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Listening to My Body: but what is it saying?? September 29, 2009

imagesThis ankle injury has been making me think a lot about this idea of “listening” to one’s body. On one hand, listening to my body got me into this trouble in the first place. But then part of me was trying to say something else. What if your body sends you mixed messages?

Today, the 3rd day of my injury, it is feeling a lot better than Sunday. I am limping just the slightest bit. It’s hurting about the same as it was 3rd-day-past, when I sprained it back in August. If I were “listening” to my body, I’d say I’m definitely ready to go to Nia class tomorrow, and running this weekend for SURE. But that’s not what the podiatrist said, and definitely not what I’m supposed to do.

It’s really hard to be compliant when your body is saying it “needs” something other than what you’re doing with/for it. Last night, I put my cast boot on at bedtime. At first (for the first twenty minutes) it felt comforting, like it was holding me in place. But I woke up around midnight and felt like I was encased in some medieval torture device. The plastic edge was digging into my toes, and my ankle was throbbing and searing in discomfort. I thrashed around trying to come into a comfortable position. But I am a diehard stomach-sleeper, and with that comes the position of having the top surfaces of my feet flattened into the mattress. I can’t do that with my ankle cemented at a 90 degree angle. I tried to negotiate with myself, but around 1am my body was shrieking, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” I couldn’t take it.

And because I COULD, I sat up and ripped the velcro belts off the thing, liberated my lower leg – I told myself “just a few minutes,” fell back asleep, and the next thing I knew it was 6am, I was on my stomach and my ankle was in the Forbidden Position. (much like the illustration here) I felt guilty, sheepish and afraid. What if I had just stretched my ligament fragments even further apart?

Today, already I feel myself questioning the need to wear the dumb boot. Come ON! I feel FINE! It’s more of a pain to clomp around in what is essentially a ski boot, than to go barefoot and have a small limp.

Suddenly for some reason I am understanding why and how there are diabetics who pretty much ignore the fact of their disease because they can’t “feel” it. It was that way for me when I had high blood pressure.

I don’t know why it is that I feel that I need to be compliant re my diabetes no matter how I “feel,” but I am feeling more resistant about this ankle thing. Maybe because I don’t really believe that it will be harmful to go without the boot – because it doesn’t hurt. But diabetes doesn’t “hurt” either, not really. (not at THIS point)

It’s a short-term vs long term thing. Grasshopper and ant. I want to dance NOW. I want to run NOW. But if I do that, I could end up with debilitating arthritis. I can keep the vision of diabetic amputees, blindness and kidney failure at the front of my consciousness, because I’ve seen that, and I know it’s real.  Is it just that I haven’t seen people with debilitating arthritis who are saying, “Oh I sprained my ankle a hundred times, and never immobilized it, and look where I am now!” Do I have to see it to believe it??

 

 
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