Crazy Cat Lady
Last night I coughed hard and felt something pop, followed by a searing pain down my entire right side. After ibuprofen and icing for three hours didn't help, and I found that I had a heckuva time getting back out of bed.

I drove myself to the ER. Couldn't even stand up straight.

They took x-rays and examined me. I must be the only person on the face of the earth who could break a rib and tear a muscle coughing!

I got yelled at for driving as the doctor had to give me Toradol instead of a morphine shot. Our ER doesn't like to hand out narcotics. I walked out of there with a device to inhale through ten times an hour. After I do that, I'm to COUGH 5 times. I do it because I don't want to get pneumonia from not moving air through my lungs. I do it with tears in my eyes. It HURTS!

I got Vicodin and didn't ask for it. The doctor informed me he was ordering it and I was to take two tablets every 4 hours. I asked for some Zofran so I could keep the Vicodin down. I'm also to take 600 mg of ibuprofen every six hours.

Zofran rocks! It's the first time I've been able to keep narcotics down. I still get slightly queasy, but I'm not puking. The idea of puking terrifies me!

I've broken ribs before but never torn a muscle at the same time. I don't recommend it.

If anyone has any ideas to make coughing and getting in and out of bed easier, I'm all ears. I'll be fine. I'm going back to bed as soon as the latest dose of Vicodin takes effect.

I cannot figure out why people take this stuff to get high? All it does is make you dizzy and groggy. On top of that, I feel just plain weird, which I'm not sure if it's from the Vicodin, or from the combo with the other medications I take.

I guess it's a good thing that I have to take another medication with narcotics to keep them down. I suppose it's a good thing as well that I don't like the side effects. No worries about getting addicted. I only have ten days worth of Vicodin and I can't do ten days without driving, so won't finish them. I guess I'll keep the extra medications on hand in case I hurt myself again.

I'm normally a good patient, but this is miserable.

Thanks for listening to me whine.



Well-Known Member
I did that when I was a skinny teenager with bronchitis and missed a month of school. Back in those days, they still taped broken ribs and the taping relieved the pressure. Years later, when I broke another rib coughing from pneumonia, they didn't wrap it and I preferred the wrapping. If you can't get wrapped, try what they recommend for coughing after a C-section. Hold a pillow to your chest area and brace yourself before you cough. The forced coughing does hurt but you are right. Pneumonia is awful.

Good luck and feel better.


Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear you're in pain. It really chaps me off when hospitals/MDs assume that you drove yourself for medical care when you had a houseful of relatives, friends or neighbors who could drive you. WTH??? Nobody in their right mind is going to call an ambulance for the drive if they can manage it. Lots of places (including here, lol, of course) there is no taxi service at night. Vent!

My husband has experienced similar pain. He is not a whiner. He carried a small light pillow from room to room just so he could use that to "brace himself" when he had to cough. I really hope you heal PDQ and am glad you have appropriate drugs to ease your pain. Hugs DDD


Well-Known Member
I was going to suggest holding a pillow to the affected area while coughing too. I hope you feel better soon.


Crazy Cat Lady
DDD. I agree with you on the driving. We have taxi service, but this was midnight and they don't run that late. I didn't call for an ambulance because I didn't want to pay the co-pay on the fee.

I live alone. I don't have anyone to drive. It hurt like hell, but I got there and back. There was no traffic. Had I been having sx of a coronary or stroke, I would have called 911.

This was not a life threatening emergency. The worst of driving was getting in and out of my car, and backing up on my mirrors as I couldn't twist my torso to see over my shoulders.

They were quick and polite once I got there. I think the doctor was mostly upset because he felt that I needed medication that he couldn't give me.

I went in in my pajamas. No bra. I brushed my hair. Normally, had it been a regular appointment, I would've gotten a bath and changed into street clothes.

I'm rather surprised that they dispensed narcotics without being begged. The only thing I asked for was a shot of Toradol when he offered the morphine.

I also refused his original offer of Percocet as I've never taken it before and didn't know how it would affect me. Better pain relief would've been nice as the Vicodin is only taking the edge off, but as stoned as I get on the Vicodin, I was afraid to take the Percocet.

Pain relief is a wonderful thing, but I still have to be able to take care of myself. I need to be able to prepare food (sandwiches today) and get too and from the kitchen and bathroom.

