Thursday, January 26, 2012
Injuries: When Things Go Bump in Night--or During the Day
Okay, I still have a New Year's blog to put out--and a newsletter--but I have to write these things as the topics spring to my head. Otherwise, I lose them!
For the last three weeks I have been nursing a shoulder injury (and by nursing, I mean I'm still doing pretty much everything I was doing, but a little more carefully and with a lot of pain). I hit a bump at the bottom of a ski hill, fell forward (still not sure how that happened), and landed on my arm. I felt immediate pain through my right shoulder and knew I was in trouble.
Of course, I hoped the injury was minor, so I babied it a bit, had Mark work on it with some Tiger Balm (I even treated myself to a massage to see if she could work it out) and kept up with my daily life. I even went on a week-long ski trip to Colorado with the help of some anti-inflammatories (which I typically don't like to take--but it was a special occasion).
Three weeks passed, and the shoulder was no better. Fearing that I actually tore the rotator cuff, I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor who specializes in shoulders and knees.
My anxiety has been up the last few days (I'm sure my crankiness has too) because I started fearing what a surgery would do to my business. Everything I do during my day is physical--from teaching classes, to running with dogs, to personal training. If I need to take a few weeks--or even a few months off because of a surgery and recovery, my business is in big trouble. There's no sick leave. Classes need subs. I might still be able to work with personal training clients, but I certainly wouldn't be able to spot them properly or demonstrate exercises. And my canine clients will still need to get out for a potty break--if not a run.
The Fit Life, LLC has been alive for about a year and a half now, and it is just now starting to be viable. Just in the last month I feel like I'm actually contributing to my household's finances again. It's been a long haul! And a surgery could put me back to square one!
Okay, it took me awhile, but now I'm finally to the point of this blog: When your livelihood depends on being able to complete physical tasks, do you curtail your life of adventure (your loves, your hobbies) for fear of damaging your career?
This question has been presented to me by others, and during this most recent injury, I asked it to myself.
I would really like to hear your take on this--especially if you too have a physically demanding job.
My own answer to this question is: No. I will not give up the life I love because I risk physical risk to my body. But let me clarify by saying I also don't think I take any crazy risks. I like to ski, but I don't go flying down double black diamonds at break-neck speeds. I enjoy the greens and some blues. I don't go rock climbing without a harness, I train safely for races, etc.
The whole reason I gave up my desk job to do something active was my love of adventure. To deny myself those adventures would be denying one of the most satisfying parts of my life. So it's a risk you take. And let's face it, I could have easily tripped over curb and received this same injury.
When this question was posed to me a few years back, my situation was a little different. I was not married, and I lived in D.C. where the cost of living is really high. A foot surgery (which was the result of an injury that occurred during a trapeze class) knocked me out of commission for awhile. Well, it should have knocked me out of commission for awhile. I actually went back to work the next day because I couldn't afford to take time off (in this business--or when you own a small business--there is no such thing as a sick day or medical leave. You don't work, you don't get paid). I shouldn't have gone back so soon because the foot still bothers me to this day because I rushed my recovery. But my answers remains the same--I'd still take the risk.
My hope is that my active lifestyle will enable me to have a fitness career well into my senior years!
Today I have a little cushion. I'm happily married to a wonderful man who has a good job. So while a surgery would be very frustrating, I wouldn't starve if I had to recover for awhile. And, as much as I don't want to go back to a desk job, I do have a master's degree to fall back on.
So how about you? Would you (or do you) alter your your life outside of work to make sure you are able to physically do your job?
Oh, in case you are wondering, no surgery needed. The doctor said I jammed my humerus into my shoulder cup causing some deep bone bruising and micro-fractures. So I will be dealing with some pain for the next few months (long recovery apparently); however, my only restrictions deal with working with my arms over my head. I'll have to be really careful teaching TRX, but for the most part, my career is safe for now. I just need to keep some ice packs ready!
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