Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Making the Best of the Unexpected

Fall leaves in a puddle...Life in a muddle
Interesting nevertheless!

Life seldom follows one straight path for long. Unexpected circumstances inevitably arise causing us to pause, prioritize and plan an alternative course of action. No one is exempt from this pattern which may be confusing and stressful at the time, but in retrospect often brings positive personal change and growth.

Our plans for November did not go as expected. Two weeks ago today, after having a sore knee that gave out causing two falls within as many days, my knee locked in a painful way. As inconvenient as it was, I was given a splint and crutches and had to wait for an "urgent" orthopaedic consultation. We were to leave at the end of last week for Mexico to attend our daughter's wedding. I saw the surgeon the morning of the day of our departure and had to cancel out at the last minute. My husband and the Becka went on, while my daughter who is a nurse stayed with me in Canada. I had the surgery yesterday and know it was a success. My surgical pain is very minimal compared to the pain of the locked joint. I have to take it easy for two weeks and apply some physiotherapy principles to myself, ones that I have taught to many patients over the years. I wonder how compliant I will be?

View from my kitchen window

November and December have never been my favourite months. While I generally have an optimistic and positive outlook on life, I have noticed that I harbour more brooding thoughts in the late fall and am also more susceptible to illness and injury. In the 1970's the theory of biorhythms was very popular, and while it has not been scientifically proved, there is some circumstantial evidence that we may experience cycles of physiological, emotional and intellectual well being. Seasonal affective disorder is a more accepted theory to describe mood fluctuations related to changes of season. Diminishing light is thought to be the main cause of the condition.

Looking back, I see how busyness and stress contributed to this problem. I should have sought medical attention when the knee started acting up, but I just figured I would be told to go for a course of therapy. Now I am forced to slow down and rest and find I am not as indispensable as I thought. Our bodies do have ways of saying "enough already"!

I am fortunate to have terrific coworkers and an understanding professional leader who are filling the gap for me at work. And I can take these personal lessons back to my patients by being more compassionate and understanding of their problems. My immediate and extended family members have been very supportive too. I miss my walks but am taking pictures out the house and car windows. We have had several snowfalls this week and the sun has been shining fairly often. The Becka and her dad return to Canada this evening and I am sure they will have lots of stories about their time with the family in Mexico. My husband has even been bird watching for me.

Time to pause...plan...prioritize.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11


  1. Anonymous9:13 am GMT-5

    Oh, that's too bad that you had to miss your daughter's wedding! How disappointing. I'm glad the surgery went well and hopefully soon you'll be out on your walks again. Take this down time to relax and get well.

  2. So sorry to hear about your pain, and even more, about you missing your daughter's wedding. Hope your recovery is quick and you can get back to your walks soon; exercise seems to help with seasonal affective disorder, so I hear. Do you have some of those full-spectrum light bulbs in your house?

  3. I'm so sorry to hear of your knee problems and especially of your having to miss your daughter's wedding. I am happy that the surgery was a success though and that you are so well supported to make a good recovery. We bought a SAD light for my husband after many years of melancholy this time of year. It really does seem to be helping him.

  4. That's really too bad, but it sounds as though things are on the upswing now.

  5. Oh Ruth, I'm so sorry to hear this news about the knee problem and resulting surgery keeping you from a trip to Mexico to see your family and your daughter's wedding. I am praying for your speedy and uneventful recovery.

  6. That scripture in Jeremiah is one of my favourites. Many's the time I've called it to mind over the years. So often we get on a treadmill ... around and around the same mountain we go until He says enough ... you really do need to "get this" and move on ... so in His goodness, wisdom and mercy, He moves us on ... not always the way we expect!

    I love the way you did that first picture.

  7. I'm glad you feel better. A lot of people were praying for you.

  8. Ruth,

    You have a good attitude! Did your husband and daughter bring back lots of photos so you could experience the wedding second-hand??

    Here's hoping you heal quickly and are walking around normally within a short time.


  9. ((((Ruth)))) Ouch. So sorry to hear about the knee, but as you said, sooner or later, our bodies tell us it's time to see about ourselves. I hate you did not get to go to the wedding, but hope you are on the mend very soon. Hugs to you.

