Tomorrow marks two months, exactly, since I broke my hip, and I plan on marking the occasion by drinking too much wine next to a pool.
I was officially cleared for physical therapy this week, where I was promptly warned that the next six to eight weeks are going to be pretty painful work. But when I asked if it would be worse than actually breaking the hip, the therapist laughed. I'm choosing to think that means "no way, you rockstar" and not "you literally have no idea what I'm going to put you through, do you?"
It's nice to be on the other side of that mountain - the "strong enough for physical therapy" side. Because that had been hovering in the back of my brain, that every time I saw my doctor, he'd maneuver my hip a lot, frown, and say "not there yet." I wasn't sure how to get "there" - but I shed a lot of tears worrying that I never would.
But here I am - finally. And I've realized something that almost feels too ridiculous to admit : I'm a tiny bit thankful for this injury.
I mean, not the pain. The pain sucks. And I'm definitely not thankful for what being injured means for my ability to exercise. I now stare at people running with a look I previously reserved for Channing Tatum's Magic Mike scene (you know exactly which one I'm talking about).
Still, I've learned some things that I don't think would have happened without this injury. Or maybe I would have, but with less clarity. To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you break your hip. Ever. EVER. But for me, it's turned into a bittersweet way to embrace some life lessons.
1. If you come home with a broken hip, do not drink five very strong gin and tonics.
You will think everything is okay and try to stand up. Everything is not okay. You cannot stand up.
2. Take a deep breath. Your entire life does not revolve around living perfect days.
This is one that took me a little bit longer to get through my head - and I'm still working on it. For much of my life, like a lot of women and men I know, I've struggled with body confidence. And though I've written about how my over-exercising was due, in part, to avoiding emotional problems, it was also about me developing a fear to not be active.
When I was in the hospital and got the diagnosis, the first thing I said to my mom was "oh my god. I'm going to get fat."
I hope you laughed out loud at that because what an entirely ridiculous reaction to breaking your hip, tearing two tendons and ripping your thigh muscle in more than one place.
To her credit, my mom didn't slap me.
Guess what happened? Nothing. I lost some muscle mass, sure. My abs aren't quite as tight as they were before my leg got tore up. But also, the world kept going. I drank a lot of wine and went on a vacation where I ate three-course dinners every night, and I learned to CHILL - and guess what? My pants still fit.
So I'm trying to learn to relax. Nobody expects me to be Gwenyth Paltrow.
3. You are surrounded by more love than you even think possible.
I mean, my god. I can't even begin to tell you the people that came out of the woodwork to send cards and care packages, text me, make me laugh, allow me to cry and unpack all of my belongings in my new house.
It was so good for the soul. So very wonderful to feel like a network of people were building a web around me and just letting me depend on them. I had to learn to ask for help - falling when you get out of the shower and being found naked will very very quickly teach you about the value of accepting that you need help.
But when I took a step back, got out of my own way, and allowed myself to see the love that was waiting to catch me? It was amazing.
4. Listen to your heart. Listen to yourself. Listen to your parents.
First of all, if you are experiencing the kind of blinding pain that causes you to throw up at mile five of a marathon, DO NOT KEEP RUNNING FOR FIVE MORE MILES. I mean, good lord, past Elizabeth.
Secondly, if you believe in yourself, seemingly insurmountable tasks can be accomplished. Two months ago, I couldn't pee without help. That's graphic, but not an over-exaggeration. Today, I'm off crutches. I still can't do my own hair, but that was always an issue. It has nothing to do with the hip.
Lastly, whoever knows you best and has your best interests at heart - for me, that's my parents - listen to them about major decisions or moments of crisis. They know best. Like when they insist you spend your two weeks of bedrest on their couch. There's a reason you can't get through this world without the people you love.
I still don't ever want to break a hip again, however.