In this incredibly fast paced world we live in, we often forget the old cliche “time heals all wounds.” With text messaging, blackberries and technology in general, giving us the luxury of immediate feedback and gratification, we are becoming a society of spoiled little brats who want everything NOW. For technology situations, it works. For human (and animal) situations, perhaps we need to dig deep and practice patience, a dying art.
A year and half ago, my retriever, Blaze, jumped up to fetch a ball and came down on 3 legs. Unable to put any weight on his rear left leg and obviously in pain, we called the vet who visits our home. He examined Blaze and suspected injury to his crucial ligament, as did we. He put him on some meds and said to wait and see what happens over the next 2 weeks but cautioned us that surgery was probably going to be needed. I was as sad as if it had been one of my children. Perhaps sadder, as dogs have no words and are so incredibly stoic, it’s hard to tell how much pain they may (or may not) be in. One thing I learned during those early weeks was how much my dog enjoyed being read to. You may be laughing, but if you have a great big dog in need of being kept still, this knowledge may come in handy one day!!
During those 2 weeks I did a lot of research online. I stumbled upon a cyber community called conservative management. It was made up of people in the same situation as we were in with our furry baby. I learned so much from these people and their experiences and the big message here was time and patience. We kept the dog very sedentary, going out only for potty breaks and though it took well over a month, we did start to see him putting some weight on the injured leg. After about 8 weeks, we were able to start taking him for very, very short walks, each week increasing the distance just a bit. 6 months later, at his annual exam, my vet was still concerned that he was not bearing weight equally on that leg. Mitch and I, on the other hand, were joyous that he had escaped surgery, was able to walk each day and clearly was not in pain, though we agreed the leg was not perfect. We were willing to accept that he may never be perfect. Most of us aren’t!
This past September, I slipped and fell and tore a lot of muscle fiber in my left leg. From my glutes to my ankle I was pretty messed up. Initially, I was in shock. Everyone insisted I run to the doctor immediately. Instead, I went home and tried to think straight! I knew the prescription for this injury… RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). To this prescription I add a P for patience.
At the time of my injury, Blaze was walking without a visible limp, as time and daily exercise were helping him continue to get stronger and stronger. Now I was so upset that I was unable to walk him each morning, but thanks to Mitch, he did get these in. For a multitude of reasons, Blaze’s walk is the most important part of his day. Watching how well he healed DID remind me that I, too, would continue to heal each day. Just like Blaze, I was in pretty good physical shape going into the injury and that certainly helped.
It’s been a year and half since Blaze went up for that ball and came down limping. It’s been 3 months since I stepped onto that curb and came down in a perfect split. I am able to do everything at the gym that I was doing before that morning. I am even back to running, which is much more a mental challenge these days, than a physical one. The best part of all is that Blaze and I are back to our morning walks and though we only log in about a mile each day because of my work schedule, I am pretty sure we are strong enough to walk endlessly. Every day I am grateful for this gift.
There is no question that many sports injuries DO require immediate medical attention and some will require surgery. The moral of this story is we don’t usually need to decide those things immediately. We are frightened, vulnerable, shocked and often in pain when we do seek immediate medical attention. It’s no secret that surgeons like to operate…it’s what they do and it’s not wrong. Often, however, it’s just one way to resolve a situation while other paths may lead you to a similar outcome. It’s ok to stand up for yourself or your loved ones and say “I am going to give this a little time”.
When it comes to text messages, go ahead and answer them promptly. When it comes to injuries, I think we all need to exercise a little more time and patience. With all the information being released on the possible negative effects of things like CT scans, this is certainly something to consider! My wish for you today is that you never have to use any of this information, but I offered it up, just in case.