I grew up being hurt. I was a risk taker and that eventually took its toll, at least once a year. I broke my arms, wrists, ankles, ribs, you name it, I probably broke it. I spent a large portion of my young years in some form of a cast. After playground days, I kept getting breaks and sprains. I became an expert on crutches and braces. I wore wrist guards. Of the standardized tests required for school each year I only ever wrote them on my own three or four times. I used writing aides to get my thoughts onto paper. I got used to pain, hospitals, and injuries. I did not rush to the ER when I suspected I had a break, simply took it easy and made an appointment.
The moral of the story is that I am used to being injured, out of commission, and hurt. I did, however, get a break (no pun intended), between tenth grade and last year. I was whole, unhurt, and could live my life normally. A huge four-year chunk of time where I got acclimated to being unhurt. That is the problem in this story. I took advantage of being just like everyone else with normal limits and a grown up body that seemed less inclined to give up on me. I thought I was better. Figured if I didn’t take childish risks I wouldn’t get hurt. Figured the extra calcium from multiple fractures made my bones stronger. Both of those are based in truth. But bones aren’t the main problem, and childish risks are not the only way to get injured.
Which leads me to the inspiration for this post, I am currently injured. I have been out of work for something like three months. I have not been able to walk during this time. I went from driving for a living to not driving at all. I went from a job full of freedom to being confined to a recliner in my living room. I am unhappy. At the beginning, I was miserable. I couldn’t stand not moving and not leaving the house. My anxiety reared its ugly head. I was flung back into actively coping, something I have had little practice with lately (future article on my mental illness struggle). The culprit, my hip gave up on me. A couple of years of repetitive movement left the cartilage in my hip torn to shreds. My best option is surgery. I am apprehensive about that treatment plan. Therefore I am seeking a second opinion. I see the new doctor on Monday and I hope he has more options for me.
There is a bright side, everything, no matter how bad or frustrating has a silver lining. I now have time. There was little time in my work schedule for me. I worked two jobs routinely doing more than 40 hours a week. I barely read books, I never wrote, I did not paint. I had time to do the minimum, eat, sleep, and work. Now I have time. I am reading and writing. I am getting a chance to be creative again because at least for me that doesn’t require very much movement. I am reconnecting with myself and my passions. But the best thing about having time is….
My grandmother got sick. Out of nowhere, she ended up with a diagnosis of aggressive leukemia. She had never been to the ER for herself, she had never been in an ambulance, and the last time she stayed overnight in the hospital was when she gave birth. Her first full day I spent the whole thing in the hospital with her, attempting to help her acclimate to hospital living. At the time I didn’t know how precious this time would turn out to be. Eighteen days later my grandmother died. None of us expected it, her lungs just weren’t strong enough. My injury gave me time. Time to spend with her, time to grieve, time with my family. I will forever be grateful for the time.
Now, I will keep moving forward. Keep chasing dreams. I am turning my attention back to something that makes me feel so much like myself. For a long time, I became a person that tried really hard to overcome everyone’s expectations. I made a lot of people very proud and excelled at the path I had chosen. Unfortunately, that meant I put aside the other half of me. I am rediscovering the other half, the creative me. I am so happy about the possibilities.