Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old Wounds

Six and a half years ago I crushed my ankle in a car accident. Along with that particular injury, I had a broken arm, elbow and leg. The ankle, however, was a doozie! It always looks like I have a softball on the end of my leg. Sometimes the softball is more baseball sized on my better days, but generally by the end of the day, it is approximately softball sized. After six years of this, it has gotten used to me. I say it this way, because I didn't have any plans to slow down to accommodate my ankle any more than absolutely necessary. Of course, I did have to make some minor adjustments to my life.

The first adjustment is that I function much better on even surfaces than anything uneven or unpredictable. I hate gravel and holes in the grass. You see, I do not have what my doctor called "four-wheel drive." My ankle can move up and down, but not side to side. It is the side to side motion that helps us keep our balance on uneven surfaces. Hiking and climbing are off my hobby list, but overall, I still do what I want, with one exception...climbing up to the cross at Canyon Camp.

Canyon Camp is the United Methodist Camp location I attend most frequently. It has a lighted cross sitting on the cliff of the canyon wall, and there is a relatively easy path to get there...if you have two good feet. If not, not so easy. I really didn't make it a necessity to hike up the canyon to get to the cross when I did have two good feet, and when I did make the effort, I certainly didn't appreciate the ability to be able to go the cross. But that is how it is with life. They say you don't know what you have until it's gone.

In less than six months following the accident I was released from rehab. I managed to put on decent shoes about two years out, and after four years I quit crying at near misses in traffic. So, after six years I have times that I do too much on my feet and my ankle swells, but generally it never stops me from doing anything I want to. (Yes, I am stubborn.) However, fear...fear stops me from doing a lot of things.

Fear stopped me from walking from the lodge to the dining hall. I would drive down there. Of course, it wasn't only fear that stopped me from walking to the dining hall, the road there was extremely uneven and covered in gravel. Time was also a factor. I could get there, but it would take four times as long and I would have no energy to eat once I got there. There is no way I could have gotten myself back after that. So practically speaking, driving was better for a while. Pretty soon, I got a little better at adapting to uneven surfaces, and a little quicker. I still walk with my head down watching every step I take to make sure I do not step on something that will send me down to the ground. It is really easy to walk into things this way, so I try to take company with me so they can watch where we are going. (This is no joke.)

Fear stopped me from participating in things that I did before the accident. Things like standing on my feet for long hours, like you do working camp. I know we get to sit down at camp, maybe for 15 minutes. Even the hour we may be in small group, we are playing games, etc., we are not sitting down. So, camp wore me out as well. Exhaustion is part of the problem. Even if I could gather enough gumption to do some of these things, the effort it would take for me to do some of it would be at least twice as much for someone without the injury. And something like camp can completely exhaust a healthy person.

After some time had passed to heal, I did start working camp again, and I did start walking down to the dining hall if I needed to. I still use my car frequently because I am no good if I am too busy proving I am super woman and forgetting that a week in the canyon is a marathon not a sprint. I have learned to pace myself.

Fear kept me from attempting the climb to the cross. I really didn't even think about it much until recently. Recently I started thinking of all the things I could do, like walking to the dining hall and working camp, so I decided I needed to tackle that hill to the cross.

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