Day Sixty Five
It has been sixty five days since I missed a step and fell, breaking two bones in my left foot, spraining both ankles and probably tearing my rotator cuff (undiagnosed but still problematic today). I was walking out of a meeting, still engaged in conversation when I failed to look at the steps and didn’t step down quite the right way. The first week or so was the worst; I fell twice using crutches and felt awkward, miserable and captive. I couldn’t bear any weight on the left leg so I hopped, or swirled around in the desk chair for that period of time. Someone else had to come over and take my laundry downstairs and back up later. I feared that I would fall again and hurt the other leg. I felt self-conscious hobbling and hopping around with a walker and exhausted by the efforts. Living alone I worried about futher injury and not being able to access help, even though I carried my cell phone around in a little purse around my neck for every ‘journey’. I stopped drinking fluids in the afternoon to lessen the chance of a midnight visit to the bathroom.
I understand, intellectually, how minor my injury is. My ex-husband is wheelchair bound and in a nursing home; I do understand. And, yet I’ve never felt quite so vulnerable as I did in those first 2 weeks. And, I felt sorry for myself, I admit it. I whined about the scars on my leg and the broken toenails, the continued swelling and lost opportunities of summer fun. My toenails are going to grow back and the scar will lessen with time. Summer’s over and I survived. In three days I go for my final x-ray and what I hope is a release from the removable cast, with an order for PT.
I’ve gained some insight into my lack of focus and the habit of trying to do several things simultaneously. I’ve learned that I’m vulnerable and have difficulty asking others to help me. I fell three times, in the 3 day period after the break, each time square on my rear end and had to struggle to crawl to a secure surface to get up. I’ve been humbled.
Resiliency is a wonderful thing and even though I’m getting older I’m still capable of full recovery-from anything. The pity party is over and I’m doing my best to be mobile and return to normalcy. Toddlers fall down all the time, they shake it off and move on. It’s part of the learning process; tears serve to release emotion and allow parents an opportunity to offer comfort and solace at a time when baby really needs a show of love. I did that by blogging about my fall and garnering a little sympathy that way. Maybe the pity stuff was my way of administering a little self-love?
I’m on to tough love now. The chaos of these past 64 days has got to be dealt with. I’ve allowed clutter and disorder to reign with the best excuse of all. The most significant thing I’ve learned and will continue to practice is being more mindful. I watch every step like a hawk. I see every bump, rock, crack and uneven bit of pavement as a possible obstacle. Not to be feared, but rather to register as a place where I have to modify my actions or movements. I hope this is one lesson that will serve me in my career as well.
If we’re not paying attention to what’s happening right in front of us we risk taking a tumble. And, coming back after a misstep is twice as difficult as paying attention to the present moment. Being self-employed means that the vulnerability is all mine; there’s no one else to share it with. I can make it… or I can break it. In my personal life I’m literally watching each step I take, in my career I’m going to take the time to chart out my next steps. I’ll be working on a business plan in the next day or two, a very concrete plan with objectives and action plans. When I fell, there was a railing which helped to lessen the severity of my fall. But, if I’d been mindful of the steps in the first place, none of this would have happened. I can’t afford to have my business fail through a blatant lack of paying attention; the cost is too high.
Image by Jose C Silva, Flickr.com