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Broken Hands & Healing Hearts

Posted Nov 15 2012 9:00am

Today’s post is once again brought to you by the left hand, with a little help from the awkward right pointer finger.  This one took forever.
I broke my hand.
Remember that beautiful RockTape job in the last post?  Well after 36 hours of no relief, I caved and headed to the hospital where an xray confirmed that I had indeed snapped my right 4th metacarpal.  I felt sorry for myself for all of 0.05 seconds, until the two other patients I shared a room with, I’ll nickname them “Mr. Heart attack” and “Sir Blocked Upper Intestine Requiring Life Saving Emergency Surgery” made me realize how lucky I am. For I’d rather break a hand while exercising and taking care of my body versus the certain outcome those who take their bodies for granted will eventually face. Consider this your Heather PSA for the day.  Wanna know why you should eat well and exercise NOW?  Head to your local ER and check out all of the unfortunate middle-agers who walk through the door with gnarly ailments.   Now, I understand that some things can be genetic, however the barrage of conditions my “roomies” were rattling off to the nurses (congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus,  irritable bowels, arthritis, high blood pressure) …not to mention the numerous medications…can be avoided by the majority of us if we just take care of ourselves NOW.
Now, all of that said, I have this ridiculous gigantic splint on my right hand and half of my forearm that makes everything quite hilarious.  God bless Geoffrey Hart and his patience for having to do things like tie my shoes, cut my fruit, and put my hair into a ponytail.  I feel like a preschooler.  The seemingly awesome request of “can you strip me down and tie me up?” only refers to helping me unzip my sweatshirt and securing a plastic bag over my splint so I can attempt to shower.  Add in the fact that I just got toothpaste all over my face trying to brush with my left hand,  I can’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness over the fact that I did this during a BOX JUMP. Truth be told, I am pretty surprised it took me 30 years to break a bone.  I started dancing (ballet and tap) at age 5, and since then I’ve always been doing something active.  Softball, basketball, soccer, track & field all through school.  There were the winters my friend and I would spend acting like Olympic figure skaters idiots on ice skates.   I hate to admit it, but there were many college drunken nights where I vaguely remember stupid feats such as riding down hills on office chairs or roller blades.  Then I moved South and took up surfing and skateboarding.  Years later came the running…then cycling…then crazy obstacle course racing.  All of that and nary a broken bone in 30.5 years, I do consider myself lucky. And while better a metacarpal than a metatarsal…or a femur…I’m still not too thrilled about it.  While I await what I can only hope to be a smaller (ha!) cast when I visit the ortho on Friday morning, I’m currently trying to woman up to the possibility that my right hand is virtually useless for at least the next 6 weeks. Last night in the gym I threw a temper tantrum.  I think internal melt down might be a more appropriate term.    Completely  unnoticeable to other gym patrons, but enough to leave me feeling the steam coming out of my ears and poor Geoff wondering who this b*tch was that abducted his happy-go-lucky girlfriend.  I had worn an old pair of tri-shoes for the ease and convenience of their quick tie (or not tie at all) laces.  10 minutes into a run on the treadmill I realized those shoes were WAY past their prime and should have been sent to sneaker heaven long ago.  Same result on the dreaded elliptical: sore feet.  So I joined Geoff for a few upper body weight exercises, doing left arm only.  12 sets of 3 exercises later I was left feeling unbalanced and…you guessed it…frustrated.  Geoff suggested abs, except there wasn’t a mat to be found, I can’t plank with the hand (yet), and all of the silly ab weight machines (I despise them!) require you to grip something.  I stormed over to the elliptical and willed myself not to cry.
I I’ve been hesitant to post about this, because believe it or not there are a few things I really don't want to share with the entire world.  But my last post about being true to my writing, and all of your responses, gave me the confidence to share.  I've been missing my kids a lot lately.  And by “a lot”, I mean gut wrenching, broken heart “a lot”.  It has been almost 3 months since I’ve seen them, as they are living with their dad in SC, and lately it has really started taking its toll on me. 
 So many people, including their father, my BFF, and probably 100 others who have no idea what they are talking about, seem to think that my complete lack of outward emotion or even mentioning of it seem to signal I’ve grown distant or complacent about the situation.   That I’ve become accustomed to life without kid-responsibilities.   Honestly, I can’t blame them, as I would probably think the same if I was on the outside looking in.  The truth is, I would give anything to have my 4 year old wake me up at 3 am, and then 3:15 am, and then 3:30 am for the most ridiculous reasons.   I miss the sibling throw downs I have to referee, I miss the whining, I miss the messes, and more than anything I miss the hugs and kisses.  But life isn’t always perfect.  There are only 2 people in this world who know the whole truth of this situation, and only one of them knows how it really knocked me off my feet.  A lot of healing had to happen, a lot of pieces are still being picked up off the floor and put back where they are supposed to be.  And now it is solely a financial issue, but soon enough my boys and I will be together again. So in the interim, I don’t talk about it.  I don’t whine about it, I don’t post about it, and I only try to cry about it when I’m alone.  It was my decision to let them live with their father for a while, so I must live with my decision, and thus, I don’t talk about it.   Call me heartless.  I call it survival. So instead, I sweat it out. Running, the gym, pushing my physical limits has been my mental release, my therapist, and anti-depression medications all in one for years, this last one in particular. So many people don’t understand that, but I suspect many of you reading this do.   My coping skills work best with a heavy dose of endorphins.  A good run or some PR’s in the weight room will almost always ease the “I’m a failure at life” feelings that creep in from time to time. To put a great big physical limitation on my “therapy”, at a time when I really need it, temporarily freaked me out. As we left the gym, we discovered my car had a flat tire.  “Great, just what I effing need”, I thought to myself.  What ELSE could go wrong, WHY ME? Without hesitation, my most amazing boyfriend, who hates the cold quite possibly as much as I do, hopped out of the car and got to work changing the tire in the 20 degree night darkness, without a single groan or complaint.  And I know it sounds silly and cliché, but it made me realize how truly lucky I am to have him.    I mean, I always know how lucky I am when it comes to him, but at that moment, it was more than that.  I realized how truly lucky I am in so many aspects of my life.  Sure I’m not with my kids right now, but they are in a beautiful home with people who love them.  No I don’t have my dream job, but I have a full time job.  And a car to get flat tires in, and a roof over my head, and friends and family who love me.  Yes its cold in this currently miserable state, but it is beautiful New England that has brought me so much peace over the last year, and where I met  the person who has reminded me what it feels like to be loved, and who helped bring my happy back. Just like the bones in my hand will fall back into place and heal with time, so will my life and my heart.   It has already started.  And all will be stronger because they’ve been broken. Stupid metacarpal and wooden plyo box…thanks for the life lesson. 
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