Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My New Reality

I don't dwell on unpleasantness -- life is too full of bad things to voluntarily prolong their presence in our lives.  So I wasn't going to mention my accident or injuries any more, but... it seems the latter are going to stick around a while and, if I'm being honest in reporting about my life, I can't sweep them under the rug.  So I am going to be candid about the challenges I'm facing -- but with humor and good spirits.  I'm going to talk about my existing reality without diving into pity.

Have you ever been seriously injured?  How long did it take for you to recover?  During that time, what kept your spirits up?

It's hard, when you face searing pain on a daily -- even hourly -- basis, to be happy.  To smile.  But I'm trying.  I'm learning that the simple activities in life we perform without thought (making coffee; putting on clothes; driving a car) are actually complex physical acts.  My right arm is still useless and my left thumb has no strength, so I have half of one hand to do things.  Barely enough to open a bottle, or pour milk, or carry a briefcase.  But I struggle to do those ordinary tasks and frequently forget my limits and get punished with burning physical pain.

But getting back into normal life as quickly as possible is necessary to avoid depression.  Many injured people get depressed when they can't live normally.  The change, especially when abruptly caused by trauma, is too stark for them.  That won't happen to me because I know how to avoid it and, having a far-more serious previous accident under my belt (motorcycle crash in 2003), I know I have the deep inner will-power to push past all pain and recover my health.  I did it before; I can do it again.

There's even comedy in this.  Gina has a stick-shift (manual transmission) on the right side which I can't operate with my right arm.  So, to drive to work, I've become a contortionist.  When I need to shift gears, I twist my entire body to work the shift with half of my left hand.  It looks ridiculous but gets the job done.

I'll understand if some of you aren't interested in hearing tales of recovery.  If so, check back in a few weeks.  Otherwise, I'll try to keep my stories light and entertaining.  I don't want to stop blogging and, right now, struggling through physical injury is my reality.  My unavoidable new reality.

42 comments:

  1. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Getting back to full health is a good goal, but don't push yourself too much. There's nothing worse than injuring yourself again. Take good care of yourself.

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  2. So sorry to hear of your pain, but inspired by how you deal with it. I appreciate that you share your life as it unfolds. That's the nature of blogging!

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  3. You should blog about it - it helps! Trust me. It's not the same, but when I was first pregnant I wasn't going to share that much about it on my blog either, but I found I felt so much better when I did talk about it more. So, you need to just bare all and if people don't like it, screw em! I'm sending you tons of healing vibes my friend!

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    1. Beth, believe it or not, but when I was pondering whether to blog about this, I thought of you! And your tentative blogging about your pregnancy. I saw your friends support that and thought maybe they'd do the same for me. Of course, you ended up with a baby!

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  4. Personal injuries, especially when life altering are very hard to deal with. Last year both my husband and I were seriously ill. It took a very long time to get over it. I didn't blog as much about my husband's illness, ( a tumour in his kidney where they had to remove 1/3 of his kidney, thankfully it turned out to be benign) but I blogged extensively about my illness. I was like you, unsure if people would respond or not. I came very close to giving up blogging at that time. In the end my readers were so amazing and unbelievably, I actually gained readers during that time because I was so honest about the difficulties and fears that I faced.

    Depression is probably the worst fear, as you mentioned. Sharing your problems with other people might just give you the lift you feel you need right now.

    I think to myself daily that it is amazing what our body does for us and we just take it for granted. Right now you are having the opportunity to appreciate it again.

    I hope you start feeling better soon. Broken bones will heal. Broken spirits are harder to deal with.

    Hugs!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. You are so right. Thank you for saying this.

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  5. :(

    Please tell me you've sought medical attention. As a fellow manual transmission driver, I know that twisting your body (and presumably taking both hands off the wheel) to shift gears with your left is not ideal or safe. May consider renting an automatic transmission car for a few days?

    Either way, wishing you a speedy recovery!

