So the Bad News Turned Good

Macy M27 comments9502 views

For those of you who don’t know me via Facebook I suppose I should do an update here.  I had an accident and I ended up breaking my back and my foot… I am ok but the tiny house will be on hold for a few weeks.  I have turned this into good news and, as life changes, adjusted my plans accordingly.  Here is the story of how it all happened…

I have been pretty stagnant over the last month or so on my tiny house build, mostly because I had expected to be further along (finished) by this time of year so I had committed to a bunch of obligations that I really didn’t have time for and had scheduled a week long vacation.  I basically haven’t worked on my house for about a month.  I made myself OK with that because I said as soon as I got back from my vacation I wasn’t going to sign up for anything else until my house was complete.  I think I was a little over anxious to get back to work and that may very well have played a hand in my accident, I was rushing to get to the ‘fun stuff’.  I literally woke up early Saturday morning STOKED to finally get to work on my house.  Little did I know not even an hour into it I would be going to the ER.  My goal was to finish the roof trim and move around to actually start siding but first I had to clean the dirt from some big dust storms in the month it sat stagnant, then I could put the last coat of sealant over them and trim it up. To do that I needed water… on a plastic sloped roof…  It was all going well with a wash rag and a bucket of water but I continually had to go up and down the ladder to get new water every 2-3 feet or so… it was REALLY dirty.  With about 150 feet-ish of seams to clean it was taking FOREVER… I did a stupid thing to speed it up, which I totally knew was stupid at the time and thought I would just be ‘really careful’.  I brought the hose up on the roof with me, I stood/sat up-slope from the water and clean the seams a thousand times faster.  It totally worked!  I got the seams cleaned in a fraction of the time.  It all went great until the VERY end, when I had to walk back across the [now soaked] roof.  I was being SUPER careful and super aware but really what I had done is make an elevated slip and slide… in retrospect there are any number of things I should have and could have done differently but, what I DID do was walk across the deathtrap I just made with the exact same results any person would expect.  I fell on my ass and slid out of control off the roof, sliding the full 9′ of slope, gathering speed, and hurling myself off the ledge dropping 11′ onto the asphalt below.  Thankfully I landed on my foot side instead of my head side but I landed square on my right heel (breaking it) and shoving my leg up into my spine, giving me a compression fracture in my lower back and actually breaking a vertebrae a little higher up my back.  I did actually have the forethought in the fall to go limp (I have heard there are far greater injuries caused by tensing up in an accident so the best thing to do in an impact is to go limp…).  I hit my body just right to do the damage though.  I also tried to catch myself when I first fell (in the roof) which sprained my wrist.  In the end I came out with relatively minor injuries (a broken heel bone, a fractured ankle joint, a compression fracture in my back, a fractured vertebrae and a sprained wrist and ankle), it could have been SOOOO much worse and I am so thankful it wasn’t but I am out of commission for a little bit on my build.

There are a few things that I lucked out on but that I did wrong that I have learned from that would be valuable to pass on…

  • First, my mom’s last words to me were ‘don’t fall off the roof’.  You should ALWAYS listen to your mom… instead, I DID fall off the roof and now I broke my back… lesson learned.
  • Second, I wasn’t working with anyone, you should always be ‘around’ someone else while you’re working, in case something like that happens.  When I fell off the roof I couldn’t move right away, I COMPLETELY lucked out because my cell phone (which was in my back pocket) landed inches away from my hand… it DID land in a puddle of water but I was able to make a call and get help from my brother and boyfriend right away.  Had it been any other day at my house there would have been no one there and my phone wouldn’t have been in reach, we live in the country so I could have been laying on the ground for a while… I COMPLETELY lucked out in a few different ways there…
  • Third, I sort of waited a while before getting medical help, I was trying to convince myself that my foot was just sprained and my back was just ‘jammed’ and that it didn’t really hurt THAT bad… my brother wanted to take me to the hospital right away but I sort of refused… had I gone right away I would have gone through A LOT less pain… I hate going to doctors (and spending money), I waited until long past the shock wore off to really get help… if I get hurt again I will encourage my future self to get it taken care of right away… I could have saved myself a lot of pain.

