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What I Learned About My Body While Healing My Broken Kneecap
It started on on 19 July 2020, when my body tripped and fell and my left kneecap broke. I had never broken a bone in my body before.
It tales eight weeks for a bone to heal. So I’ve basically been lying in bed for the past eight weeks. Tomorrow I’m starting four weeks of physically therapy, and then I should be able to walk again—at least around the house. I won’t be climbing Mt Everest any time soon, but I should be able to walk around the farmer’s market instead of having Larry push me in the wheelchair.
The first week was just about dealing with the pain, getting a wheelchair, crutches and other basic equipment and figuring out a new routine. Then I finally had a doctor appointment and learned I didn’t need surgery. The bone was cracked but in good sized pieces that were touching and in their proper places, so it was just a matter of my body building bone to knit the pieces back together.
This required keeping my leg perfectly straight at all times so as to not pull the new bone apart while it is growing. The orthopod gave me a great brace that kept my knee in the exact position it needed to be in to heal. That helped a lot. It was much better than the flimsy brace they gave me in the emergency room.
I have learned three physical things from this experience.
1. Our bodies really can heal themselves. I think we all somehow know this because when we cut a finger the skin heals, but with the healing of my broken bone I experienced this on a much larger dimension. I really got the sense that my body is healing and repairing all the time.
2. My experience was to let my body do its healing. Of course there are times when bodies need assistance, but my first question now is, “Can my body heal [whatever problem] itself?” And then to look at what lifestyle change might be needed, and what support I can give my body in the form of food or body movement or rest. In this case, what was needed is rest and food and a brace to keep the hones in the proper position.
3. What my body really needed most was sleep and rest. I really couldn’t work or read or think the first 10 days or so. I just had to stop everything and sleep. And even after that first 10 days I still needed to rest and sleep a lot and just didn’t have much energy. I just couldn’t function with my normal life. Still now, after 8 weeks, my day revolves around rest. My “productive” day is 2-4 hours and often I still need to just take a rest day now and then. I don’t push my body to do more. It’s job now is healing.
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. I really know that now.