I am almost three weeks away from being cast-free. I can put weight on my left foot – with full permission from my doctor – and I am officially crutch-free since my last orthopedic appointment when I got to see the X-ray film of my formerly broken bone. The fracture looks like an upside down V and healing as we speak. Mind-boggling to think how bone-building materials fill the space between new cells helping my bone heal. Yes, the nerd inside just waved at you. Wave back? Well, never mind.
Over the last four weeks of cast existence I’ve acquired essential knowledge about self-preservation. Sounds pretentious but it really is not. As I said so many times, everything happens for a reason. In this case the bones broke for me to learn about mindfulness and teach my boys about it too. I’ll explain.
I am very active, always been that way. Taking what I thought to be unnecessary time off to give my body time to heal after a light injury was never something I believed in. At the same time, I eat very healthy and do a lot of good things for my body. The best way to describe my approach would be “healing on the go”. If I gave my body all the resources it needed to rebuild itself, I thought, then nothing else was needed. The missing link is quite obvious: Resting. Not out of weakness but because slowing down and resting are part of healing. At the beginning of this I stubbornly refused to accept that and paid the price in pain and swelling. Inability to move the way I expected to made me both frustrated and scared. Closed ones and strangers alike encouraged me to look at the good side of slowing down. I did it, out of fear of not being able to recover completely. At the same time admitting to feeling better when I did. I rested more and then one day I stepped on my cast and it didn’t hurt. And I actually pondered whether I should do it or not instead of doing it recklessly. Something inside felt right because there was no pain. I continued to do it cautiously still until I got the doctor’s approving nod. He told me I can walk without the cast when I’m inside. So I did. I limp, which is normal after having a cast, but it doesn’t hurt. But walking with a limp is the norm now unless I think as I walk. That’s right, I have to think if I am to walk without limping. I cannot walk fast if I am not to limp. Every step is pondered upon and the seemingly simple act of walking is nothing short of a miracle in my mind. If I feel pain I stop and rest. I listen to my body and allow it to slow down not out of weakness but because it needs it. Because I need it. My will to recover is stronger than ever but so is the connection with my body.
I learned to listen. I learned to celebrate the gift of walking. I learned that some things can hurt my body from within and not accepting temporary limitations is one of them. I learned mindfulness.