Rediscovering the Present

Hi ARIR Community,

I’ve enjoyed reading many of your posts, and I am grateful to have found such a supportive group. I ruptured my Achilles while snowboarding, had surgery, and am now at exactly 6 weeks post-op.

For this post, I wanted to highlight a few notable learning points from the initial stage of recovery. Many of the rougher times I’ve had have sprung from mental anguish rather than physical pain. I am not a sedentary person, and I tend to get anxious when I’m inside for too long. Four weeks of sitting was an eternity. To rub salt in the wound, just one month prior to my injury, I had moved to California to join my boyfriend after two years of living out East. I still often feel I am missing out on getting my new life together and discovering a new place of residence. I was told over and over again to take advantage of the down time so, naturally, I thought I would have the mental capacity to become so fluent in Spanish people would think it was my first language, add in Arabic for extra fun, apply for 100 amazing jobs a day, save the Earth by coming up with a plan to combat climate change, meditate like Buddha, read all of the classics (twice), maybe write a few books of my own, go through all my college and graduate school notes for a nice refresher, email everyone I’ve ever met, and only eat Super Foods that aid in my recovery. I completed all of these of course.

Right after surgery, I was afraid the tendon detached somehow. My ankle felt oddly loose, and I learned that I violently twitch right at that pivotal sweet spot before falling asleep, which I thought was the cause of the detachment. A sharp pain at the wound and my calf would prevent me from falling back asleep. I then spent many dark hours lying in bed thinking about what happened and how I could have prevented it all and what would be so different about my life if I didn’t get this injury…if I only didn’t have my bindings so tight…why was I trying to get past that other person on the slopes…when will I be running and hiking again…will I ever be in good physical shape again…why is the recovery for this soooo long…why am I not taking advantage of all this down time? One day while in the elevator (which I hate using along with waiting for a close parking spot at the store, but now do) a young woman said to me, “Well at least you didn’t break/fracture your tibia and fibula like my friend did two weeks ago.” That day I was in so much pain and my mom had just left from her two week stint of taking care of me, and I was furious that the woman had no idea what I was going through as far as pain, recovery time, etc. Thinking, oh it could have been worse only makes me feel, well, worse.

I don’t know when, but these negative thoughts started to fade away. Especially when I got a boot and when I started focusing on more tangible daily goals. This is when time started feeling more normal again, that I would eventually be back to what I like doing, and that I’m ok with letting the time pass. I had an appointment this morning and took out the last wedge! The doctor said everything looks good and I can start PT.  A yoga instructor once said at the end of class, “the past is history, the future is a mystery, and the present is a gift.” Recently I’ve gotten better at enjoying that present.