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  6. I agree, it is likely that it will help you heal by blogging about the process. While my experience is not an injury, I do know quite a lot about living with and coping with a life changing and debilitating situation. Mine is permanent but at some times worse and at other times better. It an be difficult to figure out when and how much to talk about it, but this might be the very best forum for that sort of thing. Here, people can chose to read/listen and respond, or to not get involved. I know that in my offline life I don't like to burden people with my issues so I try not to talk about it.

    I hope you heal quickly and it sounds like you know how to take care of yourself. I would like to suggest that you be careful in your efforts to "push past pain". Pain has a purpose. It tells us we need to pay attention, be careful and be gentle. Don't push too hard. Listen to what your body wants. Healing may be a slower process than you want it to be.
    Take Care. I wish you all the best.

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    1. Thanks, Shawna. You say really smart things. I'd be a fool not to listen to you. (And I'm not a fool.)

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  7. Agreed with the above commenters: keep blogging! I would also like to push you to go get a check-up and make sure you haven't done any serious damage to yourself.

    I had a femoral hernia operation just before I started my blog - I didn't really talk about it at all, but it was a pretty big deal to me. It took me 6 weeks to recover, and I was in quite a bit of pain (including having a reaction to the painkillers).

    Sending you good healing vibes!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila. Knowing you're in my corner makes me so much happier.

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  8. I've never been seriously injured before. Well...I was when I was about 3 but it wasn't anything like this. Just a few stitches fixed me up.

    I did, however, have major surgery. Although it is far from having an accident, I can related to the fact that it was difficult to move around and be normal. Even the smallest task seemed like the biggest challenge. I couldn't walk without assistance, stand up without assistance, or even sit down or lay down without assistance. What kept me going was that I wanted to get better as quickly as possible.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. This is obviously a huge part of your life. It's kind of hard to ignore :)

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  9. Ouch. That's no fun and I hope you will be okay soon. Yup, I have been badly injured in the past and I don't actually what kept my spirits up? I was playing online games or something? I had loads of meds for the pain.

    I think it's okay to share also bad things that happened in a blog, because negative stuff happens to everyone. No need to pretend that sun shines every day. It hopefully does most of the days but sometimes things just suck :P

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  10. Oh dear, I'm worried about you driving contorted like that and acquiring new pains in the process...

    I had a similar accident to yours---I slipped on some post-snow gravel while on my bicycle and split my forehead open. There was a lot of blood and I had to have stitches. Took awhile to get back to normal.

    Please take care of yourself and don't overcompensate!! Give yourself time to recover :)

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  11. I don't think there's a problem blogging about this at all! Like you said, you blog honestly about your life, and this is a part of it now. Having injured/useless hands is so frustrating! We take our articulation for granted and then it bites us every time we go to manipulate something. -_-

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  12. I've actually come about this backwards, as in I read your Twitter feed first and then came here to read your blog. I have heard that broken ribs are terribly painful. I hate that you are in pain, dear. But I'm very glad you are sharing this experience with us. Gentle hugs from Missouri.

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  13. I am interested, and I hope you get better soon, I think it's a good process to talk about our experiences and I hope it helps you toox x x

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  14. Ally as a fellow motorcyclists who has been where you are, I hope you have been to a doc and been thoroughly checked out. You also need to rest! You can't rush this and you need to give your body the time to heal. Please look after yourself, because in the end you will end up taking longer to heal up. Hugs!

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  15. Aww, Ally. Definitely don't stop blogging. Injury is hard, but isolating yourself/not talking about it can only add to the hardness. One of the reasons I never stopped blogging, even infrequent as it is, is to keep in touch with my friends.

    I'm glad your leathers did their job and protected you from a bad spill, but don't forget to take care of *you* no matter what the prognosis. I'm going to pop you a little something in the mail today. Feel better soon.

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  16. I hope you get well soon with all my heart. It's always a pleasure to read what you have to share, Ally. Don't stop blogging.
    xxx

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  17. Get well soon and I do hope you'll keep updating us. I tend to avoid human contact when injured but have no problems hearing about others' recovery.