So that’s the jist of it, I am pretty sure if I were to count this as at tiny house expense I just doubled the cost… but I’m not going to do that :).  I am going to take this opportunity to study for some of my A.R.E. s (architectural licensing exams) and check a couple of those off the list and also to catch up on some work projects.  I have some fun updates coming down the line and some potential ‘parking places’ for the tiny house.  I am excited to share these plans as they solidify a little more!  I am also going to be drawing up my plans to post for free/donation based download so look for that in the future.  For now, here are a few pictures:



  1. Welcome to the I Fell From a Moderate Height and While I’m Damaged it Could Have Been Worse club! I slipped off a bridge retaining wall when I was 14 and fell about 15-20 feet, breaking both wrists and a toe. Breaking bones sucks, but I actually feel sorry for people who never have the experience. Something about damaging yourself makes you more aware of what you can take and how you’re built.

    We just drove through Boise in a U-Haul last week. We stopped at the co-op for some food before continuing on to Oregon. We moved up to Portland and we’re loving it here.

    Anyway, take care of yourself and keep moving however you can. Don’t let things stiffen up while you’re healing.

    1. So really, you drove through Boise and didn’t even try to get in touch! 🙂 I totally would have found a way to meet you and your lady! I’m glad you made it through, hopefully it was a pretty drive.
      I am really intrigued, mostly because I was debating between Portland and Denver to move to, you are one of the people who I spoke with and you seemed to enjoy Denver, why the move? I will have to ask you in a few months which you prefer and why. Congratulations on your move!
      I have already learned stretching, while a bit painful is completely necessary! And man, I’m glad I have two hands! Breaking both wrists sounds awful!!

      1. We were only in Boise for a few hours, and we drove about 13 hours that day. I did mention to Sabrina that you were there and it would be cool to see what you’ve accomplished. In the end, though, we were just really intent on getting up here as quickly as our little moving van would take us.

        Denver’s a great town, but I can tell you right now that I prefer Portland. The sun can be relentless in that town, and I need overcast and cloudy days to recharge. There are more good food options here, including groceries and places to go eat. Since we don’t have a car, the public transportation in Portland makes Denver’s look amateur, and it’s also more walkable. My skin and sinuses were also beginning to revolt against the dry, dusty air.

        The wrist-breaking wasn’t fun. For four weeks, my arms were in casts up to my armpits, and then two more weeks with casts below the elbows. I needed help to bathe, but thankfully I was able to reach the right spots for toilet-related activities. My bones actually needed to be pinned back together after that one. Watching the doctor pull the pins out was quite surreal. Fun stuff! 😉

        1. I totally understand, I’m just giving you a hard time, I know how long journeys in cars go! That’s really good to know about Denver vs. Portland, and hey, now we’re only 6 hours apart. I try to make it to Portland once or twice a year, next time I head that way I’ll get in touch, would be cool to meet you folks some day!
          Cast to your armpits, on BOTH arms, sounds like a living hell… I’m just over a week in a temporary (aka easy to scratch through the bandages) cast and I’m going batty. I couldn’t even imagine that!!! eww!
          I am happy you guys are loving your new home, that’s awesome!!

          1. Definitely look us up. We’ll be here.

            The casts were quite uncomfortable. There was much scratching with rulers, and lots of dead skin when they came off. I don’t have big arms to begin with, but I needed lots of physical therapy and weight training to rebuild my muscles and bones. 4-6 weeks of immobility takes a toll on the body. Hopefully your back isn’t quite so bad.

  2. OMG -Please let those who want to take care of you – don’t rush it, but get well soon. We’ll be waiting patiently. Brian Formoe

    1. That will be the trick Brian, I am already planning the things I can do while on crutches… I think there is still SOME stuff 🙂 . Thank you for your kind words!

  3. I am so sorry! I know those famous words “always listen to your mom”. She told me not to do it – but i went ahead and used a chopsaw for a tiny wood cut…….Uuuugghhh, I shudder now thinking about it. It could have been so much worse, but somehow I came away just mangling my fingers instead of chopping them off. I sew for a living……five months later the holes in my fingers were almost healed. What fun.

