Two days before The Longest Walk was to arrive in DC, I slipped while I was coming down a ramp, broke my arm and generally messed up my shoulder. I did manage to get to DC and walk with everybody else, but have spent the last 4 weeks recuperating, one week in DC and the last three here in Los Angeles.
Wow. This has really given me a new appreciation of our bodies and how much we take them for granted when they are working. I found myself watching people bicycling, walking, carrying things,dancing, going about their business, watching how elegantly their two arms functioned together without them really thinking about it, wondering if I would get that ease of movement back.
The doctor warned that I may lose mobility in the injured arm, but I am aiming for having that blissfully unaware ability to move both my arms together without really thinking about it again. In the meantime I have been VERY conscious of the injured arm---you realize that arms are also about balance for the rest of you,and you don't really think about your ability to roll around at night when you are sleeping until you can't. My awareness of others in public spaces also changed for awhile--I was hyper aware of the people bustling around me and their ability to send me into excruciating pain just by bumping into me the wrong way. (No cast--just a light shoulder sling.) So generally, I didn't go out much.
Also, I was exhausted, and slept a lot. I checked out some blogs from people who had broken bones and found that this was not uncommon. I guess your body wants you to rest.
Except for the lack of mobility, it is now doing much better--I can type with both hands, scratch my nose with my left hand, put both earrings in, put on my shoes--all sorts of activities that I was incapable of just two weeks ago. Having to ask other people to do simple things for me--ohmigod,not a lot of fun, but certainly a lesson in interdependance. Still can't get my arm over my head to put my hair up or anything like that.
This has also given me a tremendous appreciation for people who end up with lifelong changes to their bodies because of injuries--people like Christopher Reeves, Ram Dass---or someone like Jack, a Navajo guy on the Longest Walk who walked from Arizona with an artificial leg.
Also, as I am big on the symbolism of how we manifest accidents and diseases, I have to ask myself why my left arm has been screaming for attention, and what that says about the balance in my own life.
We must take nothing for granted.