I Needed A Break…And I Got One!

We all know how hectic life can get at times. Careers. Housework to be done. Children or spouses to chauffeur. Groceries to be bought. Emails to write and answer. Coffee dates with friends. Special occasions to get ready for. Dogs to walk. On and on and on! On December 16th I decided I needed a break from the daily chores so Zerrin, our Golden Retriever, and I decided to go for a walk.

It had snowed most of the weekend and the landscape was a beautiful, clean white blanket. The blue Alberta sky showed off the Rocky Mountains in all their glory. Half an hour into our walk I got my break. However, it was not the break I was looking for. I slipped on some ice which was secretly hiding under the ‘beautiful clean white blanket’!  DOWN I went. I landed like someone who was preparing to make a snow angel. On my back, arms and legs spread eagle. My body was taking up much more property than needed. My first thought was, “I’m still alive!” My oopoomoo First Aid Training immediately took over my brain. “Hi. My name is Catherine. I know First Aid. Can I help you?” I took inventory of all body parts. Head? Good. Legs? Good. Back? Good. Bum? Sore. Arms? Umm. Left arm is good. Still have dog attached by means of his leash. Right arm? Not so good. The wrist was a wee bit sore. I finally opened my eyes and saw Zerrin’s big brown eyes staring down at me seemingly asking, “What ARE you doing?”  I managed to pick myself up, dust off the snow and muster up as much pride as I could, at the same time praying that my ice-jig was not witnessed by anyone.  Diagnosis? Broken wrist in two places, needed to be reduced (too bad it isn’t as easy to reduce a waist as it is a wrist!). Seven hours later I walked out of the hospital with a festive green and red cast on my right arm.  I have some choice words for how I feel about this very restrictive clump of fibreglass on my arm but I won’t use them because it may tarnish my good girl image Sam and Darwin have of me.

Needless to say, I feel very helpless. Can’t zip my jacket, tie my shoes, do up the button on my pants, floss my teeth, cut my food, handwrite… well, you get the idea. BUT the one thing I can’t do, that bothers me the most, is USE A CAMERA!!! AND…..here is the clincher……I’m going to Joshua Tree Park, California before I get this cast off!

“Okay”, I thought, this cast is not going to get the best of me! I WILL write my January  oopoomoo post and I WILL take photographs! I put ALL my cameras on the table and sat down for a ‘fitting’. How frustrating! Too big! Too small! Too heavy! Not a good grip! The Rolleiflex is a definite no go. My Canon 60D is also a no go. Samsung Galaxy has to be held upside down and I can’t reach the power button.

frustration 2

My hubby Ed helped take pictures of my dilemma…


Still puzzled but narrowing it down…

After short-listing the point and shoots  I finally settled on my Canon Power Shot S110. The sleek style is comfy to hold and all buttons and dials are easy to control with my index finger.

My seldom used S110 will accompany me on my next trip. One nice bonus with taking a small camera is that it will fit into the purse and there is no need to carry a camera bag….with my DSLR, 40mm lens, 50mm lens, 70-200mm lens, 400mm lens, filters, filter holders, lens baby accessories. That equipment can go with me on my photo trip to Newfoundland this summer when I am cast free!!

About the Author

I am a retired school teacher and enthusiastic photographer and traveler.


  1. Robert
    January 20, 2014

    Sorry to read about you unfortunate fall and injury.You just told us Canon users are a tough lot and nothing will stop us from,using,going,travelling to get our shots.Best wishes on a successful trip!!

    • Catherine Byram
      January 20, 2014

      Thanks Robert! Yes, Canon users are a tough bunch!!! We just shouldn’t try to prove it!

  2. Jim Amato
    January 20, 2014

    Catherine, I too fell and broke my right wrist. Had to have a T shape plate screwed into place to stabilize the broken bone. I learned a lot about my left hand. The biggest problem was being unable to button/zip my coat as this occurred in the middle of winter. Brrrrrrrr. Time will heal you completely.
    Put that camera on tripods of various heights and click away. You are in your
    “Bone Henge” phase of photography.
    Jim Amato

    • Catherine Byram
      January 20, 2014

      BONE HENGE!!! Love it! Thanks for sharing your story, Jim.

