Broken But Whole

In my 35 years of being a chef when you get injured you learn to work through the pain. If you cut yourself you stop the bleeding, repair and get back to work. Well, on August 1, I fell backwards after giving a speech sharing my passion about food. The heel of my shoe got caught in the floor, I lost my balance and fell back. I used my left hand to break my fall and prevent my head from hitting the glass top desk/storage center behind me. 

Damn that hurt. I grabbed hold of my wrist in the same way I would grasp any cut from a knife or burn from the stove, I will be fine. In my head it was an easy fix, it just had to be put back into place. If only. Two weeks after injury I had surgery to have a plate and screws piece me back together and give me the best chance of recovery.

Earlier on the day that I fell, I fought canceling my spot to present my speech.  I told myself that if I did not face the fear then, I would just have to face it later. So I set aside my fears and ignored the voice in my head telling me to cancel. Within minutes maybe even seconds after presenting my speech I fell and broke my wrist in two places. Maybe I should have listened.

Life was falling into place, things were going good after a year of not. Why did this happen? Were the events of the past year not enough? Was I not allowed happiness or to finally get ahead? Losing the use of my left hand limited my ability to work. I had to cancel or not accept jobs for a new business I am working to help build. What do I do now?

I met quite a few people who had broken their wrist, some who lost it completely. I do also realize there are people in this world born without. In days that followed it was seeing a man without a hand that forced me to see this reality. I thought about him every time I started to feel bad for myself, recognizing how lucky I was to still have mine and that it would likely heal.

There have been moments where the love and support I received were over whelming, especially right after the accident. Yet I have also had moments of pure loneliness, praying for a visitor or someone to take me out and away from these four walls or the hamster wheel of my mind. Another human to hang out, lend an ear or pass on a hug. People have lives.

They will tell you things happen for a reason… That God has a plan… I did and still do my best to keep this in mind. In all honesty though I have had times I the felt anger beginning to boil in hearing these statements. How much more can one person take? I am tired, when are my cards going to fall into place? What am I doing wrong? Oh wait… it’s a part of the journey right? Easier to accept than fight it.

I have spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts and working to understand them, the place they come from. Doing my best to not take things to personal. Seriously, there were times I didn’t see, hear from or speak to anyone for days. Fighting to chase away those old thought patterns that I am desperately seeking to change continuously working to better myself. I would listen to motivational tapes for hours. Frustrated with my hand and the fact I felt so uncomfortable. It also took twice as long or more to get anything done, including cooking food for myself.

One of the hardest things was to stay positive everyday. I started to tell people my wrist was “getting better everyday” instead of telling them how I really felt. It was more than just the injury fighting the thoughts to keep me down and at home, a battle only few know the true depths of. 

I am extremely blessed for all the Angels who show up in my life. The people who show me good humans still exist. Without them this journey would have a very different outcome. There is also a handful of others who watched out for me (still do) and had a tendency to give when the time was right without me asking.

The night I fell, I received two pain pills along with IV pain medicine, antibiotics, an injection to numb area where I would receive block so they could manipulate my hand, medicine for nausea, and a second dose of pain meds through IV. Plus a prescription for 2 different pain meds. I would take these every 4-6 hours  until surgery for 2 weeks. I was put under for my surgery and given morphine for the 24 hours I would remain in hospital after surgery. Sent home with more pain medication and pills to help with nausea from the pain meds. I would take these for a few weeks regularly for pain. 

That is a lot of prescription drugs going into a body that doesn’t even take aspirin, or any other over the counter pills for that matter. Whoa… my body and mind reacted. Tired, fatigued, no motivation, body ached, nausea, insomnia, increased night sweats and yes depression.  I weaned myself off and haven’t taken any more in over a month. I slowly feel my old self coming back. I am blown away at the effect all those drugs had on me, physically and mentally, which truly did not help my situation.

I am back to work again and gaining strength. Felt so good to get back to doing what I love to do, getting into the zone that only a Chef can understand. Moments I would forget my hand was even injured at all, only reminded at a slight twitch of pain while it retrained itself to do what it has been trained to do without thinking.

This experience will soon be a distant memory and life will resume again as I rebuild the momentum I lost the day I fell. I will create new relationships to replace the ones I have lost. When I meet someone who is injured, I will have more empathy because I know the journey is beyond the injury we see.

My dearest Angels, I am forever grateful for you showing up in my darkest times of need, without judgment or expectation. It is with your help I was able to keep up my strength and work through those hard days. The world is a better place because of people like you. Words cannot even begin to express my gratitude. 

I have a deeper respect and love for every part of my body. The ability our bodies have to heal is amazing, not just on a physical level but a mental one as well. What we feed it does matter, not just through our mouths but our minds as well. It is important to not allow hard times to take you down further. And man is it hard not to let the circumstances of your current life to pull you into a bad place, allowing the old negative records to play instead of replacing them with new or positive ones. It is a lot easier to complain and bitch than it is to be positive. I learned that as I trained myself to say my wrist was getting better everyday.

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