Not too long ago a friend of mine posted on her blog about how she was dealing with a foot/ankle injury. She’s very active and being sidelined was bumming her out. Anyways, she put up a post that I thought was pretty good and I’m taking a few of the things she said and putting them on here as well as adding in my own comments.
As a few reading this may know, I sprained my MCL (medial collateral ligament) in my left knee. I also suffered a contusion of the knee cap (a bruise of the bone itself). The orthopedic surgeon said of my fall that an older person would have shattered their knee cap and that because I am young and active was the reason I didn’t suffer the same fate. Well either way, it still hurt like hell and began swelling immediately. It’s doing a bit better now, but I’m still a ways out from running, biking, and hitting the legs in the weight room. So initially I was pissed, then bummed out, then a bit depressed, then pissed again, and now I’m finally at peace with it. To better break that down, here is what went through my mind initially and for a week or so after the injury:
“I can’t” …
- drive my car (it’s a manual transmission)
- lift legs anymore
- Run or bike… or even swim
- golf (maybe the worst of all!)
- play on my kickball team for the rest of the season
- play on my flag football team this season (still trying to aim for a week 4 return though)
- go on the white water rafting trip in West Virginia my dad and I had planned (he ended up going while I sat on a couch all weekend)
- go to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in September that my dad, brother, and I were signed up to do (again, they’re still going while I’ll be home)
- do the sprint triathlon with my friend who had been training to do his first one with me (that turned out okay though because he’s now training for a marathon instead. Again, his first).
“It’s difficult to”….
- get dressed
- walk (including walking my beagle 2x per day)
- do other standard daily activities
After bumming myself out with these thoughts for a week or so, I finally had to just accept it. Then I was watching Sports Center and they had the My Wish kids come on the screen. This particular episode was about a 10 year old kid who was born with a heart condition. He had undergone 3 open heart surgeries before his first birthday and wasn’t expected to make 5 years old. In an interview with him, he very nonchalantly said “basically I can die at any moment”. The kid is 10. Talk about being put in your place. Here I was complaining about not being able to go on awesome trips and stuff and this kid was just hoping for one more day. All of a sudden my thoughts went something like this:
- You have a heartbeat
- You do not have a terminal illness
- You are, in fact, very healthy
- You have great doctors and therapists to get you through this
- You have a great career, family, friends, and all the important things in life
- And you can still lift upper body!
The moral of the story I suppose is that I think that injury and illness should not be viewed as a nuisance, but rather a necessity. It’s very easy for us to take our health, wellness, fitness, etc. for granted. Injury and illness are simply the universe’s way of making sure you realize how great you have it for the other 99.99% of the time. So I’m at peace with it now and am working hard to get back to 100%. So to end this here post, I’ll take a short verse from Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews “I’m Alive”:
“So damn easy to say that life’s so hard. Everybody’s got their share of battle scars. As for me I’d like to thank my lucky stars that I’m alive and well. It’d be easy to add up all the pain. And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames. Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain, but not me. I’m alive. And today you know that’s good enough for me. Breathing in and out’s a blessing can’t you see? Today’s the first day of the rest of my life and I’m alive and well.”