  3. Sheila Holzer
    January 20, 2014

    Hello Catherine,

    Sorry to hear about your wrist, but I loved your story. When I had a broken arm I made the mistake of asking my husband to help me curl-iron my hair. His big sausage fingers were not up to the task but we did have a hilarious time. I only asked him once, after that I figured it out myself.

    Sheila Hollzer

    • Catherine Byram
      January 20, 2014

      OH…….I CAN relate! But I must say, my husband Ed is trying. We too, have some good laughs. Especially when he is trimming the finger nails on my left hand!

  4. John Deines
    January 20, 2014

    Hello Catherine,
    So sorry to hear of your accident. Your story brought to mind a similar happening of mine, ice under the snow and walking with my extended tripod and camera affixed, from one photo spot to another along the banks of the frozen Hudson River, here in NY. Landed on my back and upper shoulders, barely saving my head and the camera. Lower back bothered me for quite some time though.
    Glad to hear that you are not letting this get you down. I know you will enjoy Joshua Tree National Park. The landscape is quite different from Alberta, not to mention the climate. Hope to see you again on another Darwin Wiggett (et al) workshop in the near future. My best wishes…

    • Catherine Byram
      January 20, 2014

      SO good to hear from you John! I have to count my lucky stars. A broken wrist is nothing to a very sore back. It would be great to see you up here in this part of the world again. Lots of different shots in central/southern Alberta. Our landscape changed drastically after our BIG, very BIG, flood of June 2013.

  5. Heather Simonds
    January 20, 2014

    Oh Catherine! too bad! I fell off of a bicycle going at the next speed just above stop (very slow) and pulled upper leg tendons and muscles. I could not walk! From 100 to 0 just like that so I know how mad you can be with yourself for slipping on ice but it is oh so easy to do. The only problem with my situation is I am in Cambodia. I want to bicycle (we were on a bike tour that was wonderful but came to an abrupt end) and take photos, not spend three nights in a small hospital at a lovely beach (I never got to see) and leave in a wheelchair with a crutch. The clinic stay was unbelievable, 4/1 staff/ patient ratio and I was the only one there. The doctor and nurses hold my hand while talking to me about my condition, they have lots of time for me, muscle massages are part of the therapy. Everything takes so much time and I enviously watch people walking, walking everywhere, while I have to hobble with a grimace. I am last in every race… I have shed the wheelchair but not the crutch which I am really looking forward to handing over to a clinic or street person in need. In the meantime, the photography is totally on hold. It is almost impossible to hobble with a third leg and shoot without physical damage to either body, yours or the cameras. And there are no surprise street shots, they can see you coming, the tables are turned and you are the subject.
    You will love Joshua Tree, late afternoon is nice light and it won’t matter what camera you have. It can be cooler and windy there than below so check the weather. The next time we see each other we can wave our repaired appendages at each other and grin in unison that we are repaired and back on the photography scene. And we will be oh so thankful that we can do small things for ourselves again.

    • Catherine Byram
      January 20, 2014

      Thanks for the tip about light at Joshua Tree park!
      I’ll have no trouble waving my arm when I see you…but be careful waving that leg! We don’t want you to fall!!!

    • Samantha Chrysanthou
      January 22, 2014

      Hi Heather,

      Sorry to hear about your injury on your trip. As you and Catherine know, it can be so frustrating to have a broken wing when you’re on holidays! Glad they took care of you down there.

    • Heather Simonds
      January 22, 2014

      Thanks for your kind comments. When I read Catherine’s story I had to share how life can go from 100 to 0 with one false move. How it makes us appreciate things (my Sherpa husband especially) that we wouldn’t have noticed before, not dissimilar to photography. I had to drop photography for a few days but I have a story on third world medicine and I know that “where the hip bone is connected to the…leg bone…..” there is a whole bunch of support machinery that doesn’t like to be twisted to the left when your body goes to the right!!!! I look forward to shaking my repaired leg at Catherine when she waves her renewed wrist at me. We both appreciate it is not longstanding and we will be nimble with the shutter again.

  6. Jane Chesebrough
    January 21, 2014

    Wish you a speedy recovery. You are looking great! Glad you found a solution for the upcoming trip.

  7. An Update from Catherine | oopoomoo : create, inspire, educate
    March 18, 2014

    […] away. Given that this is a sad time for the family (and that Catherine is still recovering from her broken wrist), we all thought it best to put Catherine’s project, Their Stories, on hold for a little […]

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