We had a rough day on Friday.

A day where Pete – home alone with the kids – managed to break his arm.

After Sage and Lupine ran for ice packs and and arnica and the hurriedly made phone calls to me and various neighbor-friends (I was at work, some 20 minutes away) we managed to get him to the emergency room for x-rays and splinting. 

After several hours, plenty of pain (and even more worry), and lots of support from our friends and community, Pete had his bones more or less back where they belong and a temporary splint in place until the swelling reduces enough for a proper cast in a couple of weeks.

On the way home we picked up Rescue Remedy, pain pills, frozen pizzas, ice cream, and more arnica. 

(Because sometimes a crisis calls for the whole gamut, don't you think?)

We debriefed as a family, talking through the big feeling that the event stirred up for us all. And then we fell into a fitful sleep, exhausted from the day but still full of adrenaline from all that had unfolded.

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And then, just like that, it was Saturday. 

And like magic, like always, the sun came up once more.


The sun came up on a scruffy little farm with animals that still needed food and water and care; meals that still needed preparing; dishes that still needed washing.

And so we put down our worries and picked up our boots and got to work.

We worked together, the kids and I, without complaint. It took longer than usual, but we got it done. Even without Pete. Even worried; even tired; even overwhelmed.

We managed.

And somehow between the doses of pain medicine and doses of herbs; between ice packs and experiments with arm elevation strategies; between dishes and hay bales and water troughs, we exhaled.

It was a long and slow (though still unsteady) exhale, but it was an exhale none the less.

And then we started crunching numbers. Because sometimes a crisis calls for that, too.


As you likely know, we're self-employed. As you may not know, for us (and many other small business owners) that also means we are uninsured. We live in a strange no-man's land, making too much money to qualify for affordable healthcare, and too little to afford any healthcare all.

And so a trip to the ER is something that I worry about almost constantly (along with lots of other things). And month after month, year after year we bite our lips and throw the dice, hoping to come out on top. Usually we do. But not always. Like on Friday for example.

We hung out with our Amish friends this weekend and they gave us an idea of what to expect from the bill that is soon to arrive. We shared some much needed laughter as they described their reply to the hospital when they were told they had to pay their bill online. ("Well, we have a clothesline. Should we hang the check out back?")

I was so grateful for the diversion of laughter and the feeling of kinship we shared – despite our obvious differences – as we discussed hospitals, payment plans, clothesline humor, and herbal remedies for bone healing.

So for now, I guess, I'll just keep digging in on farm chores, distracting myself with making of every sort, and keep hoping for a gentle landing when that bill arrives.

Mostly though today I am grateful for a husband who is (more or less) still in one piece, helpful friends who cared for us in our hour of need, and Western medicine.

Because when you break an arm, hot dang if Western medicine isn't the most marvelous thing.


And would you look at that? Pete's already helping out with farm chores again. 





16 thoughts on “Broke

  1. Robin says:

    Poor Pete. I broke my arm a year ago while ice skating with my 13 year old daughter and my grandchildren. It’s hard to sit and watch while others do your chores, but I’m thankful for a family willing to pitch in and lend a hand. Hang in there!

  2. Shannon says:

    I am going to guess a million people will come suggest this, but have you ever considered a health share? We have been investigating, and the reviews I read are all excellent. We farm. I get it.

  3. Jeanette says:

    We roll the dice too with most things in life. I think a lot of us do and understand how your feeling. The in between making it and not. Single income homeschooling farming will do that to you. A broken arm …or any other ailment…is rough on everyone and everything. Sending warm vibes and thoughts from ours to yours.

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    I have Shannon, and honestly they are our best-case scenario. But because we are not Christian I’ve always felt it would be unethical to apply. Even if we live by a “Christ-like value system” it still would feel dishonest to join. But ack! It’s otherwise perfect for us.

  5. Megan says:

    Oh my, so sorry to hear you had a rough day! We so understand the feeling of “what if?” when someone gets hurt – our bodies so graciously life and provide here on our little homestead. Praying for quick and relatively painless healing!! You probably already have it on board but Symphytum, the homeopathic remedy, is great for knitting bones back together!y

  6. Shirley says:

    Oh Rachel! You’ve just described one of the few real fears I allow to creep onto my radar on a regular basis. Our family is in the same boat for health insurance, and I simply refuse to pay the exorbitant premiums for services we try not to use, just to feel ‘safe’. That being said, yes, Western medicine is exactly where I’d want to be for necessary body carpentry! Wishing you and your family well and a swift recovery for Pete!

  7. Krissy says:

    Definitely know that most likely you have negotiating power with the hospital. Especially since you were entered in as no insurance/self pay. It is crazy what they will bill insurance vs. what they will let self pay patients pay–much less fortunately.

    I hope you can negotiate it down!

    I totally get your dilemma with the health share, we just joined Liberty Health Share this past year.
    You may find their blog post of interest:

  8. Rachel Wolf says:

    Thank you for this Krissy! So much. There is a good deal written before and after that belief statement that makes me feel like it could be a potential match for us. Truly. Thank you. x

  9. Beth says:

    The ER doc we had told us not to pay the full amount! There can be lots of different bills from one visit.
    Hopefully they will work with you. Bold lives get scary at times, but Here are some quotes that I’ve found helpful at such times. Speedy recovery to Pete!
    “You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Everything you need, want, and desire is moving toward you.”

    “I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

    “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly” -Proverb

    “Life only makes sense when you look at it backwards, but we have to live it forwards.”

  10. Krissy says:

    You are so welcome, I hope it may help your family–and provide a little bit of a security net that we all feel a bit less worried having. I hope Pete continues to heal quickly! Take care!!!

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