Ground Rules

Listen. If I’m going to be out of commission for several weeks with an injury, I need to set some ground rules. Things to keep me sane. Things to get me through.

I’ve been off the pain meds now for three days and am suddenly seeing my situation with a new set of eyes. My mind is saying “go go go.” But my body just isn’t there yet. So here is my swift kick in the behind. I can’t promise to follow them all. But I know I’ll need the reminder.

1. Don’t get depressed


My mom says depression is common in people recovering from injuries preventing the use of a limb. I can totally see why. It’s a fine line between frustration of not being able to do the things I want to do, and totally giving up. I am not a recluse. I have people to talk to who love me. My life can still be awesome. Just with a minor inconvenience. Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da.

2. Take it easy


Guilt is a deeply embedded emotion. I feel a lot of guilt about not being able to do certain things now. Especially because I can still do them mentally, just not physically. I am healing. My body is working overtime to heal itself. I’m not crazy for not working, turning down party invites or not even walking to the corner store.

3. Do my exercises


With that said, I can’t let my health get away from me. I still need to get up and move around, even if only puttering around the house. I need to keep stretching everyday, my flexibility is something I can maintain in a cast and don’t want to lose. But this is especially for when I start physiotherapy. I MUST DO THE EXERCISES. As a personal trainer I know how important the “lame” physio exercises are to recovery.

4. Fend for myself


I am my own best advocate. My sister has done an amazing job taking care of me, but I need to take a little more responsibility. I need to learn how to operate on my own with this injury. But I also need to learn to ask for help when I need it. I especially need to learn how to tell people on the crowded Toronto subway to back the fuck off from my casted arm. (I’ll drop an f-bomb if I need to!)

5. Don’t use food for comfort


I’m lonely. I’m by myself all day. I’m bored. Food can’t, and shouldn’t, be used to cure all these emotions. I’m not exercising, I can’t use one arm, I don’t need to gain an extra 10 lbs too. But I also can’t obsess about this!! Eat nutritious food, only when hungry. It’s amazing how often I eat when not hungry.

6. Challenge myself


Okayokay. I am definitely not skating again anytime soon after my accident. But I also don’t want to let this be an excuse to let fear hold me back. Even on a smaller day-to-day basis, I need to challenge myself to do things I haven’t done since my surgery. Like go out or make a new dish. I cut a bagel with one hand the other day. That was amazing.

7. Remember the big picture


In the grand scheme of life, this is but a minor blip. Not being able to use my arm for 3-6 months won’t mean much 40 years from now (unless it gives me arthritis). It just seems like a lot because my life currently revolves around my being able to be physical. But it doesn’t have to. Maybe it’s not supposed to!


I must say the timing of this accident has turned out to be rather serendipitous. I had big plans for the end of March that are now being accelerated. I have mixed emotions about this and still have a lot of logistics to figure out on my end. Mostly “What am I going to do?? When?? HOW!??”

I think this is why this injury has had such a big impact on me. It didn’t just screw up my arm. But it screwed up plans that were months in the making. But like I said before, who am I to argue with the path the universe has laid out for me? So these are my rules to get me through healthy and with my head on straight :)


Posted on February 21, 2011, in Injury and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. your attitude is so inspiring! i wish you a fast recovery :)

  2. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches as they come. The best laid plans can easily get out of whack.

    I found the hardest thing for me being injured was the constant frustration of just wanting to be better already. I did alternate between the blues and resignation a lot, so don’t be surprised if that happens despite your best effort. Do a lot of lighter things, like watching funny movies, reading trashy novels and finding a new hobby (0ne that only requires one arm!) :D

  3. I wish I could be in the subway car when you tell someone to back the f off…

  4. these are all great reminders – especially the last one, big picture thinking can always bring perspective and make something less significant.

    your outlook is awesome, and hopefully will help in faster healing!! XO

  5. your outlook really is inspiring and you seem to be doing really well. keep recovering! i’m rooting for you :)

  6. I reckon you’re doing OK, your blog posts and tweets are amazingly positive. Keep it up :)

  7. You are awesome! If I ever go through something similar, I am coming back to this post.

  8. Hang in there. I enjoy reading your blog.

  9. Wow Susan – your words are honest, vulnerable, and inspiring! What a great attitude you have…awesome! And I must say, I thought of you while skating at Lake louise this weekend (I live in Calgary) and was a bit more nervous on the ice than usual! I love that one day you’ll be back out there, but that in the meantime you’re ready to challenge yourself in other ways. :)

  10. You are so wise, Susan. I am sure this is going to be a life-changing experience for you, in more ways than one. And if anyone can make that a positive experience, it’s you.

  11. My mind is saying “go go go.” But my body just isn’t there yet. —-

    I can relate. So much. I understand.

    And depression post injury/surgery/medical diagnoses for which one was not prepared for…totally normal and common. Good for you for being on the lookout for it and being proactive and having such a wonderful attitude about it all!!!

  12. You have such an amazing attitude about this whole situation, good for you! Keep it up and you’ll have no problems rolling with the punches and you’ll be better in no time :)

    P.S. I totally have TTC rage too. You tell ’em, girl!


  13. You pointed out some great things! I’ve tried to remember all of them, since I deal with chronic health issues that leave me “out of commission”, as you say. The biggest thing is to remember the big picture. This is the life/situation we have, so let’s make the best of it!

    Thankfully your injury is only temporary! You will get better soon and back to enjoying many more fun things in life : )

  14. You are so wise. Wonderful ground rules!

  15. Dani @ Body By Nature

    You are such an inspiration! Hope you’re feeling ok, thinking of you (and your arm!)

  16. Sounds like some fabulous ground rules to me, girl! Really it’s the best way to get through this. Just a few months of a detour to maybe learn some new things about yourself and discover life in a new light :)

  17. I love your positive outlook! It’s so inspiring! :)

  18. Fantastic post and a great outlook! Love it!

  19. you are one strong lady! i love your attitude. and i love you. oh my gosh, you broke your left elbow! do you like the color green?

  20. This is such a great post! Awesome for me to see while dealing with my lame knee injury. It’s a setback but it’s definitely something I can get through. Your attitude about this is awesome and will definitely get you through the healing process.

  21. This is hands down THE BEST post I have read in forever. Seriously, I want to print your bullet points out and put them up somewhere so I can remind myself.

    Like the part about food – I should have read that before I had multiple cupcakes today. :( I had run out of food and I was too drugged up (thank-you muscle relaxants for making me floaty) to go buy anything. So I ate cupcakes I had in the house instead. Fail.

    Thanks for all the reminders buddy!

  22. Oooops! Bungled up my email addy on the last comment.

    There’s my face –>


  23. You have a really inspirational attitude towards being injured! I have no doubt that you will be up and running very quickly, just remember that it’s ok to just relax sometimes and not be particularly productive. I have a long standing hip/back injury and your post has made me reassess my attitude towards it.
    Good luck! :)

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