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Lessons learned with the hurt

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Staff Writer - Katrin Callender

There was no indication that this night would be any different from any other. I got out of the car, headed to my room and began to change my clothes, as was my habit upon arriving at home. It would be seconds before I felt a terrible pain I’d only experienced once before and two days before the diagnosis that nearly broke my heart.

The pain was excruciating. I immediately knew that whatever the source- it was serious. I was not going to be able to handle it by myself. I was going to have to seek medical attention. And then I was going to have to listen to their recommendations.

It was certainly not the worst news that has ever been given to a patient- I’ll easily agree to that. A torn ligament would heal eventually. The doctor suggested it could be as soon as three weeks. Yet, the news was the source of terrible agony. I remained deeply concerned, even after the pain subsided and I enjoyed a greater range of movement, and tried to focus on the positive and be in good spirits for those around me.

I was devastated because I was an artist who believed that I had lost my means of self-expression. I felt like I was cut off from my abilities, and from myself. I dreaded the implications of the injury. Training time lost, and so not progressing as an artist; persistent pains; and constant fear. Although I am not particularly superstitious, there was this nagging fear that something else- something worse- would happen.

Photo courtesy artistraulgonzalez.com

This thought was more than I could bear. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with art. It has always been the one thing I can always count on to cheer me up or keep me calm; the vehicle through which I can push myself to be or give my very best.

My recovery has not been easy, there are times where I want to give up; where I felt sorry for myself or where I pushed myself so hard that I had setbacks. But I kept thinking of what it would mean to me to have the full use of my arms again, and soon.

What I’ve been learning as I continue to make my way to a full recovery is that fear can cripple us. Sometimes the power it exerts is greater than the actual pain or injury.  But when hurt, we must focus on the end result- the thing that we want most in the world- to have our health and strength restored or improved.

I have also learned that amazing things can happen when you are forced to do things in a manner not previously used. I began sketching with my left hand and discovered not only that it could be done, but that I enjoyed it immensely. I saw that I had had an alternative outlet for my creativity sitting right under my nose my entire life.  All was not lost despite the instructions I had been given to limit the use of my right hand.

I was reminded that people will always be curious about an injury, that there may be a reason for their inquiries and that sometimes there isn’t one. I was also reminded that many individuals are kind and quick to offer a remedy or a prayer for your wellbeing. Others take the opportunity to make judgments about our lifestyle.

I learned to stop and observe myself and my environment. This one can be particularly challenging as we often get caught up in the whirlwind of deadlines and other drama. Yet this was the most important lesson. We learn much about ourselves by observing our process, and when we can apply what we learn, when we make changes where required, renew our efforts or keep doing the things that work, we begin to grow.



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