On January 2nd I slipped on black ice and sprained my right wrist pretty badly. It's one of those injuries that would have healed in a couple of weeks when I was 20. At 54 it's not been as fast or as easy. As a result, I had to step back from some of my normal activities.
It's only been a week since I was able to start the car by using my right hand to turn the key, and I'm really excited about that since that means I'm on the road to full recovery.
Instead of worrying about what I could not do, I've been taking the enforced rest as a gift of time and an opportunity to really think about a number of important issues in my life.
When it comes down to it, do I actually believe what I say I believe?And how do the answers to those questions affect how I live my life?
Immediately I was faced with 2 big life questions - one involving my health care choices and the other about my work ethic .
I was on my way to work when I fell. I'd actually driven because the weather was sketchy. I only stopped to run one errand, and I'd been careless. Before I'd even managed to get to my feet it was evident that my dominate hand was swelling and that the level of pain I was feeling meant that I was going to have to seek help. There were no other people on the street, and there's a fire station 3 blocks away. I knew that I could get emergency treatment there...but I'd be passing my chiropractor's office first.
Now, I worked as a nurse's aide in nursing homes and a rural hospital for many years. I've passed both Red Cross and Wilderness First Aid courses a number of times. I know how to assess an injury. As I walked I made note of the fact that I could move all my fingers, they were warm and pink, and had excellent blood return. I wasn't bleeding, and there were no deformities that indicated a broken bone. I chose my chiropractor.
It was the right choice for me. Others might have chosen differently, and it's certainly not for me to make that decision for anyone else. A fair number of friends and relatives thought I'd made an error in judgement. I disagree.
I was prepared to go to an ER if at any time I felt that "modern" medicine would have served me better. Again, I'm comfortable making that assessment. And my chiropractor was looking for reasons to send me to the ER because he doesn't want to be responsible for my making a bad decision. In this instance, his thorough examination (fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck and back) confirmed what I already suspected...no bones were broken. It was an injury that could safely be handled at home. How I did that with chiropractic care, herbs and excercises will be the subject of another post.
The point of today's ramble is that in the question of health care, I do actually believe and practice what I say I believe. The short version is that modern medicine is great - when it's needed. For most of life's ills and injuries it might not be the best choice for everyone. If you don't feel that you can make your own decisions about your health, then by all means find a doctor that you trust.
But if you are like me and do think you are trained and capable enough to handle the situation at hand, then don't let the opinions of others sway you into heading to the doctor for their comfort. You have that option at any time. If you are always assessing the situation to see that what you're doing is working, and that the situation is not getting worse, then I think self-care is a valid choice.
The work ethic question actually caused me more discomfort with my beliefs. I'm the bookkeeper. January is not a good time for the bookkeeper to have a bum arm.
On top of the routine day to day tasks that keep a company running, January brings quarterly tax filing, reports to unemployment and other state and federal entities, and the need to get W4s and 1099s in the mail.
And I don't like to call in sick. Taking pre-approved time off is fine. Calling in is unprofessional and causes others to have to do your work. Perhaps it's all those years in health care that have trained me to suck it up and go to work no matter how I feel.
This has probably been the one area where my beliefs did not hold up. I've come to realize that I was wrong about this one...my first job is to take care of myself.
Yes, people I work with were inconvenienced during the early days of my recovery. It seemed to bother me much more than it did them. My supervisor came at my call to pick me up when I found that I could not drive. Her daughter helped get my car to my house. Another co-worker faithfully picked me up for 2 weeks when the mornings were frosty and I was terrified of falling again. People helped out without my asking.
I worked 4 hour days for a whole week, then 6 hour days for another and used vacation time as needed. No one complained. I got the taxes and reports filed, W2s and 1099s out on time, bills paid and January payroll done. Much of the routine work did not get done until mid February. No one complained. Most of the pressure to be a "good employee" was coming from me.
I'm working on changing that belief system...it's a work in progress. I'll let you know how that goes...and I'll touch on the self-care I did in a future post, and even delve into the areas of religion and politics as time goes on and I am able to respectfully articulate the answers to those questions.