Wow, I do bend my legs a lot more than I thought! The day after I broke my patella (“truly busted it” in the words of the ER doc – just what you want to hear), I went into my son’s classroom with my kid-friendly skeleton book to show them why I had a knee splint on and because it just so happened that the shape of the week was oval…drum roll here…the patella is oval – what a great bone to break! How convenient!
Back to the skeleton and the tiny little oval patella resting below the upper femur bone and above the lower tibia and fibula bones, I could not get over just how this little egg-sized bone could cause such pain and problems! As the fulcrum of the leg (knee joint), destruction of this tiny egg-like bone has seriously shown me just how much I rely on my legs to bend for dressing, picking the kids up, walking, swimming, getting into and out of a car, yoga poses, oh and just forget about walking the dogs (that was hard with two legs!), the list goes on and on.
Okay, “this sucks…” I was going on a beautiful hike and just like that, my egg in my knee cracked. But, I do love challenges and not that I wanted one (and certainly not this one – trust me!!!!!!!) but I had to think about this cracked egg as a challenge. Challenging my flexibility each morning, evening, and at night as I refuse any help with taking off shoes, socks, or getting into or out of bed (note that refusal of help is not something to aspire for – we all need help at times). I undertake all these tasks with keeping my leg straight thanks to my yoga! To raise my leg, it’s a one-legged toe hold with my peace fingers around my big toes and keeping that left leg straight – yet again incorporating yoga!
Doctors’ orders included walking or doing whatever as long as I am wearing the knee immobilizer. Let me be clear, whenever I have an injury, I always listen to doctors’ orders and modify however I can my workouts and yoga in order to heal and my body has been through a lot! Walking in a splint and even one day while holding my crutches and relying on them while tired, I stubbornly was not going to miss my morning mindfulness walk to the Clark and up around the Clark. Okay, so I did end up calling Ben to rescue me when I was done with the hike (I could not complete the entire 6mile trek all the way home), but 4.5 miles (and 10 hours later – just kidding, it wasn’t that long) I had gotten my nature walk! Lopsided, sweaty, even though I was barely moving, I felt good. Okay, I can do this…I have a new body right now and need to treat it accordingly, but I don’t have to sacrifice my sanity (that would mean taking away my mindful exercises and freedom to be mobile – though this has been taken away from me before on bedrest during my pregnancies and there is always a way to find a routine to maintain your sanity!)
Okay, can you believe it, Amazon, does not sell waterproof full size knee immobilizers? Like, duh – wouldn’t everyone with a broken knee run to the pool (get the joke – ok cheesy)! But, seriously, okay – so I go into the water with a booey between my legs and I feel the knee immobilizer gradually getting heavier and heavier – I know I can’t kick my left leg…more arm work. Hmmm – this is really hard! Still, I swim my laps in the pool (not nearly as many – I’m not totally crazy), smell the chlorine on my body and am pleased with my accomplishment of 20 laps. A new norm; a new body needs new special treatment.
Aha…today my balloon to put around my immobile cast arrived to swim. I swam almost a mile (less than usual), but even I stubborn as can be and wanting to finish that mile so badly, could not do it…yet! The pool is a calm place for me just as is my yoga space. The getting in and out by myself and with a straight leg and getting dressed just frustrated me and made me stay in that frigid Williams lockerroom too long, so I felt like an ice cube. Okay, so it’s not going to be easy. More and more hurtles popping up along the way.
I’m not going through my routine or schedule to sound like I “easily” have adjusted to a broken kneecap. Far from the truth; the first tears I shed over the cracked egg were when the doctor said it was “busted.” The catastrophic thinking set in – “I won’t be able to walk, hike, run around with my kids; I can’t do anything…my whole summer is ruined. That’s it – one leaf and one rock and I’m ruined.” I could go on and on with the catastrophic spiral – I’m an expert at it. Unfortunately at the bottom of the catastrophic spiral staircase is one huge panic attack, which doesn’t resolve anything. I’m going through my story and my adjustments for many reasons.
1). If I reread this enough times, I’ll believe it. Just kidding. Well…it can become like a mantra.
2). If someone who is as reliant on routine and physical activity as me to cope with life and stress in general can modify and adjust, anybody can.
3). If someone with a broken patella can do a headstand in many different variations and continue to swim and hike there are absolutely no excuses for any of you to not try my yoga class – no judgment as long as you don’t judge my one-legged drag walking or my limp leg in the pool!
4). Throughout my life, I’ve had to make adjustments and adapt to pretty difficult situations. I never wrote down my thought process. I have found writing my thought process and positive thinking (which somehow comes out in writing and not while I’m mulling in my bed stewing over my broken knee) to actually be very therapeutic and provide me insight into how my mind works.
5). The new lesson I’ve learned from this recovery process is that I need to let people “in.” Meaning, I need to learn to ask for help. We all need help at times and I need to trust that I can be helped. Living in such a supportive community has made me realize we all belong to a large network of individuals that function and light up when connected together. Yesterday afternoon, a friend unexpectedly texted to drop by; the interaction not only lit up my spirits, but my family’s too, who all sense that mommy is not quite herself.
This afternoon I have an orthopedic appointment. Hoping for definite no surgery and hoping that he will give me a schedule of healing (boy do I like schedules), I know that no doctor can gurantee an outcome definitively (I’ve been on the doctor side before). They speak of high probabilities and likely outcomes and likely time for expected recovery, but there is nothing definite. Like our lives, we cannot absolutely control the healing process of our bodies; we can help it and listen to physicians and physical therapists and eat a healthy diet, but the only thing we can control is how our mind responds to the way our body works. Are we going to be harsh and pissed at our body? Or are we going to be accepting, nurturing, and supporting of our body?