I am reminded of the old expression, Darkness is to a haphazardly placed skateboard as a sloping countertop is to a fresh egg. Okay, I just made that up. But after spending three days in the hospital and undergoing an operation that involved a metal plate, screws, and some wires, not to mention dining on yummy hospital food, a sense of humor seems in order.
And, in fact, there actually were some humorous moments. Yes, I did indeed trip over an unseen skateboard in a dark garage at night while rushing to go pick up one of my kids. And, yes, I fell hard and did some serious damage to my ankle. But my 14 year-old son who rode with me in the ambulance immediately added levity by exuberantly posting the whole thing on Instagram. He was having a great time!
And when we arrived at the Emergency Room and witnessed all the real suffering, including severely injured people who had been in car accidents, stroke victims, and more, my son hit the nail on the head when he looked at me and said, “Mom, in the universe of things, this really isn’t that bad!”
I had to smile at that, in between winces. May we all have such a healthy perspective that whatever we’re going through, there are nearly always people who have it worse and we likely still have so much to be thankful for!
All of which isn’t to say that it was a pleasant experience — I’ve broken limbs before, and gave birth to three children, but it’s been a long time since I was reminded of what significant physical pain is like. If ever there were a pebble in my shoe to keep me in the ‘here and now,’ the experience of the past few days sure ranks up there!
And not just in terms of being aware of the throbbing of my ankle. The collateral events and feelings served as a stark reminder of the fragility of life, the advantages that most of us enjoy because we live in an advanced society with access to modern medicine, and ultimately of our practically unavoidable need to rely on others sometimes.
I was lucky enough to have my surgery performed by a very experienced ankle surgeon from Westchester Medical Group in Valhalla, which gave me confidence … which was offset by the very real fear that comes from imagination: what if it doesn’t go well, or I can’t be a fitness instructor anymore, or worse?!
Because I chose an epidural and light sedation for the actual procedure, rather than general anesthesia, after the operation when I was lying in the recovery room, I realized after several hours that I still had no feeling in my legs! Wow did my imagination go haywire with that! What if some nerve got cut and I’m going to be paralyzed from the waist down! Sounds crazy, but what a powerful example of how our imaginations influence our thoughts and moods!
The feeling in my legs, of course, came back just as the medical practitioners assured me it would.
My Ankle has been reset, I am icing and waiting for the swelling to go down so I can get a cast next week, and I am home pondering all the things I can’t do for my family, my business, my household … and all the wonderful things my family and friends are doing for me!
At moments when my children are waiting on me, I feel emotionally vulnerable and filled with love and gratitude. And, of course, when they are wrestling each other and fighting over my crutches and the dog jumps on the bed, I feel a physical vulnerability like I never have before.
As many times as I’ve jumped on benches, leapt over puddles, skated on ice, it’s no fun confronting the fact that I’m not indestructible. I know this experience is a new test of strength and endurance. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and so this shall.
Here’s a (real) quote that I like:
The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.
And so I shall.
I’ll keep you posted on my recovery, and share whatever interesting stories just happen to, well, happen along the way.
We still have classes running, so I hope you can get out and keep training — not just for your outer conditioning, but for your internal strength as well!
Lastly, a big “thank you” to Jeannine and Terri who immediately took on some of my classes so we can keep offering a good range of class times!