How I broke my back

Okay to continue from the last diary (here), I had been out the night before, sad times, looking for fun and freedom the next day etc.

I regret saying I would write about this because it’s so tragic.

I go to a trampoline park with my friend (I’m twenty three years of age at this point) and it’s big, with lots of different areas. We go into the first one, running about free and wild.

I want to do a backflip but I know I’ll probably kill myself. I’m very aware I’m fifteen years older than everyone else. I settle for front flips and do a couple, I’m having so much fun.

We’re about to go explore, because we haven’t yet moved from the first original trampolines, but I want to do one more flip.

I jump up, throwing myself forward very enthusiastically and hear a crack in my ears, and suddenly I’m not in the air anymore.

I’m on my side and my friend is looking at me laughing, I start laughing too and the most impossible pain bursts through my body. I try to push myself up with my arms but my legs don’t move.

I look at them staying perfectly still whilst I tell them to move and my heart falls out of my stomach. I turn to my friend and say I can’t get up.

He starts laughing and says ha ha, no really, get up. I start shaking my head, trying to make sense of my broken body. I feel like I’ve been split in two and my abdomen is exploding. I don’t know if I’m winded or in shock but I can’t breathe anymore, and people are asking me questions and I’ve lost the ability to talk.

A person comes over and tries to pick me up. I manage, but when they let go my legs buckle, so they lie me back down and tell me not to move.

My mum is going to kill me. I go on holiday in three weeks, with my boyfriend who is now probably going to patch me. I handed my notice in to work two days ago. I’m going to have to call them and say, hello I can’t work my notice I’ve been involved in a life-threatening trampoline situation. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

My friend is ecstatic that I’ve possibly maimed myself. I ask what time it is. We’ve been here for less than fifteen minutes and I’ve catastrophically injured myself. I’m twenty three.

The ambulance staff thought I had winded myself and gave me gas. They were asking me questions like ‘What were you doing in a place like this?’ and ‘Why are you not in the pub?’

After a while they realised I wasn’t being dramatic and was more than winded, which just made everybody even more amused about the fact I’d had an accident in a children’s play area.

In the ambulance a kind EMT holds my hand and assures me morphine is on the way whilst my friend takes Snapchats, and scolds me whilst I take Snapchats. I can feel my toes so they tell me I am probably not paralysed. My mum is going to kill me. I decide to wait and tell my Dad instead, asking him to keep it on the DL.

This is not deemed a blue light situation and every bump in the road is a new symphony of pain. I ask what the best case scenario is and the EMT tells me a pulled muscle or pinched nerve, but it could also be a slipped disk. Oh, joy.

My friend develops a theory that I knocked myself out with my knee since I was so dazed & confused. I liked this theory, minimal long term damage. I was really hoping I had knocked myself out with my knee. Again, I’m nearly twenty five.

We get there and the kind EMT gives my hand a squeeze, and says nice things I don’t remember because I was circling the mental drain at this point. It’s been an hour since whatever happened and nothing has ever, or will ever, hurt this bad but I’m a bit wimpy, so I’m thinking there’s a good chance this is just a severely pulled muscle.

I have a neck brace on and this is not the way I pictured my day going when I woke up this morning. I can’t move, so my friend is audio describing the hospital waiting room. It’s full of loud, scary, moaning noises and all I can see is the ceiling.

I’m wondering if one of those Grey’s Anatomy style disasters has happened and taken over the A&E department, like a derailed train. Is this a level 1 trauma centre? My friend explains the moaning is people on opiates being sick around us.

A group of people come and assess me and send me for an X-ray. I’m waiting on a bed in a hallway next to another man in a bed. He’s wearing a green tracksuit, being sick into a hat.

After the X-ray my bed is deposited in a hall somewhere. I ask the time and it’s now been three hours since it happened. I’m delirious with pain. Someone with a white coat walks by and I shout after them, begging for anything, one ibuprofen, anything.

He looks at me, walks away and comes back with a folder. He says nothing.

Am I okay? I ask

You’ve fractured T12 he says.

I start to cry again. I’ve never broken a bone in my life. My mum’s going to kill me. What is T12?

But it’ll heal? I ask

No. He just says no, nothing else. Me and my friend are baffled. Is he a real doctor? Who have I found?

What do you mean ‘no’? I still haven’t had even one ibuprofen.

He says it’s a compression fracture to one of the segments of my spine, it’s common in old ladies. It will be okay in a while but it’ll stay like that forever now.

What were you doing? he asks.

I gulp. I know I’m going to be telling people ‘doing a flip on a trampoline‘ a lot over the next 24 hours and it’s going to be absolutely tragic every time.

I think back to the trampoline, throwing myself forward and hearing that crack. I realise that crack was a part of my spine fracturing, crushing in on itself. I feel sick. My mum is really going to kill me.


After a while my legs came back online and I got to go home. I didn’t know what to expect – how long it would take to recover, how it would affect me and what it meant for the future.

Now it’s been a year and I’m pretty much pain free, a feeling I didn’t think would ever happen at times.

It’s taken a lot to get there and I’ll write about what I done to recover soon, but for now I hope you enjoyed my cautionary tale.

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