden. Make her find and pick her own. 🙂

  7. Audrey- first congratulations on a wonderful recovery. I think that should be celebrated at any age as following a recovery plan after surgery is never easy but does pay off.

    I have had a couple of dislocated shoulders (same left shoulder 2x). One was a fall off of the bike on a black ice day. I had 6 weeks physical therapy after that.

  8. I’ve fallen many times, I am a cyclist. Been hit by cars. Nothing broken, but I’ve dislocated my shoulder and elbow separate times. Oh, slipped down the stairs once when I was 13 and broke my big toe.

  9. Jackie Says:

    People fall…bones get broke! I had no doubt you had good bones 🙂

  10. Rebecca Haughn Says:

    Am 58 years old and post menopausal for a few years now. I have never broken a bone in my life and have fallen a few years ago. I am glad you are doing as well as you are and wish you well always.

  11. Ruth Says:

    Just can’t believe what comes out of people’s mouths. Glad you’re cast free. I’ve not fallen but I am afraid to- the winter ice provides so many opportunities. Glad you were right all the time!

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