One week ago tonight, right about now I was walking down a trail behind my house. I heard the buzz of some very angry bees, a sound I had heard before and learned not to stick around to find out why they are angry. I started to sprint towards home and realize “oh no, you’re running down hill and won’t be able to stop”. Before I could slow myself down my right ankle folded and I hit the ground and slid and rolled on the trail a bit before coming to a stop. I could feel something was seriously wrong with my ankle but between the bees and the fact that I knew the pain in my ankle was sure to get worse, I limped home like a wounded animal. I was in a lot of pain when I got home, I took a quick bath while icing my ankle and popped 800mg of Ibuprofen while my wife and 4 year old son prepped for our trip to either urgent care or the ER. I admit I was not very rational while under great amounts of pain, but there was a decision to be made. Urgent care is in Walnut Creek about 25 minutes away and the ER at San Ramon Regional Hospital is 10 minutes from my house. Then I remembered my healthy community day at Leadership San Ramon Valley. The President of the Hospital Gary Sloan and one of his top ER doctors had been a part of that program. I remember a hospital is a business and I felt like I should support the local hospital and deal with people that I can trust.
So off to the ER we go, I won’t get too much into the details because really there are a few important facts about my visit and those are enough:
- My ankle was only sprained and they ruled out breaks, etc.
- The advice the doc gave was really useful.
- My doctor was the guy I met at Leadership, small world.
- I was glad I went to the ER at San Ramon Regional.
How can there possibly be benefits to this?
After I hurt my ankle I was really stressed about how this was going to affect my work. I have so much going on every day, for starters I wasn’t going anywhere for ~3-4 days while I kept my leg elevated and my ankle iced. It was hard for me to imagine what the benefits of being laid up for a while would be. My work was going to suffer, house projects, social life, bah humbug I was in bad attitude city.
Saturday I was on the couch ALL DAY. I watched World Cup Soccer, slept, read, slept some more, wow I sure slept a lot. I had no idea I was so tired. There was benefit #1 – I really needed some rest. I slept in Sunday and repeated my FIFA, Sleep, Read, FIFA, Sleep process. Did I mention even though I read I didn’t read much because I would get tired and fall asleep.
“There was benefit #1 – I really needed some rest.”
Sunday I also did some planning for the week ahead of me. I realized that I still needed to set my goals for the week even though I was obviously going to have a temporary handicap. Sunday night with a lot of help from my wonderful wife I setup a laptop and second screen that I felt I could use while I kept my leg up on the couch, or at the very least that I could periodically lay back and put up my leg. This was going to be a handicap big time for me, I am used to a 30” Samsung LCD flanked by 2 21” Samsung LCD’s (and not the wide screen ones, old school 1600×1200!).
Monday rolled around and I slept in a little bit, close to 7:30AM. Really late, I know, but with a 4 year old at home parents reading this will understand what this is like. Getting around was a pain, trying to work was a pain, I tried to keep my best face on. This wouldn’t last forever. One of the things I did Monday was work on long term goals. I wrote down very practically what I wanted to accomplish in my professional life. This was benefit #2 – setting long term goals is really important. One of the things I realized while doing this was I needed to set daily and weekly objectives for myself. I took out a notebook (I can write faster than type when I am lying on my back with my foot up) and started writing dates. Each work day was ½ a page. I wrote down the things that absolutely had to get done those days. I had to be selective, as I was not going to be spending 10 hours at my desk typing away with my sprained ankle. I noticed something very interesting, the things I wrote were contributing directly to my long term goals. Duh in hindsight it seems so simple.
“This was benefit #2 – setting long term goals is really important.”
Tuesday I kept resting up but I also used the time when I was resting my foot to take in some world cup soccer. My eyes and brain started getting used to the game, it was a rush watching a well-executed goal especially if it was undertaken by the team I had adopted to root for during the match. Being a tourist of Football is really fun, not much invested, a lot of what I was seeing was new and if the team I was rooting for lost it was no big deal. This was benefit #3 – I learned to love watching World Cup soccer.
“This was benefit #3 – I learned to love watching World Cup soccer.”
Wednesday I kept up my new passion watching World Cup Soccer. It was exciting as heck to watch Donovan score the game winning goal in stoppage time in the US best showing since 1930. I would have missed this piece of history had it not been for my injury. There is just no way I would have been able to justify the time to watch. In addition to watching history in the making, I was getting a little better at working on my laptop and my attitude had improved a lot by the end of the day. I even got bold and drove around the neighborhood, did I mention I sprained my right ankle?
Thursday was fairly ambitious I had scheduled work at a client site and added a lot more to my “must get done list”. I really felt solid by the end of the day. I started to see the benefits of the injury to my ankle taking shape and the eternal optimist inside me knew I’d see it eventually. This was benefit #4 – there is opportunity in any situation.
“This was benefit #4 – there is opportunity in any situation.”
By today I was absolutely sailing, I got more work done in less time than I have on many days where I don’t have anything to blame for slowing me down. I feel much more prepared for the weeks ahead and 1 of 4 of the weeks (by most estimates) that I will spend using crutches is done and I am roaring and ready for the next 3.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this personal story, I’d like to leave you with a quote about life by the late Joseph Campbell:
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Occasionally I receive comments on my blog that really impress me and I want to showcase them (and the commenter!) in the post:
“You know Joe this is one of those posts that is so genuine that I have to read it over and over just to prove to myself that you wrote it. In the normal every day life there can be indeed moments of triumph, self discovery and even finding a greater deeper appreciation for what you have, where you have come and understanding things won’t stay the same. They won’t stay where they are now and with positive thinking, a bit of focus and keeping yourself well stocked with resources like energy you can tackle about anything. Thanks for sharing.” – Lyndi Thompson
Lyndi is a Social Media and Online Marketing Specialist, you check out her blog at http://lyndit.com