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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Shell Shocked Parents…And The Face Of A Child’s Resilience

One of the exhibits at our local Children’s Museum is a life-size ant hill. The kids love the maze of tunnels. Our daughter is just 2, so my husband and I climbed in with them. We were not as fond of the humid, carpeted tunnels and the smell of sweaty socks as they were – we went in only for giggles.

This time, the fun was short-lived. Our daughter crawled in a second level tunnel and blindly moved forward. I heard my husband shouting for her to stop. Below her, I moved towards them hoping to catch her. Not fast enough.

THUD.

Any parent knows that particular sound – the unmistakable sound of a head face hitting something hollow. She crawled straight over a hole and fell, face-first so her nose and mouth took the brunt of the impact. Cradling her as we crawled out into the light, we surveyed the damage.

A face full of bright red blood.

It. Was. E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

First, my husband and I froze, our faces mirroring looks of horror and concern. Then suddenly, adrenaline kicked in and I shoved her into my husband’s arms and ran for something…anything…to soak up the blood. Her screams echoed as amazingly helpful and sympathetic staff began arriving to assist us.

I’m not gonna lie – the afore-mentioned adrenaline could easily be interpeted as panic. My thoughts raced down all kinds of rabbit holes…loss of teeth, broken nose, bit tongue, concussion and worse.  Grabbing paper towels and the diaper bag while replaying the thud and the blood in my mind…I wondered if we needed to go the ER. I prayed we wouldn’t.

Running back, I found my poor (amazing) husband sitting, trying to console her and keep the blood off of the museum bench. As we soaked it up from our writhing and screaming child, we made eye contact.

No words required.

Fear. Love. Concern. Prayers. Hope…all at once.

It took maybe 10 minutes to slow the bleeding down to a trickle. It felt like HOURS. We assessed the damage and were amazed there was no external cut. A tongue bite that hardly bled, and a record-setting bloody nose.

As we tried to apply an ice pack provided by the staff, she struggled to get up, screaming to get down. Why? Not because it was cold. Not because it hurt. No, she was ready to play.

Seriously?

My husband and I were ready to go home.

We moved to the hallway and and gave the kids a snack while we continued to try to get her nose to stop bleeding. By now, our main concern was whether she had broken her nose.

Her main concern was what she could play with next.

When the bleeding finally stopped, we changed her clothes, washed up, and decided to try one of the quieter exhibits. My husband and I spent the rest of the time trying to make sure our over-ambitious two-year old didn’t fall on her face again. Or…rather we succumbed to overprotective instincts and annoyed her. Helicopter parenting at it’s finest worst.

To our surprise, we finished the rest of the museum and left with two tired, happy kids. The only evidence of what is now known as the ‘childrens museum incident’ was a bruise on the bridge of her nose. How so much could come out of someone so little and leave only a tiny bruise…I still cannot understand but am grateful for it.

I was amazed by how quickly she moved on from injury. As parents, injuries seem to linger in our minds long after our children move on. Our wandering minds remind us of what ‘could have happened’. But she refused to let even the most epic of bloody noses to stop her fun. We feared she would reinjure her nose, but she had no fear AT ALL.

She chose not to dwell on it – a lesson many adults could benefit from learning. The urge to play was stronger than the urge to wallow. So, she got back up, and got back to the business of having fun.

We left shell-shocked. She acted like nothing happened – with a smiling little face of resilience.

Carry on, Sunshine girl.

Still with a bruise - a smiling face of resilience. Our little tough girl. | thisgratefulmama.com

Still with a bruise – a smiling face of resilience. Our little tough girl. | thisgratefulmama.com