I'm going to call my next-door neighbour later today and ask him if he can take my garbage cans out to the street for pickup tomorrow. I think I can manage to push the trash wheelie bin, but don't think I can carry the recycling bin. Using my arm on that side pulls on the sore places.


Crazy Cat Lady
Meanwhile, there is no way I can take a bath. Later on today, I am gonna attempt to sponge off. I'm too sore to wash my hair in the kitchen sink and it's greasy. I feel dirty and nasty in addition to being in pain.

I've been using a pillow to cough with, but it still hurts like nobody's business. I hope this heals quickly as this time next month I have a 300 mile drive down to see my mum, my sister and friends in Milwaukee.


Well-Known Member
I did the same thing when I was pregnant with Skittles only I didnt know I was pregnant. I had pneumonia and while coughing I broke the rib and muscle. They did xrays on me because I was sure I couldnt be pregnant. Skittles is proof condoms dont always work!

Yes it hurt like blazes but back then since I already had pneumonia they put me on this cough syrup with morphine in it. I hated it because it made me throw up. Back then they didnt give nausea medications for some odd reason. I actually taped a very small pillow to that side of my chest myself. It was the only way I could get around and take care of two kids.


Crazy Cat Lady
DJ, they WANT me coughing. It's part of my breathing exercises that I have to do ten times per hour. The whole thing was stupid. I was really thirsty and took too big a swallow from the water bottle I keep by my computer.

I just took another dose of Vicodin and when it kicks in, I am going back to bed. This sleeping an hour at a time, "hoovers"!

I am currently trying to figure out how on earth I'm going to scoop the waste out of the litterpan. It was on my list of things to do today before this happened and my cats won't use it if it's dirty.

Usually I sit on the toilet and lean forward to reach the cat pan. I'm afraid if I lean like that I'll get "stuck" and not be able to get up. Either that, or I'll fall on my face.


Well-Known Member
That sounds just AWFUL ... and very painful! I'm glad, at least, that you're getting the proper treatment for it. I hope you're feeling a lot better very soon.

Don't you love it how they just assume that everyone has a big herd of relatives and friends to help us out when we need it? People don't realize how difficult some ordinary things can become when you live alone! I'm in the same boat and I think about that all the time, how would I get by if I were really sick or injured. I have four dogs that have to be taken outside on leashes several times a day, up and down those concrete steps. What if I couldn't do it? As it is, my son has to take a day off work just for me to go to the eye doctor so he can drive home.


Crazy Cat Lady
Well, I got the litterpan scooped out. Took two Vicodin, waited until they took effect and toughed it out. Better some pain that cats deciding to "go" somewhere else.

All I'm doing is sleeping in dribs and drabs from the medications. That and walking around in-between. Too much sitting also increases the risk of pneumonia.

I still can't believe that coughing can do that kind of damage. Last time I broke that rib I got pinned in between a horse and the wall of a trailer.


Well-Known Member
Percocet is good, lol, but no matter what narcotic I am given I always fear I'm going to like it too much so I'm very aware of medications. I've never had an addiction problem but I do think I could like it too much. Strange, but true. I have an Rx for Ativan that allows me to take four a day. I take one at bedtime if needed and twice in four years also took 1 during the day.

Donna, I understand. The one advantage of having had kids at home until last year was that I always could call our or reach out and have somebody available to help. This year it's just husband and me and both of us have health issues. It does impact my sense of safety. I don't even have a younger neighbor. Yikes.

GN, would an old fashioned light weight dust pan work for the litter box? I've never had cats but it seems like you might be able to scoop with-o bending if you had one. Sure hope it gets better and better each day. Hugs DDD


Crazy Cat Lady
IC, I had a bone scan 3 years ago and was fine. The rib broke along an old fracture site. The rib is minor, and according to the doctor, it's not that uncommon to fracture ribs coughing. I was twisted around funny when I started coughing and that torqued the rib enough to break it along the weakened area.

The big problem is the muscle tear. As I understand it, when the rib cracked, the attached muscle went into spasm and then tore. If it were only the rib, I would be dealing with site tenderness and swelling. I've got that.

The muscle I tore connects the ribcage to the pelvis. It tore away from the rib so I've got pain from the rib just below my "bra line" to the crest of my ilium.

Basically, It hurts to do anything as the muscle stabilizes the torso.

All I can do is take ibuprofen in strong doses, take pain medications as tolerated.

