New Normal… It’s Getting Better All the Time

June 20, 2015 Recovery  No comments

Dan at HapunaFor you, my audience, It’s been a week since I wrote about the my cycling accident resulting in a broken hip and six months of projected rehabilitation. For me, it’s been seven days to experience a rollercoaster of emotional heights and physical limitations. However, to say that its been hard requires perspective. I still have great overall health, I am prepared daily with an accommodation of food and activity all within arm’s reach, I have plenty of time to catch up on things like Game of Thrones and Mad Men and I get chauffeured everywhere I need to go. So… hard is a relative term. Besides, I don’t really watch Game of Thrones or Mad Men. I just like the idea that should I want to, I could.

The one thing that has been a consistent theme throughout the week are people telling me that I’ll quickly recover, heal up nicely and not to worry because six months goes by in a flash. For those who struggle with the concept of time let me ask you if six months is a “flash” then what the heck is one week? Because to me, it felt like, well, seven days… long, long days.

The other thing I hear a lot is God must want to be telling you something that He may not have had the opportunity to tell you were you putting in all that training in preparation for full and half iron distance racing. Maybe… although there’s a lot of silence out on the road. I tend to see the evidence of His work and hear the whispers of God a lot out there. I think what they mean is, perhaps God could use the time for something other than what I spend it on while training… and that could be true!

Finally, the most common heard theme this past week has been, “What are you doing here?” Here, being work. It’s usually followed up by, “Man, I expected you to be in a lot worse shape!” Especially funny, was when I asked for the facility guys to bring by a wheel chair so I could work and get around the campus while carrying things (Folks listen to me… Don’t crutch and carry!). When a couple of our pastors saw this they said, “Stop it!” I give them a look… “Stop it. You’re faking!” Oh, what I would give for that to be true.

The worst part of the week: Well, there are a few things. First, canceling all remaining races and lodging reservations for the rest of the year. Then the first person I saw running… I was startled by my reaction. “No, no, no!” I thought, “Why do you get to run? I should be doing that… You’re slow and a little overweight and… what the heck Dan!” Yeah, I’m not proud of that one. Next, would be after I was able to take my first shower. Grabbing my crutches I started out of the bathroom only to hit a little drop of water on the floor and my left crutch slid three feet forward resulting in my right leg stepping down for balance. Although I committed to stop using pain medication that day, I instantly turned around to the couch to take two (the only time I did since surgery) pain pills. Finally, the hardest part of the week, was/is what I call sedentary solitude. Time I would be training is nothing more than a lonely day, sitting on the couch with a beautiful day, just outside these open, french doors. This is the woulda, coulda, shoulda time and it’s the worst.

The best part of the week: Allow me to reflect on a few as well. I very much enjoyed having our friends, Tom and Patty bring over dinner on Wednesday evening and stay through the evening over much food, wine and laughter! Thank you Tom for making the augmented “Dan’s sauce,” just one word… epic! Then there was Monday morning… just getting back into the office and seeing the fantastic team I get to work with each day reminded me of the purpose I have, which is beyond sport. Along the same line, I have to say all the wonderful emails, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls and personal visits that remind me I am not alone and very much loved (Mario you were the first to stop by and brought the best junk-food that a healthy eater could hope for). Thank you everyone!

Specifically, for just today alone, Lisa thank you for your call, Spence for the great FaceTime chat and Scott for bringing over the sandwich and bottle of wine!! Each one of you I’ve had a hand in your triathlon journey and it means a lot to have this fellowship. Finally, the best part of the week has been the clear sense that so many of you who said you would be praying for me I know you have and is, in fact, felt by me. I’ve heard people say in the past, “I really feel your prayers.” and I’ve wondered “How?” I mean, how does one actually feel the prayer of others? Well, the best way I can describe it is; were I to be left to my own thinking, emotions and behavior, I’d be a mess! But instead, I have calm, peace, acceptance, patience, hope, anticipation, eagerness and a willingness to “hear” whatever God is wanting to show me through this ordeal.

Finally, I need to say one more “thank you” and it’s the reason I’m writing this post today.

This morning, as has been the practice these past several days, after I woke up and said good morning to Joy, I crutch my way into the living room, sit down and while the coffee is being brewed I do my morning devotion and prayer. When I’m done I open my computer and click on an open webpage in my browser and I look at THIS picture (the one at the beginning of this post). It was taken by Lee Gruenfeld, a writer who I could only hope to aspire to and the husband of Cherie Gruenfeld, a legendary age group Ironman triathlete who I’ve had the privilege of calling a friend since my early years in the sport. This photo was taken just before the start of my last race in Hawaii just a few weeks back and for me is the primary inspiration to get better and get back. Why would I need such a thing? Well, Cherie was one of the first phone calls I received when I got home from the hospital and through her daily check-ins she has shared incredible experience and wisdom. “The first thing,” she said, “is to find something that you can look at daily to motivate you to stay focused and positive.”

So, here it is. It’s like me looking at me saying, “You can do this… keep smiling.” and it provides a physical reminder of where I’m going to be once again: The water behind me, the community of athletes of which I belong and the optimism of a great race even though I’ve no idea how it’s gonna go.

Thank you Cherie… little did I know that one thing, would be a gift from your husband.

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