Single Parenting with a Broken Elbow



After the unveiling and with the stressors of the first year behind me, I found myself in a pretty good place. Emotionally I was better, happier and I started having a social life again, with some dates. I’ve stopped yelling at the kids for no reason and have gained control of my feelings. My confidence in making important decisions has grown and I am more decisive about my choices for activities and school for the kids. I’ve stopped caring about what others think of me and I ignore or tell people in a polite way that my emotional recovery and finances are my own business. I am still dealing with my anxiety issues. I feel like my new life is under control.

It was all starting to feel good!!

And then I fell walking home from work and broke my elbow. Fuck!

This was the last thing on earth I needed!!!

I could almost hear Matthew laughing at me for being a total klutz. I mean come on, I run marathons and workout daily without a single injury and somehow I manage to hurt myself walking.

So off to the emergency room I went. My neighbour drove me and my nanny slept over to watch the kids. Being a single parent with an injury is not easy, it involves much more planning while in pain.

Sitting in the waiting room alone was tough. I had no family or husband for support. Looking around I was jealous of people with spouses holding their hands. When I broke my wrist 8 years ago, Matthew took care of me. Now I was alone. It hurt physically and emotionally. One day when my kids are old enough they will hold my hand and call to make sure I am okay.

I did share my “situation” with the hospital staff to get some extra sympathy points and TLC. They were really kind and empathetic. The x-ray confirmed a broken elbow and that I have a high threshold for pain, no kidding! I was casted from my wrist to just under my armpit. I took a taxi home and called my mom in Montreal right away. She was at my house the next day to help out. I am so lucky to have her. I needed her because the cast was brutal and uncomfortable. I could not do anything for myself, it was awful and demoralizing. I couldn’t even brush my own teeth. I tried very hard to remind myself that it would be temporary and it would heal with time. I would be in a cast for 3 long weeks.

The next few weeks were pretty hellish. I can’t really sugar coat it much. It was almost impossible for me to sleep, the pain killers made me feel sick and I started to feel down and useless. I am not the type of person to “take it easy” I am a go-go-go type of person. This was very hard for me to accept. I had no choice, my body needed me to rest. During those 3 weeks I let my mother take care of me, I stayed in bed, my meals were made for me and I watched a lot of Netflix. Maybe this was God’s way of telling me to slow down and start taking care of myself. Maybe God could have found a less painful way of telling me this? Lol. And boy did I ever sleep a lot. I took afternoon naps and finally once I figured out a comfortable position with 5 pillows, I slept 8 hours at night.  Maybe I was more run down then I thought. In some weird way maybe this fracture was meant to be?

The kids really stepped up and helped by making their beds and putting their dishes in the sink and yes even hanging up their jackets and putting their shoes away. I am aware this might not last but for now I am enjoying it.

I will not let this broken elbow set me back. My cast is off and I have already started physiotherapy. I am getting stronger and better a little bit every day. I still take things one day at a time and try not to get overwhelmed. I am slowing down and taking care of myself and my family. I will get back to that good place once again. But like I remind people, it will happen and please do not rush me. I know people care and want me to heal as quickly as possible but I need to do it on my own time.

Yesterday I turned 40 and, like the Jewish holidays that went so well, this milestone did not hurt so much. I will celebrate once I am feeling better, in a low key way with my friends and family. I will continue on my happier journey into year two, stay tuned.


About Author

Heidi Wilk was born and raised in Montreal and received her dietetics degree at McGill University. She moved to Toronto in 2002 with her husband Matthew. Heidi works full time in a downtown Toronto hospital and has 3 beautiful children under the age of 7. Trying to achieve a work life balance was put to the test in 2008 when Matthew was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer and their lives and dreams were forever changed. Heidi has recently started sharing her own personal struggles, how she has overcome them and the important life lessons she has learned as result. Contact Heidi by email at



    Thank you for sharing your story. The universe has a way of sending us messages. Recovery takes time and time helps us heal…if at all.

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