You may have been wondering why, after three weeks in the Alps, I haven't posted any pictures of me skiing yet. Here's why:
It was only my third day on the slopes, it was beautifully sunny and there was fresh power on the mountains. I was loving it, feeling more and more confident and planning to take on some new routes that day. I was going fast, too fast and I could see another steep section straight ahead. I tried to turn to re gain control and slow my speed, instead I landed in a heap and lost my right pole. Immediately I felt an excruciating pain in my right shoulder. I knew it was bad. I couldn't lift my arm and it hurt immensely without even moving it.
I self diagnosed a bad rotator cuff strain and put my arm in a sling. I’ve not been able to ski, nor have I been able to tie my own hair or get myself dressed without great difficultly since. For the first week the pain kept me awake at night.
I'm not good at being injured, nor am I any good when I feel like I'm not pulling my weight in a team. It's be hard for me to be twiddling my thumbs off the slopes whilst everyone else is off having a great time skiing. Needless to say, I've not been fun to be around. But it's time I got over myself, took a reality check and stopped sulking.
Navigating my way through challenges is a big part of what I choose to do and it can't be great and successful all the time. But I haven't taken this set back well. I'm used to battling my way past obstacles, but this time, I just have to sit and wait. And I'm not good at doing that.
I know it's only a set back, but for me the disappointment of being out of action when I’ve taken the time and expense to come all the way to the Alps was huge and I've made the mistake of dwelling on my injury, pain and all the things I can't do rather that keeping myself busy whilst my shoulder heals. But thats going to change.
I’m bored of being bored and of talking about my injury as much as I’m sure everyone is of hearing it. Although it’s a difficult topic to avoid when you're in a sling. As I write this I'm looking at the beautiful snow blizzard outside the window and the tree branches heavily burdened with snow and I remember, I'm so lucky just to be in this beautiful place and I need to snap out of this negative mind set. My hospital work, voluntary deployments with the D day veterans and to Haiti and the Syrian refugee camps in 2016 are good reminders that I actually have it really good in life. So I’m going to get over myself and stop sulking. Heres how:
- I know that injury and pain is as much in the mind as the body. If I focus on the pain, it'll feel worse as I’ll be more aware of it. The key is to keep myself distracted from it and stop myself thinking about it, as well as ensuring I have adequate pain relief.
- If I keep telling myself I'm injured, then I'll remain injured and not notice the tiny improvements each day. I’m going to stop using the word “injured” and instead write a list of the little gains I make each day so that I can see the improvement.
- If I tell myself I can't move my shoulder due to pain, it'll get stiff and the rehab time will be longer and more painful. They key is to move it every couple of hours within its pain free range and see how that range grows.
- The more I talk about my shoulder and whinge that I can't ski, the more boring and self obsessed I'll seem to everyone around me. ENOUGH OF TALKING ABOUT IT!
- Theres plenty to do around here even with the use of only one arm, I’m going to seek out the activities and read all the things I’ve not given myself the time to yet.
- A walk a day can sort anything. The alone time, fresh air and beautiful mountain scenery never fails to clear my head. My daily walk has been keeping me sane.
In conclusion here’s my new rehab plan: less sulking, positive actions and healing thoughts. It's working already.