Lessons Learned From An Achey-Breaky Hip – 8 Life Lessons We Can Take Away From An Injury

Lessons Learned From An Achey-Breaky Hip - 8 Life Lessons We Can Take Away From An Injury | thisgratefulmama.com

This summer I had some discomfort in my leg, lower back and hip. It wasn’t really painful, but bothersome when driving, walking or trying to sleep on my side. Then, one Saturday, part of my leg went numb, scaring the bejeebers out of me.

I expected the worst – a pinched nerve with a long recovery and lifting restrictions. How can you be a stay-at-home mama and not be able to lift the kids?

An urgent care and chiropractic visit later, I received a diagnosis. Imagine my surprise and joy – yes JOY – to receive news that it wasn’t my back at all. Rather, the numbness is caused by Trochanteric bursitis. A much better recovery and outlook than a spinal injury.

Wait a minute.

Isn’t hip bursitis for old people?

Apparently not. And I should have recognized the symptoms, because I’ve had it not once, but twice before. Numbness, however, was a new symptom and an indication of increasing severity.

I spent much of the summer in recovery. Less walking. No running. Lots of ice. Stretching. Yoga. And more stretching.

Bursitis forced me to slow down. A LOT.

More time for thinking…and for looking for the bright side of things.

1. Tolerating pain is not always a good thing

Our culture demands toughness. A high pain tolerance and the ability to continue through pain is considered a badge of honor. However, when it comes to my hip, tolerance for pain is nothing but detrimental. Carrying on while ignoring discomfort simple causes more damage. As I ‘muscled’ through it, inflammation increased to the point of pressing on a nerve, causing numbness. With bursitis, such negligence leads to permanent damage, cortisone shots, and eventual hip replacement. This has been a good reminder that I only have one body and need to be more aware of what it is telling me.

2. Not all exercise is created equal

A person with a history of bursitis CAN run and walk for exercise, but must have increased attentiveness to stretching and flexibility. Other exercises like yoga and swimming are a better option. Time to mix it up a bit.

3. Accepting help is not my strong suit

Before we knew what was wrong, my husband and mom stepped in to help with lifting. When my mom offered to go to the grocery with me, I wondered, Why? Grocery shopping seemed pretty tame. But when paying attention to what I wa doing, I was surprised by how much a back is used while grocery shopping – bending, stretching, reaching, lifting and pushing. I was especially grateful as she lifted our daughter in and out of the cart and car seat,  as she helped our son climb in and out of the cart, and as she helped lift bags into the car and into the house. While it was hard for me to admit I needed help with what seemed to be simple things, the help was invaluable and appreciated. Asking for help is less about admitting weakness and more about exercising wisdom.

4. Doing less requires creativity and patience

When you can’t lift, you need to be creative. Convincing our children to climb the stairs at night sometimes requires us to make a game of it. We discovered our son can climb into the cart if we park by the cart rack. He can climb up the metal rack into the cart. Our daughter can climb out of her car seat on her own if I unbuckle her and wait an extra minute or two. It may be faster to carry them, but it sure isn’t easy on the body if you’re trying to heal.

5. Numbness was a blessing and warning

As I mentioned before, I was generally ignoring my symptoms before my leg went numb. I may not have saught help if my leg had not gone numb, and would have caused further damage. The numbness warns of future escalation if I’m not careful to pay attention and to keep stretching. It caused realization of a growing problem and supplied enough healthy fear to make me seek help. Right away.

6. Persistance matters

Even when I feel good, I need to stretch and do the preventative exercises. Routine. Stretching takes time and I now have to be intentional to make time to do it. The IT band exercise pulverization with a foam roller hurts. I feel bruised afterwards. But it has a drastic effect on hip pain and discomfort. Whether I like it or not, it is effective and is required in my daily routine from here on out. When I am consistent in stretching and rolling – I feel great and can walk, jog and lift as I please. WORTH it.

7. Knowledge is power

My chiropractor wanted to know if our family has a history of hip replacements (we don’t). Know what I don’t want to think about at 33? Bursitis and hip replacements. But I DO want to know about something that can be prevented by changing my lifestyle NOW. After the first 2 rounds of bursitis, I should have permanently incorporated stretching in BOTH legs. But when I felt good, I slacked off and ended up paying for it with a numb leg and forced rest. Honestly, I needed some tough love and to have someone explain to me the long-term hard truth. I am grateful for a very honest chiropractor who was willing to be clear that neglect will have lasting consequences.

8. I’m grateful

NO matter how annoying it was to have numbness, limited movement, and to make extra time to stretch, I am so grateful the problem was just bursitis. A back injury would have been much worse. This experience has added self discipline into more than just one area of my life. It makes me get out of bed so I have time to stretch before the kids get up. Plus, since I now start my day on the floor stretching, it gives me time to read my bible and pray before I get up. What else am I going to do down there on the floor? I am grateful to know what the problem is, and how to prevent further flare-ups. And I’m grateful that all the stretching and slow moving this summer has paid off with a pain-free hip this fall.