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  18. I second the suggestion of going to a doctor. Maybe an urgent care center near you if you don't have a personal physician (I don't and that's what I'd do).

    Something is not right with your arm and avoiding having it checked out could lead to major, permanent damage. Not trying to scare, just being realistic.

    Meanwhile, rest up and focus on healing, whatever it takes....

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  19. Please be careful driving your car! That sounds treacherous!
    Get well soon! You're in my thoughts!

    Lisa.

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  20. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry about your accident. I just ready up the last two posts to catch up on your situation. Of course you should share. Our blogs are not only for sharing cool moments but sad ones too. That is what makes them personal and interesting at least to me. I can't imagine how hard it must be dealing with the level of pain you are in and still having to function.
    I sure hope you are taking the pain meds when you are not working to give yourself a break. Are you able to do physical therapy? I wish you a speedy recovery and do share and no fear of depressing us… :)

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  21. Keep sharing and putting the challenges you're facing down on (virtual) paper. You have every right in the world, especially on your very own blog, to do just that and trust me when I tell you, if will help in more ways than you may even realize right here and now in the moment.

    Healing hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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  22. I have no opinion on motorbikes asuch, it has its risks like all things. I hope you're ok though

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  23. oh ally!
    i wish i could come over to open the bottles, make coffee and pet you....
    when i had my knee surgery 2010 i had massive pain for weeks. hubby gifted me a new laptop and that was my entry in the blogger world. just reading the adventures of others kept me distracted for hours.
    did you try the arnica? it is very necessary to pamper yourself at the moment. order your fav meals, sit in the sun (this heals!), slow down as often you can. i know you are very brave and strong - but don´t be to hard to you.
    hug you - careful :-)

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  24. Sorry, I didn't read properly, that was for the previous blog post, that was insensitive of me. Take each day as it comes and each day you will take a step more than the day before

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    1. No problem, buddy. Thanks for the concern.

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  25. oh so sorry about that! Hope you'll get better the soonest. I hope the prognosis is good for you and pain will go away. If not, trust me in time some part of pain becomes so usual that you don't notice it at all.

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    1. when I hurt my back badly I spent most of my time in the park, nature helped me a lot. just try doing more of things that make you more happy like favourite food or window shopping for sexy dresses :)

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    2. Good advice, pal. I'll follow it.

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    3. that's a usual advice but works good. Are feeling better now?

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    4. Every day is a tiny bit better, as my body heals slowly.

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  26. I certainly want you to tell us how you are doing and that you are progressing well. Like Bethie the Boo said ... you need to just bare all and if people don't like it, screw em!

    I follow FlyLady and whenever she posts something of a spiritual nature she warns you up front and says "Close the mail now if you don't want to read it!!!" And if people don't want to know how you are healing then they can just close the post!

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  27. Thankfully, I do not recall having an injury this serious.
    I do hope that you heal soon, and you can talk about whatever you want, it's your blog :) and real friends will listen.

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  28. No major injuries for me but, when I had River I had a C-section followed by a fibroid removal surgery. The recovery time was ridiculously long. Not being able to walk or change my baby's diaper or even bathe or go potty by myself was very depressing but I didn't wallow in it. I always kept a since of humor, making fun of myself for having to wear diapers and the like. Of course my situation wasn't funny at all- I was just pretending to have fun with it, but even pretending was a wonderful distraction that kept me from drowning in self pity.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Hollie. I'm sorry about your experience.

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  29. That sounds really frustrating. Did you go to the doctor? Do you think a brace or pain medicine might help? You're so right that we take the little things for granted and only think about them when we can't do them anymore.

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  30. I know the well wishes are super late on my part. But I hope you are feeling better, Ally!

    Accidents happen. I'm glad that it hasn't discouraged you from something you love. Also glad to hear that you minimize the risk by being properly outfitted. My parents had a motorcycle (off/on road) when they were younger, actually until well after I had come along. And my best friend got her license and a bike a couple years ago. So while it's not my personal thing, I understand the appeal of it, the passion for it many people have.

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