Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Brain Bone

Post surgery report: stitches are out, stabilizer brace is off and physical therapy began yesterday. I'm still on two crutches for another couple of weeks, then one for two more weeks, and then I'm on my own two legs again.
It is astounding how quickly your brain can actually forget how to walk normally on two legs! Part of it is the fear that when you put weight on the injured leg that your knee will just fold like an origami paper crane and you'll face plant. My surgeon did one of those serious eye contact things and said, “Mimi, when there’s a bone injury like this, it will take six to twelve months to heal before you’re back at 100%. The thing you need most right now is patience.”
Six to twelve months… I was doing that silent-scream-inside-your-mind thing as I smiled at him and nodded in agreement. I’ve been a foot tapper my whole life. My dad loved telling the story of when I was five years old in the middle of high mass at our suburban Detroit Catholic church and I yelled out across the room, “Hey! Let’s everybody sit down!”
There's a whole psychological trust aspect to this healing process that is baffling and fascinating at the same time. The Universe is handing me an exam on my two hardest life lessons: patience and trust. No kidding. These are the flaming dragons that have burned me over and over again in every challenge I've encountered. My impulse has always been to yell, "Get the frak out of my way and I'll do it myself" any time something isn't happening super fast and super efficiently according to my clock and achievement measuring stick.

So here I am now, looking down at my very own knee, the same one that has been driven by my very own brain my entire lifetime, and there’s a shy awkward silence happening between the two of them.  It’s like they speak dramatically different languages and my American-English brain isn’t sure how to ask my very foreign and once fragile knee to dance. I’m questioning whether it can really bear my weight and figuratively, kicking myself over how cruel I am to ask my knee to be responsible for my holiday cookie bulk when it has just returned from some level of hell.   
The X-rays show the tibial plateau fracture is healing and I can now stand on my left leg and even take a step with my crutches there in case I need them. I’m wishing there was a way to see into my mind to locate proof of my own confidence, my commitment to change, my patience with my progress and my trust level in myself to achieve what I set out to do. The logical part of me knows that I have all those things inside of me, just like it knows that my knee is structurally sound enough to now put weight on it again. The scaredy cat part of me is standing by the wall at the school dance hoping no one asks me out on the floor.  

The human body is an amazing organic machine; perfectly constructed to do hundreds of things and to continue running for many decades without a major overhaul if it is maintained with simple, basic care. Right food, right movement, right rest, right thought is all it asks to take us through to our 60th class reunion.
Instead, we beat the crap out of it by tying a bungee cord on our ankles and tossing our bodies off bridges only to have them whiplash back at high velocity for “fun”. Others of us force our bodies to sit perfectly still for 100 hours a week in front of computers or TVs causing our muscles to turn to mush as efficiently as foot binding destroyed women’s feet in China for a thousand years. We torture our insides by forcing processed garbage down our throats, pretending it’s “food”.

It’s time to bring the brain and the body together for a chat, a bit of a peace conference and a planning session for the rest of our time together on the planet.
“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu said that more than 2,600 years ago. He was a very smart dude, though he might have reconsidered the crazy mustache.

Moving towards healing...moving towards excellent health… left foot…right foot…here goes nothing.
Or something.
See you on the dance floor