    Anyway – yes, yours could have been much worse. Why do we get in such a hurry???? Be careful, and heal well.

    1. OMG Debra! Ouch! I am so lucky to not even have any blood to deal with, open wounds are so messy and gross! Lucky to just be bruised up for the most part and hobbling around. Thank you for your kind words and your support! I’ll be back at it in no time!

  4. Hi Macy,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your accident. I just found out today. I’m glad your injuries weren’t any worse. Make sure you wear that back brace for the full length of time the doctor tells you. It sounds like the other injuries are minor compared to your spine. (The pictures of your back brace remind me of the alien harnesses in the tv show Falling Skies !) Once the doctor gives you the ok, I would recommend you soak your ankle / foot in hot water 3 times a day. I sprained my ankle badly years ago and I soaked it in hot water at least 3 times a day and it healed very quickly. The heat helps your blood to flow thru your extremities and bring the nutrients to heal your foot. I am waiting until September when it cools down some, to do the shingles on my shed roof. I don’t like heights, so I have been thinking of how to do it safely. I’m thinking of a safety harness and rope that is tied to the other side, as well as a ledger board screwed into the lower edge of the roof to stand on. I don’t want to pull a ‘Macy’ on my roof! I hope you heal quickly. All the best.

    1. Thanks for your sympathy Dave! Thanks for the advice, i can already tell I am going to have to focus to follow it, I am feeling all kinds of claustrophobic in my brace! I don’t want a wonky spine though so I will stay in it… for a LONG time… 🙂 The foot is actually bothering me a whole lot more, but even that is workable, I’m not going to complain at all because I CAN walk and I CAN get around, the alternative was to not be able to have that luxury. That’s a good idea about soaking my foot, I have been rubbing it when I can, it seems to help the bruising a lot and doesn’t hurt so I figure it can’t be too bad.

      Please do be careful, I hope your roofing project goes well, don’t pull a ‘Macy’ 😉 Best wishes!

  5. Hi, Macy!

    I hope you are doing OK. Having an accident must have been horribly startling, to say the least. I hope you’re not in much pain. I’m really glad, however, that a setback like this hasn’t put you off from your house project!

    Steve W.

    1. That is was Steve! I could be feeling a whole lot worse for sure, I have some pretty good drugs, they keep me dazed and confused mostly but feeling no pain :). I definitely won’t be diverting too far from my house, just a minor detour, I’ll be back at it in no time! Thanks for your kindness!

  6. oh Macy! I am SO sorry to hear about the fall. what a bummer. you’re handling it so well, enjoyed the write-up about it. construction is inherently dangerous… that’s why the workers get paid the big bucks. oh wait…

    here’s a quote I found recently and really enjoy, and unfortunately, it applies to you now in your “forced time off”…
    “Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed. Let me look upward into the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.” – Orin L. Crain

    take care and rest up!
    – Carrie

    1. I love the quote Carrie! Thank you, and thank you for the kind words! I’ll be back at it in no time but for now it’s a great opportunity to get some other things done! 🙂

  7. Macy, my heart goes out to you!!! That must have been quite a scary fall. Your optimism is shining through. This was actually quite an inspiring post for me, especially your smiling face with the “0 days without…” sign and the beautiful quote at the end. I wish you the very best in your recovery and want you to know your relationship with your experience is quite an inspiration indeed.

    With kindness!

    1. It was scary, almost more scary in retrospect, as things happen you just deal with them, in hindsight though it is scary! 🙂 I am glad it was an inspiring post for you and as always think you for your very kind words! I’ll be back at it in no time, I’m already feeling TONS better! 🙂

    1. Thank you! Never too late for kind words! I will be back at it very soon, I plan to have an update after this weekend! Lots to do, maybe some electricity! 🙂

  8. oh my gosh!
    i’m so glad you’re ok!
    only my best vibes coming to you right now.
    i can’t wait until you’re on your feet & working on the house again!
    take care & enjoy the slow life right now.

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