The past three and a half weeks have been trying on my psyche and on my physical body. However, if anything positive has happened, it is that I have learned what not to do when you are on bed rest.
1. Do not let yourself get depressed. Sure that sounds easier said than done, and you may wonder who chooses to get the depressed? Actually, a lot of people in similar bed rest situations choose to be depressed. It is easy to get down on yourself when you cannot do what you would normally do. On a typical day I normally practice ashtanga yoga. The first week and a half after my surgery I just laid in bed. Not because I had to be in bed 24 hours per day, but because I was feeling down on myself because I could not practice yoga in the way that I was used to. Suddenly one day a memory back to me. In May when I was practicing Ashtanga yoga at a big event in NYC, the lady that was behind me was an amputee. She was practicing ashtanga with a missing limb and I was in awe. After the class I had to approach her and tell her how amazing she was. I knew I shouldn't have been staring, and paying attention, but it really did blow me away, because how many times have I skipped class because "I couldn't" and here she was with a missing limb jumping through! I woke up a week and a half after surgery and decided to practice yoga. Not ashtanga, but whatever movement I could muster. It wasn't too bad. My body felt good to finally get out of bed for something other than a doctor's appointment. I had chosen to let my injury lead me down a road of depression for not being able to do what I thought I needed to be doing. After moving, I knew that if I felt depressed over whatever my perceived limitations were, I needed to remind myself of what other things I could still do. Depression got kicked to the curb.
2. Do not hesitate to ask for help. This one is hard for an independent type A personality such as myself. However, when you realize that the simple task of using the bathroom has suddenly become hard work, you learn to ask for help. After not showering for five days after my surgery, I broke down and asked pretty much a total stranger (my friend Abraham's friend Diana) to wash my hair and help me take a shower. Oh boy what a task that was! I will never take for granted the luxury of standing in my shower for an hour, if I wanted, while hot water washed down my body. I had to strip down naked in front of a stranger and shower. This stranger, who is now like family, slowly became super pivotal in my day to day activities. Diana brings me dinner every night. She checks in on me throughout the day, she washes my hair and helps me shower when I ask her to, she goes with me to my doctor whenever I need to see him. A total stranger, who became a friend, whom I could not live without for the past few weeks. If I did not break down and ask for help, I would not be eating, would not be showering, would not know how to get to the doctor, etc. By asking for help I let go of my Type A personality, allowed myself to be vulnerable, and have said bye-bye to my ego that makes me believe that in order for me to be a highly functioning individual, I have to do things by myself. Now don't get me wrong, asking for help doesn't mean that every time I ask for help I am going to get it, that would be a fairy tale world, and I don't believe in fairy tales just yet, but opening up to asking even if the answer may be no is one of the best lessons I have learned. So above all do NOT hesitate to ask for help.