Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Good news and bad news

I just got back from seeing an orthopaedic surgeon at the Vancouver Bone and Joint Clinic. The good news is that my fractured shoulder should heal within six to eight weeks. The bad news is that it will take a lot longer before I am able to lift my hand above my head again.

That means I won’t be able to swim or compete in triathlons for at least six months. For most people this probably wouldn’t be a big deal. But for me it is. My whole life revolves around swimming and cycling. It’s what I do. It’s what my friends do. I’m not a sedentary person. I have to move.

Today was the first day since the accident that I felt sorry for myself. I had a nice little pity party on my walk home from the Bone and Joint Clinic. Part of me knows it’s ridiculous to be depressed about something so minor. I keep telling myself that it could be worse. I could be dead or paralyzed. But that doesn’t really make me feel better.

I’m upset because the whole thing was so preventable. I blame myself for what happened. I keep replaying the accident over and over again in my head. I shouldn’t have been going so fast. I should have slowed down. I shouldn’t have braked into the corner. I should have been more cautious. I shouldn’t have been so focussed on winning. My split second mistake cost me the entire summer.

I know obsessing about it is a waste of energy. I can’t change what happened. As much as I want to go back and undo my stupid mistake, I can’t. So no more self-pity. No more beating myself up. I need to figure out how to accept this injury and recover from it as quickly as possible.

According to the doctor, I should be in a lot less pain two weeks from now. I’ll be able to sleep comfortably again and I won’t have to keep my arm immobilized. In about three weeks, I should be able to start physiotherapy (and rehab for my newly acquired addiction to painkillers).

My office is installing voice-recognition software on my computer so that I don’t have to slouch in my chair with my keyboard on my lap (like I’m doing right now) when I go back to work on Monday.

In the meantime, I am trying really, really hard to focus on the positive. For example, I am acquiring a whole bunch of new skills. I am learning to write with my right hand. I can open cans and jars by stabilizing them between my thighs. I figured out how to shave both my armpits with my right hand (it’s a special talent, really).

My friends have been great. I have gotten more phone calls, emails and visits in the past five days than I have all year. Life could be a lot worse. (Okay, maybe that sentence wasn't super positive. But I'm working on it. Baby steps.)

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