Happy Christmas....that's been the greating I've sent today to friends and family all around the world. It's been our normal run up to this annual event...stringing lights on the house and entertaining our 9 year old son who loves all that twinkles (Las Vegas style!). The plan was to quietly enjoy the holidays. I'd been busy organizing a new public yoga class that was scheduled to begin the first Sunday of the new year . I'd spent several months locating a site for the class, working on updating my website, getting promotional material ready, finally organizing my LLC, updating insurance and email addresses, purchasing new props....the list goes on. How plans change so quickly.
Last Friday, after checking the the mail I turned around to walk up the drive and into the house when I instantaneously found myself sitting on the driveway fixated on my right foot. The foot had turned right, 90 degrees. In that moment everything around me seemed surreal. It was a still and cold night with snow on the rooftops as the christmas lights twinkeled on the houses in our little cul-de-sac. All I could think of was how odd my foot looked turned that way and how I must do something to remedy the situation. So I reached for my foot and pulled it down away from my leg and gave it a quick shift to the left and back to center. And then the pain....oh the pain, it reached me right about then. I let out a scream and a few words I don't remember but my son does. I then instructed my husband that the hospital is required....NOW. It would be nice to report that I was calm and able to seperate myself from the suffering and the pain. It would appear very yoga-esque if I could report a profound enilighted experience from the drama, but I'm merely here to say that a broken ankle really hurts.
The very first thought that came to me was "How am I going to teach!" I must have repeated this mantra several times, hoping that who ever examined me would tell me I simply had a bad sprain and I'd be fine after some ice. Deep down I knew the news would be much worse.
Upon arriving to Avista Adventist Hospital, we were taken into the ER and surrounded by several nurses, all of whom were friendly and chatty. As we slowly removed the snowboot from my foot, a giant orange-sized ball on the inside of my ankle was quite apparent. My sock was gently cut away and my foot remained somewhat cranked to the right. The doctor explained that we needed to get the foot adjusted again as the swelling was going to get worse by the minute. They took x-rays to get an idea of where and how badly the ankle was injured. The x-ray revealed 3 breaks. The ER doc explained that if the swelling didn't go down I may have to wait a week or two before I could have the needed surgery to repair the ankle. I explained to the doctor on call that I needed my foot put back in good condition, I'm a yoga teacher and I need to balance on this foot! And this needs to happen sooner not later.
The ortho doctor on call was Dr. Joeseph Hsin (pronounced Sheen). He was very clear, calm and concerned as well as very positive about the planned surgery and my potential outcome after healing. I learned that what comes along with a broken ankle is a 6 week recovery time and then possibly months of physical therapy to restore normal function of the joint. During recovery I'm not to put any weight on the foot and limit the movement. Of course that all sounds manageable until you actually attempt to live this way.
The surgery went very well, or so I was told as I don't remember anything. Dr. Hsin installed 7 pins and a plate to the exterior ankle and 2 pins to the interior side. I'm wrapped in a soft cast and ACE bandage for two weeks to allow for swelling and then I'll be put in a hard cast for 4 weeks. Crutches and me weren't friends, so I was prescribed a walker and a roller crutch (basically a scooter to rest my knee upon) so I can scoot around. During my first attempts to get around I found that if I carry my leg out in front of my body, this brings all the blood down into my ankle which in turn creates a vice-like feeling around the ankle. So I avoid standing up too long. For some reason my shin is bruised all the way up to my knee so when I prop on the roller scooter my shin starts hurting pretty quickly. I also found this really interesting peg-leg crutch that I'm going to try out. I'm hoping that this will allow me to teach my classes during recovery. I'll let you know how it goes.
Using my upper body is the new norm. I suffered a dance injury to my shoulder a few years ago and have never quite healed completely from that incident, so I've been weak in my upper body for some time, but we're giving it a go now. I scoot on my backside to travel up and down the stairs. I rather like the going up part as I bring my arms behind me to the stair above and hike myself up a step. It's a good tricep workout! I feel strong and independent! The rest of the day I'm usually aksing for help.
Being "broken" is not a completely new feeling to me. And I beleive many people have felt this way in one form or another. Perhaps like me now, the feeling of a broken bone. Or in other ways like a broken heart, broken spirit or even a "break-up" of a relationship or job. By experiencing this feeling of being broken, many feelings come up. I used to struggle with how uncomfortable feeling broken was. I resisted anything other than the image of someone who had it all together. And then came a time with maturity and personal reflection that I began embracing all that was broken as very interesting chapters in a great book. The book would be rather dull without those crazy parts!
Our yoga journey is very much like that too. If we reject our broken moments and try to segregate them out of our yoga experience, trying to be the perfect "yogi" we begin to lose the deeper understading of our practice. We forget that this journey is not about perfection, but about wonder, awe and waking up to what's before us right now. In all of its beauty, pain or even digust.
You may wonder what this has to with yoga and our journey towards higher levels of realization and consciousness. Through the years, I've discovered that all of these "difficult" or "negative" feelings offer us the opportunity to know ourselves and the world better, they allow us to develop gentlness with the difficult stuff and awaken to a greater understanding of humanity and to all those people around us who are feeling the same way. I personally feel a kinship with others who want so much to be "enlightened" but who still struggle with the "be" part.
As the new year rings in, the new class will be postponed a couple of weeks, the ankle will heal, we'll all celebrate a birthday and hopefully will find a bit of peace and gentleness in the process.
As the weeks unfold I'll be sharing more on the process of healing. In the meantime feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. I'd especially love to know your experiences of feeling "broken".
In peace, in light and in yoga....
Founder/Owner/Manager of In Yoga, LLC