A couple of months ago, on my first day out on my new roller skates – skates I had spent six weeks searching for, and that I had to order from another country because good quad skates were so scarce – I fell. I fell right on my butt and my right hand. Go ahead and laugh. I keep telling people “This is why old people should not do young people things.”
My wrist hurt something fierce (even though I was wearing a wrist brace at the time). It was swollen, but not horribly so. I could move my fingers, grasp things, and pick up things. I figured that it was sprained, and I decided not to go to the doctor, because there isn’t much they can do for a sprain, anyway, and in these pandemic times I’m trying to only go to the doctor when it’s absolutely necessary. I treated it as one generally treats a sprain: ice, compression, elevation, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds. For the first week, I really couldn’t type or write, but eventually I was able to do those things.
Three weeks later, it was better but not 100%, so I went to my primary care physician. She examined my wrist, told me it was a sprain, and said it would take 6-8 weeks to heal.
Six weeks in, I contacted my primary care physician again. I still wasn’t back to normal. Was it time to see an orthopedist or get x-rays? She told me to wait a couple more weeks and check back in with her.
Eight weeks in, I was 90% there, but I still couldn’t put any weight on my wrist. I went to the orthopedist. First they took x-rays, and then I saw the doctor. He walked into the exam room, introduced himself, took a quick look at my x-rays, and said “Well, would you look at that! Aren’t you a tough one!”
“Why?” I asked, suspiciously?
It’s BROKEN. And, not a little bit broken. The orthopedist described it as a “significant break.” There’s even tiny piece of bone that is sticking out, which I can feel along the top of my wrist (and that I didn’t even notice before). So now, I’m typing this with a brace on my wrist, and I start physical therapy in a couple of days.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because this news hit me pretty hard, and forced me – after going home and immediately falling into bed – to ask a tough question:
Have I really been going so hard at life – at work, at parenting, at home management, at all of it, all during a pandemic – that I seriously didn’t realize that my wrist was substantially broken?!
I wasn’t trying to be a martyr. I was in touch with my doctor, and the break was misdiagnosed the first time around. But, with the amount of pain that I initially was in, with the loss of function I was experiencing, why didn’t I immediately go for an x-ray? Why did I assume that the problem was less than it was? Was I so preoccupied with life that I wasn’t fully experiencing the pain (the body’s warning signal that something is wrong)?
I’m not the only one going hard these days. Just about everyone is experiencing this. As 2020 slowly winds to a close, it’s a good time to ask ourselves: Are we going too hard? How long have we been moving at this speed and intensity? Does something need our attention, but we are too busy to notice it? Is something broken?
It’s a question that I think nonprofit organizations can consider, as well. What have we not been able to do because we’ve been working in crisis mode for so long? Does something in our organization need attention? What about our people – do our staff need to be nurtured, cared for, or healed?
Sadly, no roller skating for me for a few months. This injury also is hampering my favorite craft activity, crocheting. It’s forcing me to slow down, rest more, and ask for help. Maybe it’s just what the doctor ordered.
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