  10. I too am sorry to hear of how things have gone.Hopefully it can only get better.Love the Bible verse,yes God's plans are the best.The Canada picture is beautiful.Take good care of yourself.

  11. Well, sorry your plans were way-laid. But, I am glad your surgery was successful. You certainly have enough experience that you can give yourself the appropriate talk on how to rehab successfully.
    And, given the title of your post, you have the most important part already learned--making the best of the unexpected.

  12. Dear miss your daughters wedding must have been you so rightly say we never know what will happen in life........

    I am so glad that your surgery went well and hope that the healing will be complete....and that life will get back to normal for you.......

    Take the time to mend and heal.........

  13. What a bummer! So sorry you had to miss the wedding.

    I think I know you well enough from your blog to know that you will adapt to all of this better than most and will come out all the better for it. And in less than five more weeks the days will begin to lengthen.

    We will all try to make our blogs a bit more interesting so you will have plenty to do.

    Take care of yourself. We'll be thinking positive thoughts for you.

  14. Anonymous7:36 pm GMT-5

    Sorry to hear about your setback Ruth. I'm glad the surgery was successful and you are on the mend. I know it is difficult to give in to our bodies, when they need to call a time-out. I kept postponing my hysterectomy, until I collapsed in a heap on my bathroom floor. Now I feel so much better, and I wonder why I put it off for so long.

  15. Anonymous7:48 pm GMT-5

    So sorry to learn of your knee condition and the pain you went through, but I'm glad the operation went well. I'm sure you'll be back on your feet and walking in no time at all. Keep smiling and having fun with your photos - I love the leaf collage.

    I'm always glad when it's cold here in the winter because then the sun is out and I don't have to deal with the gloom. All the best, April

  16. All the best, Ruth. talk about timing! I hope you will take good care - it's tough to be the patient.

  17. Oh dear Ruth..I am so sorry about this and I hope you will follow all orders to get back on your feet. You did miss the wedding? Oh no....I agree that November is difficult. Shorter days spent inside and more illness in everyone...Please take care..

    New Rambling Woods Site

  18. It's true, it seems like groundhog day, day after day, but all of a sudden then things change, and then its groundhog day all over again. Hang in there with bad knee: the good news is it sounds like you are in good hands, that can make a difference.

  19. Dear Ruth, Oh I am so sorry about your knee surgery. What terrible timing - to miss your daughter's wedding!

    It's times like these that we do some soul searching and it sounds like you are doing just that.

    I don't need any scientific proof to tell me why I feel "down" at this time of year. I just do. I know it's because of the lack of light. Longer nights. No riding my bike at 9:00 p.m. wearing shorts and flipflops. No more waking up with the early morning sun to check out my flower beds, cup of coffee in hand.
    The air is cold now. The "carefree" days of warmth and gardening are gone for now.
    But once January rolls around, even though it's still cold, our sunlight is stronger and I can see my way clear to Spring. So I feel better.

    Take care and heal.

  20. Thanks for all the encouraging comments. I usually go for walks at noon hour at work and in that way get my dose of light for the day. But I think the full spectrum lights are something I should consider. January does bring a positive change as the days start lengthening again. Wendy, your describe this so well. I have so much to be thankful for.

  21. At least you've got a top physiotherapist on the case! Kneed I say more?

  22. Oh, Ruth, I've missed your posts and knew something was up by your facebook updates. I'm so sorry that you missed the wedding and hope that they all took pictures to take you through every moment of it. Get better soon, we miss your walks.

  23. Anonymous8:28 am GMT-5

    How devasting for have a bummed knee, surgery and most important you had to miss your daughters wedding. I can't imagine how you must of have felt. I'm so sorry this had to happen to you.

    You have a strong positive attitude and that is the first step in healing. I hope you are up and at it sooner then you think. I know that you are missing your walks (and so are we - just a bit selfish there (lol)).

    Take this down time to catch up on some reading, missed movies etc and maybe a little pampering from the family.

  24. Ruth,

    I'm sorry to hear this news. Missing a family event is difficult but you can rely on your husband and the Becka to get you through... Co-workers are wonderful.

    I hope you are healing well. I've told the same story once before and feel your pain, both physically and emotionally.

    It's OK. A time to pause is a good thing.

    Take care,


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