Thoughts on being injured

I have hurt myself in the past; major cuts requiring multiple stitches, sprained ankles and wrists, torn muscles, and bone-jarring bruises, but I now am dealing with the deep aching, overwhelming soreness and achiness of a broken hip and a broken collarbone that permeates to my core. When I rest and don’t move the pain level is in the 1 to 3 range; annoying but manageable. When I go to move and get up, the pain can go up to a 6. Moving feels good, however, even with the achiness associated with the injuries, and I make myself move, because this is a lesson for all of us; movement is life and muscles are meant to move.
At least two people have already commented how “back in the day” when you injured yourself like this, they laid you in the hospital bed with your leg in a cast, elevated by wires and you couldn’t move for two to four weeks. Now, it’s up and at ‘em the next day, and it makes sense. Fresh blood to injured areas brings fresh oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing, so why hinder the process? Even after elective surgery, sans trauma, we’re encouraged to get up and start physical therapy as soon as possible. Don’t let the fear of pain and the lack of movement lead to restrictive, tight muscles and joints.
Being in a state of restrictiveness: limited use of the right arm and no use of the right leg, I find that I am now very empathetic to all those persons with disabilities, with strokes and physical handicaps who have trouble operating in a two-handed, two-legged world. It is tough and you have to develop rituals and extremely efficient habits to be able to function in as normal a manner as possible. Try not using one arm or one leg for the next 30 minutes and see what I mean. (I can type on the computer, but with the crutches I couldn’t carry my cup of tea over to the dining room table, or even lift my right arm up high enough to get a tea cup from the cupboard)
When you are in a state of disability, it brings to the surface all your unconscious habits and rituals which you now cannot fully perform as you did when fully functional. This now draws your attention to the “how” of what you usually did without thinking. How do I get a glass of water from the kitchen sink to the dining room? I don’t, I fill a water bottle and put it in the pocket of my sweatshirt and carry it into the next room, as an example. How do you dress yourself if no one is there to help? Very deliberately and much slower than you would when fully functional.
Listening to your body is very important, and rest is a key element in all types of healing. When I start getting tired, I take a nap, and feel better afterward, with a little less discomfort. Not being able to do what you’d like is a bitch, but it’s temporary; so patience, grace, acceptance and laughter are needed to make it through this uncomfortable time. I hope you never have to experience this, but if you should, you will have had a forewarning. Blessings. Dr. Ben

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