Well I’m two weeks “in” today. What I mean is I tore my MCL two weeks ago today leaving me on total bed rest for a week and limited everything the second week. Now, I’m hanging at the same shop/river as that day, watching a bunch of kayakers, rafters and actually some SUP’ers load for a fun paddle. If I weren’t injured, we’d definitely be joining these guys….Andrew and friends, for his birthday celebration. Instead, I sit here, relax, engage in conversation, hang with Mojo (the coolest dog in the world) and I’m strangely okay with it. Monday, two weeks ago I’d have been sad, furious, envious….a kaleidoscope of crazy emotions which manifested as if my life were over. As I’ve previously written, I’m not an “easy going gal” happy watching the day go by, lazily from the couch. Clearly I’d never wish this to have happened, but I’ll also easily admit that there have been wonderful learning lessons…not the least of which appreciating the moment and not being overly anxious to get on to the next thing. I’ve had a ton of support and this injury has allowed me to stop multi-tasking. As a society we revere this “skill” and I’ve always prided myself in being really good at it. But I’m beginning to think that multi-tasking is shit. It draws you out of the moment, encourages thinner interactions and reinforces an existence of less. I equate it to eating “light” yogurt or ice cream. Over time you get used to it….it even seems to taste good but when you eat the full sugar, full fat, REAL thing, it’s so much better.
Another part of this experience has been remembering the many people that have been through (or are currently experiencing) their own injuries and many, so much worse than mine. I’ll admit, the day or two after I hurt myself I definitely didn’t want to be reminded of that. I was processing how my life would be changing drastically during the most inconvenient part of the year to be on the “injured reserve” list. Personally and professionally. I was in a lot of pain. Exhausting pain. It’s an interesting phenomenon to find yourself in, because we all believe we’re indispensable. We can’t possibly take time off or be away from our jobs because….well, because what? The truth of it is life goes on. People get by. People come forward and help you, help out. Trips go, stores open and close. Boats get sold. Students get taught. It’s okay to slow down and take time to heal.
What have I been doing to heal? Well the standard RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)…yup all of that. Additionally physical therapy and best of all, water therapy. I’m spoiled, in that I’ve been teaching water fitness for two decades giving me access to a pool and know-how, which has been invaluable. It’s by far been the most beneficial for my injury. Physically and emotionally. It’s improving my knee, but also allowing me to move my body and take control of my progress. For me, it keeps coming back to the notion of “Frisky Ripples” …moderation. Doing enough to benefit but not overdoing to my detriment. This is, by the way, not a typical skill set of mine…patience.
I feel it’s important to point something out and the reason I’ve written this post. I haven’t been all zen and wonderfully stoic through this process. It’s been a challenge, and I have been, for lack of any better word, a bitch. A lot. I’ve leaned on friends to help with food or basic needs. I’ve texted and talked with my boyfriend and friends to the point of irritation because I’ve gotten ridiculously bored and/or needy. In paddlers’ terms I’ve run this class 5 rapid and swam. But I feel like I’ve jumped back on my board (or in my boat for you kayakers out there) and kept paddling, trying to stick the next rapid. My simple hope is that I can remember some of these lessons moving forward.