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7 Reasons This Mama Wakes Up BEFORE The Kids

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Once upon a time, I was a natural morning person. It was normal to wake before my alarm with a spring in my step – motivated to exercise, get ready and get to work early. That said, I wasn’t necessarily a ‘social’ morning person – I needed time to get my head on straight before attempting conversation.

Ready for the day – but only after being awake for an hour or two.

I purposefully went to work early to enjoy my coffee in peace while sorting through emails. By the time co-workers arrived, I was adequately caffeinated and focused. I planned my day but was able to be flexible. Like any day with kids, a day in my former job was rarely what I expected it to be.

Then, we had kids.

After 15 months of consistent and severe sleep deprivation due to a hurting baby, a semblance of sleep normalcy returned.  However, sleep has never been the same. In just the past month we’ve had all kinds of night-waking due to dirty diapers, coughs needing a nebulizer, bloody noses, wet beds, a cold or hot child needing different jammies or an extra blanket, illnesses, sore legs, itchy skin, teething, falling out of the bed, thunder storms (OR clouds that might storm), burned out night lights, children claiming they are not tired at 2 AM, and…sigh…I’m sure I’m missing something.

The result? I have admittedly become a sleep-worshipper. Now, the idea of me being a morning person is downright laughable. 

Problem is, sleeping in until the kids wake me is not pretty. I greet those sweet joyful faces with an ill-prepared, impatient, attitude, still in the fog of sleep. You would think after two years of being home with the kids I’d have this figured out.

The truth is, I used to get up and prepare myself for my job. Staying home with our kids is no less of a ‘job’ than my previous employment. Staying in bed means I haven’t prepared at all – we all pay for it. In fact, I could easily argue that being mentally ready and prepared is even more important now because consequences are endured by our children.

So, I’ve been experimenting with changing my routine to make myself into a morning person again. It’s time to be purposefully prepared…

I started ‘for the kids’, but in reality, it has been as beneficial for me as them.

Our kids get up between 7 and 8. Most days, it’s 7:30. By getting up at 6, I now have between 1 and 2 hours without kids.

Alone.

Quiet.

To do whatever I want as the sun rises.

It is no exaggeration to call these mornings glorious.

Why? Here are 7 benefits I’m now experiencing. Not sure you can wake up that early? Start with just 15 minutes. Trust me, you’ll like it so much, you’ll want more. I’m actually considering getting up even earlier.

7 Reasons This Mama Wakes Up BEFORE The Kids

1. Exercise

While I often feel like a glorified pack-mule, hauling bags and kids everywhere, usually the most aerobic exercise I get is a quick walk/run around the block. While I tell myself I’ll exercise during nap time, I end up cleaning or relaxing. If not first thing in the morning, exercise doesn’t happen. Getting up at 6 means not only do I exercise, I exercise without interruption.

2. Quiet Time

If you’ve tried to read your Bible, pray, journal, or do anything that sounds like reflection in the presence of a 2 and 4-year-old, you know the result is endless interruption and likely frustration. Getting up early allows focused time, leaving me recharged and equipped for the day.

3. Caffeine

What makes a peaceful quiet time even better? Hot coffee, and finishing the whole cup. Coffee after the kids are up is found on the counter by my husband when he gets home from work, cold and half-full. Now I enjoy caffeine mixed with workout adrenaline when they wake. In other words, by the time I see them, I feel fantastic.

4. A Step Ahead

Staying in bed does means warm blankets and a slowly brightening room – tempting, I know. But it also means when I hear crying and finally get up, I stumble bleary-eyed into our daughters room. She greets me with ‘Yucky’ and ‘Big One’ (you know what that means). After changing her diaper she points to her hair and says ‘knot’ because she twirls her hair and it is a rats-nest each morning. By now, her brother has joined us and is desperate for breakfast, and ready to burst into tears because I’m just not going fast enough. Even though we’ve just begun, mornings often feel like a rude-awakening – from the bliss of a warm bed into a reactionary mode where I’m always one step behind. Waking early means I’m alert and ready to help them. I usually have breakfast on the table so our son can go eat, preventing hangry whining – I call that sweet victory.

5. Planning

I love having a moment to plan the day. I might even pack snacks or the diaper bag before the kids get up. Plans may change, but I’m more likely to be flexible. Because I’m prepared, I can help the kids know what to expect so they are more likely to transition quickly, with a good attitude.

6. My Full Attention

Instead of being preoccupied the kids have my undivided attention because I’ve already covered my bases. I am more patient, responsive, and less likely to frustrate them by being absorbed by something else and asking them to wait.

7. Relationships

One of the greatest benefits of rising early is hearing the first noises our kids make. I can go in for morning snuggles before they fully wake up. Hands-down, this is worth every minute of forfeited sleep. It helps them wake with a smile. Another benefit is getting to see my husband before he leaves for work. A short conversation over coffee with a morning hug and kiss is delightful.

Ready to be a morning person?

7 Reasons This Mama Wakes Up BEFORE The Kids | thisgratefulmama.com 7 Reasons This Mama Wakes Up BEFORE The Kids | thisgratefulmama.com


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