Someone in the family always has to take out the garbage. And since I live with two dogs (my son is in the Army and stationed on the Canadian border and far, far away), I wind up doing the honors.

I always advise those who live alone who are doing outdoor chores, especially in winter, to always take a cellphone out with them … just in case they have an accident. I also advise them to be reasonably dressed, and certainly to wear a coat.

However, I was in a hurry and, after all, my mission would be quick. Just get the bag of garbage to the garbage can, and I would be done. So, although dressed and in a coat, I did not take my cellphone with me.

In a matter of minutes my feet found the ice on my side drive and by the garbage cans. And, in less than a minute, I was on the ground with a terrific pain in my arm. Yes, I was seeing stars over and above those in the sky, and I knew right away that I had broken my arm.

Mercifully, I did not hit my head nor was I out of it. Having read of folks who wound up outdoors and freezing to death before someone had found them, I knew I had to get back into my house at all costs,

Thank goodness for a cyclone fence gate which allowed me to pull myself up to my feet so that I could stagger into the house and somehow make it up the stairs.

It would be impossible to drive to MacNeal Hospital’s emergency room, since it was my right arm, the one with which I do everything, including drive. I suppose that I could have called our good paramedics but, frankly, I was too embarrassed to have had such a dumb accident?”and at midnight, no less. Who would I know who might be up, and who would be willing to give me a ride?

Ultimately my chief of staff found out what the mysterious paragraph is all about in her contract?”the one which says “and other assignments to be determined.” She came from Chicago to give me a ride to the ER. And sure enough, X-rays proved that I had fractured my arm, necessitating a sling, which I now will be wearing for a least a month,

I will not need surgery, just the sling. However, I cannot tell you how exciting it now is to take a shower, put on clothing, just get ready for a normal day at work.

So, if you see me around town with my arm in a sling and somewhat mismatched clothing, you will know the reason. It is amazing how much we take our appendages for granted. I am definitely humbled and gaining respect, by the moment, of what folks go through who have a handicap.