The pain medications are an issue: I had to cut the dose back to half prescribed as I got so dizzy and loopy that I nearly fell a couple of times. Can't chance that as I'm pretty sure I'd have not been able to get up.

Last time I took narcotics was after surgery several years ago. Those were stronger stuff than what I'm taking now, but I was in bed and it wasn't far to fall, LOL


Well-Known Member
My father had this happen to him many years ago. He was also getting over a bout of pleurisy at the time. He found the only way he could sleep was with pillows behind him (sitting up) and a pillow under his knees. You don't happen to have a recliner you could try to sleep on?


Active Member
Yes coughing can do it, so can sneezing; my brother sneezed while tying his shoes and totally blew a disc in his back (required spinal fusion surgery). Also be very careful if cough, sneeze or hickup while going to the toilet.

Wow I'm so sorry you got hurt try not to do too much around the house; I did too much too soon when broke 3 of my ribs and it made my healing time about 4 times longer then it should have been. Lay around and sleep as much as you can and feel better soon.



Crazy Cat Lady
I WISH I had a recliner. I can get comfortable laying down but getting down and back up is miserable. I just took my PM medications and a half dose of Vicodin. It actually feels a little better this PM than it has. I've been taking the Vicodin on schedule instead of when I can't stand it, and that seems to work better.

Someone tell me again why painkillers are a "fun" recreational drug?!


Crazy Cat Lady
Nancy, I am only doing the bare minimum around the house. The litterpan was a necessity as I have picky cats who won't use the pan if it's dirty. I normally scoop every other day and by then it needs doing.

I have dirty dishes in the sink that are going to wait until I feel more human. I have paper plates and plastic tableware and plan on using those.

Luckily, I went shopping yesterday before this happened and am set for a few days. There's taxi service up here that will drop you at the door and help you get your groceries in and out of the car and into the house.

I tried sitting in the car and had a bear of a time getting into it and back out. Plus, no way will I drive taking Vicodin, it knocks me for a loop.

Last thing I need is a DUI.

I don't have anyone to "do" for me so I have to figure out how to take care of myself. My elderly next door neighbour is going to take the trash out to the street for pickup and will take the bins back afterwards. I figured I MIGHT be able to get the wheelie bin out but no way could I carry the recycling bin.

My "after care" instructions are very strict about not doing anything that hurts, so I'm following that. The muscle will be weaker than normal while healing and I don't want to re-injure it. Once is enough.

I feel icky. I need a bath. I don't have a shower. My hair needs washing and I'm too crippled up to do it in the kitchen sink. I'm filthy. I managed to change clothes today. Went to the ER in my nightclothes and discovered today that I can't get my bra on.

My D cups are a swingin' in the breeze.

Plus my back and knees are now acting up because I'm walking funny. Ton's o fun. I'm totally crabby and being a tad hyper, I am going crazy with the restricted movement.


Well-Known Member
Don't know if they have this where you are - or if it would be expensive to get... but here, if you are sent home from hospital with a short-term condition that affects your ability to care for yourself and you will be alone (or the person you are with is unable to care for you), they will give you a week or two of "home care": someone will come in to bath you and give you a hair wash, perhaps assist in dressing, light housekeeping (dishes, vacuum, laundry). Normally we have to pay for "home care" (yes, even here), but they have a special hospital program that covers "after hospital care".


Well-Known Member
So sorry to hear how you are suffering. The rib is bad enough but the muscle will just take time. As someone who has suffered from pinched nerves and sciatica issues, time is your only friend - so is ice!

When I had my surgery last year, I couldn't sleep in my bed for a month. I didn't own a recliner either but I did have a nice comfy chair and an ottoman. I put a sheet on the chair, used my bed pillows, and set up a table next to the chair that was my "control center" - medications, water, phone, remote..... It was so much easier getting in and out and with the pain medications, sleeping sitting/slouching was ok (not great, but better than trying to get in and out of bed).

Wishing you quick healing vibes!



Well-Known Member
Yeah my main issue was the muscle too. I think because I already had the pneumonia they werent worried about me getting it. What was really bad though was that because none of us knew I was pregnant I had all these xrays and major narcotics and even the antibiotic was problematic during the first trimester. My obgyn actually told us it might be a good idea to abort because we didnt know what problems could have been caused by everything I had gone through. Obviously we said no.

*Back then I didnt have a recliner either and I couldnt use our actual bed because it was a water bed. I couldnt get out without help.