Yesterday was ten weeks since surgery, next week will be 6 months without the Big O and honestly, the lack of daily physical discipline of swimming in the context of this stuff and in the context of regularly entering high conflict situations to bring peace and healing has started to expose me to two day headaches and some beautiful innocents close to me, to a little misdirected rage.
So today was the day. My surgeon has said all along, “Be guided by your symptoms” which I think is profoundly wise and I have made a concerted effort to minimize the use of pain numb-ers so that I actually can authentically assess my symptoms.
I headed down to the gym pool. I have delayed swimming by a further two weeks and kept the aircast on constantly. Still sleeping with it on which is huge fun. But it keeps my traumatized foot safe and comfortable. Out of the cast I find my entire lower leg vulnerable to cramp still. This is natural after the shifting of tendons, lengthening the Achilles through the calf and cutting into bones. It was traumatic surgery and I am fully okay with the whole “there, there, here’s a nice aircast for you till you get stronger” stuff.
But I have this cool untested cast for swimming and diving, designed to stabilize the foot and prevent any movement. My biggest concern was in the water my foot would go into cramp. So I remove the aircast, put on the swimming cast, lace it up as tight as possible. Everything feels safe. I get in the pool. Details of how I get to the pool from the bench are complicated and might make your eyes water.
The water feels great. It’s like coming home and I’m about to glide through the water like the happiest friggin dolphin in the whole entire world. So first few pulls. Awesome. Both legs kept motionless by a pull bouy. So all is call and the dolphin stuff is happening. Towards the end of the pool, my hamstring and calf muscle and everything connected to it (including what feels like every being in China) starts cramping. So I stop and there’s this swimmer with these really awesome mean looking goggles. The one’s I covet. Cause when you look mean you swim fast. So I start thinking of how I am going to trip him at the poolside. Just processing this ridiculous plot against an innocent swimmer has the effect of diffusing my rage. So I take a little time out. Start praying for peace in my leg and I get to the other side.
On the way back I start praying for Wisdom and it comes. Just give thanks for being in the water. Revel in being in the water. Feel the water. Get used to it. Just float. Just float. So that’s what I do. And soon thereafter I had completed a very tranquil, graceful 400m swim.
Every step of the way I give thanks. Thanks for the ability to get out the pool. Thanks for the ability to get back to my stuff. Thanks for the ability to get the swimming cast off and the air cast back on. Thanks for the ability to stand up. This is a great, stratospheric challenge with a moonboot, crutches and wet floor combo.
My intended 1km swim, became a four hundred metre swim and I was able to do for myself what I help others do in high conflict where there has been injury. It looks something like this:
Pray for Peace
Pray for wisdom
Put some space between the injury and the next step (this is often the single most powerful thing I can do for those in high conflict, whether it is groups of hurting people about to shoot each other, or hurting spouses contemplating divorce)
Look for practical ways to diffuse rage and allow for no engagement in an enraged state
Having said the aforegoing, allow for anger, acknowledge it and look for helpful ways for it’s expression
Look back and acknowledge each accomplishment, no matter how small with a sense of victory and with gratitude
As I was getting myself up off the slippery floor and on my crutches. I came across a feather. I picked it up. I can’t explain it. But at times when I have felt the loss of my father the most over the past six months, a feather appears, I pick it up. And I’m ok with the mystery. I’m ok that I don’t have all the answers.
As always, peace