In November of 2007 I slipped on the edge of the rug and fractured my left foot in three places. Three ligaments were detached from the bones, including one that controls sideways motion in the arch and the ligaments in the base of two toes. It being about 5:50pm when I came back to my senses, I whisked myself to the Chiropractor’s Office which is just a few minutes away and the bones were adjusted back into place (all the folks living in Montana might have wanted to know what that sound was so here’s the FYI). I was able to walk all over San Francisco for Thanksgiving, but sleeping at night was still a problem. In December, I was able to get into the Doctor’s office and was sent to the hospital for a fancy x-ray, and referred to the podiatrist for the end of January 2008 with a diagnosis of arthritis. The Podiatrist said that there was no arthritis in the foot, made a special brace attached to an orthotic gave me strict instructions on shoes and was about to send me on my way, saying the Chiropractor did a great job and so did I by continuing to walk. I protested. Before the fall, I was using one hour of speed walking everyday to control my blood pressure and now I could not put enough pressure on my foot to get up to speed and maintain control. This apparently is very easy to remedy by just increasing the amount of time walking to compensate. So here I am in June of 2008 and the bones are healed, one ligament has reattached and the toes are still just hanging out and I am walking two hours a day – actually I am lifting weights, doing aerobics class only with my arms by marching in place, participating in Yoga and walking 2 hours a day, and my blood pressure is pushing up and up into the unhealthy zone. I am also starting to gain weight – this is not good for me.
I go back to the “how we make change systems” on the website and begin to figure out what I need to do next. Meeting with my dietician, she helps me scoot 200 calories off the daily schedule and a few hungry days later this turns out to be a good plan of action. The weather is turning on a few better days now, and I add mowing the grass to my routine and some light gardening (no shovel work), I find hanging the laundry on the clothes line one piece at a time adds about 1,000 steps to the schedule also. My partner gets a super wide bike seat for the tandem and we add some short rides as another something to the list. I have cut 5 minutes off each lap around the lake. I figure there is something good going on here and it seems rather fun – though very time consuming. So in Yoga there is an added move where one is sitting on the floor with legs extended straight in front of you (stick pose) and then one places the palm of each hand beside the corresponding hip, and ever so carefully pushes down on the hands and lifts the hips up off the floor. Well, apparently I was not careful enough – the muscle in that circle under my left arm pit is torn. OUCH!
This morning I took everyone’s ongoing advice – go swimming. I have been in great resistance for a huge number of years about swimming, which was my sport in high school. The chlorine in the pool just wrecks havoc on my skin and swimming outside leads to blistered skin. This morning I eased myself into the swimsuit, took my shower and left the locker room. There were two lap lanes empty; no chance of being in some fast, fit swimmer’s path. With a bit of support from the ladder, I managed to “get down” to the edge of the pool and ease myself into the empty lane.
Thirty two lengths and thirty minutes later I emerged. As I reflected on my experience, I was pleased to note that the aching toes were not aching, the small of the back was not compensating, and all of the knots in my leg seemed to have just vanished. I felt very good and had a great deal of morning left to get some laundry out on the line and check my blood pressure (117/63, pulse 65). I feel sure that I have a workable solution now and that it actually turned out to be a wee bit of heaven on earth. I understand now why people with arthritis do love to swim so much.
The next part of this revisit will be to take out my journal and process all the reasons for which I was in such resistance to swimming again after such a long respite. I need to complete the change process on this action in my life or all those barriers will just move right back into my routine. Ah! if only I could find the joy and the opportunity so quickly the next time I need to make a change.