Lessons from a busted wing

On May 7th I slipped and fell at home and ended up with a broken right arm. Having never broken a bone a before, this was a new experience for me. My first realization was that it really hurt. Then I realized there was no one there to help me. Like some of you, I live alone and perhaps my bones are not as sturdy as they used to be. I ended up calling my son for a ride to the emergency room, but I will never forget that feeling of aloneness and vulnerability.

As I write this it is a week later, and things have settled down considerably. In a moment of reflection, I realized that I had learned a few things from this experience. I thought I would share them with you.

- Be careful. I slipped on a scarf that had fallen off a chair. I noticed and walked past it no less than five times but didn’t bother to pick it up. I thought about it but didn’t. Note to self—pick up stuff on the floor, tape down that rug which bunches up, relocate that electrical cord, use the handrail on the stairs. Make home a safer place.

- Be adaptable. I am right-handed. This has made for some interesting situations, but I have adapted. I can’t wear tied or buckled shoes, so I wear slip-ons. I couldn’t comb or put up my long hair, so I cut it. I view my slow and awkward use of a fork as an excellent diet aid. I moved my mouse to the left side of the computer. As they say in the military—adapt and overcome!

- Be patient. Both with yourself and others. Be patient when you can’t open your bottle of soda the first time. Be patient when your kids worry excessively. Be patient when your healing or therapy isn’t going as you would like. You will figure out how to hold the soda bottle between your feet and twist the top off. The kids are fussing at you because they love you. You will get your range of motion back. Things will happen in their own due time.

- Be brave. Don’t let your accident scare you. Yes, let it make you cautious, but not fearful. Be proactive about your problem. Take an anti-fall class, become a yoga practitioner or take this month’s Tai Chi class. Face each day as an opportunity, not a threat.

Yes, these are lessons that I have learned from my busted wing. I haven’t embraced all of them yet, and maybe won’t for a long time, but I have thought of them and know that they will help me continue to fly, albeit slowly and close to the ground.


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