Today’s episode is about expansion and compassion. On my Road to Excellence, I seem to find ways to push my boundaries beyond what I can imagine or comprehend. As I discussed briefly in my first podcast about Why Excellence, we all take missteps and might prefer a “do over.”
Well, a recent event that found its way to me was what some would consider quite tragic. All be it, there were times, I would have agreed. Nonetheless, I’m clear about what excellence lesson this was for me. So, let me shed some light on this for you.
Very recently, I was hiking in the hills of Malibu, near what we call the waterfall but truth be told it’s only a waterfall in the rainy season. I took a step, looked left and took another step and bam, I was down. I caught my fall with my right hand, twisting my wrist (almost crushing it) and got two lacerations on the top of my hand.
Wasn’t pretty, blood oozing, everyone in panic mode, but me. I’m calm and only focused on getting a towel to stop the bleeding. Thank God for adrenaline. I made it back to clean it up and in my typical Doughty style (side bar: I come from a long line of stubborn, willful people that when injured, we persevere, chin up, bite the upper lip and move forward – remember the ocean story from the first podcast? Same thing here) Because this wasn’t my first rodeo in bodily accidents, I went into CVS Urgent Care mode. Got all the supplies I needed and almost like Rambo style (you know, gun powder to seal up wounds) HA Ha – No, I’m not that nuts. But I did what was necessary. All good until 3 days later, my hand puffed up like a blow fish. Seriously not exaggerating, I thought my hand was going to explode from the inside out.
So, no more messing around, I went straight to urgent care, but of course in true California style I had to stop and ask an herb doctor first if I had any options other than the antibiotics that I was trying to avoid at all costs from the beginning. (another side bar: we westerners are WAY too quick to pop a pill to fix things. No glory for me, my motivation comes from sheer not wanting to be out of control of my body. And more importantly, I know that God created our bodies to heal itself.) But with that said, I am no dumby, I knew could not escape the antibiotics this time. As expected, at urgent care, they confirmed my hand was infected. FYI and for your future use – the tops of our hands and feet are the only parts of our bodies with the least amount of protection from skin and muscle tissue. So, when you break skin in that area, there’s a very high possibility, like 80+% that it will get infected. No, this is not a medical show, but hey, I like to share what I’ve learned to help others.
Okay, so, I’m at urgent care and the faces my doctor was making as she looked at my hand were funny to me, but also revealing her concern for me. To the point, that she even mentioned me possibly needing an orthopedic surgeon. Those words pretty much did me in. She had my attention. 1000%! She cleaned it and dressed it and said I could do the shot of antibiotics and/or the pills. Based on her previous facial expressions, I chose both. Now – if you’ve never had the antibiotic shot – well, here’s your warning. I was calling out for Jesus and swearing. Yep – it freaking hurt. So bad that after they gave me the shot, they said you won’t want to move for at least 2 -3 minutes and if you feel a sharp pain going down your leg, THAT is normal!! NORMAL?!?! There’s NOTHING normal about that antibiotic shot.
They splinted me up, gave my more pills and said if the swelling and pain hadn’t come down within 2 days, I needed to see the orthopedic surgeon. So, as I leave, sitting on my left butt cheek only because that shot is STILL killing me, I’m grateful that there’s hope I’ll be okay and I’m upset with myself for being so stubborn.
Excellence has nothing to do with beating yourself up. It’s about assessing what worked and what didn’t – much like a play on a football field. It was just a wrong move on my part.
Well, here’s where the expansion and compassion come into play. My entire world shifted. I’m right handed. I work on the computer about 50% of my day. Whatever your dominant hand is, try taking it out for 5 minutes and watch your brain struggle to create a solution.
Being single, with two large dogs, I have to walk them and feed them. They are turning 8 this year, so they eat a weight managed diet – a little dry, a little wet, and some coconut oil – well, the wet comes in a can. A can, that has not yet evolved to a pop top can. So, I use a manual can opener. Try opening a can with your least dominant hand and no use of the other. On my website, I have a video that goes along with this podcast – feel free to enjoy a peek into how you open a can with one hand. It was hard, but I did it – every night! Now for the walks – how do you clip a collar with one hand? I didn’t try to figure that out, I just looped their leashes and turned them into a collar and leash in one and walked them with my left hand VERY carefully. Thomas, the German Shepherd is 75 pounds and Stella, the bully pit mix is 55 pounds. If they get excited, I’ve got to control them with one hand. Thankfully, they are trained well, but none the less, it was always an anxious moment when it was potty time for them.
Taking your make up off, showering, well, you can’t wash your hair with one hand – thank god for blow dry bars, putting your hair in a ponytail (try it with one hand, you can’t). I can go on and on, but enough. Why am I detailing this out for you so laboriously? Because, I want you to slow down and THINK. I want you to put you in my position. We all take our bodies for granted. We don’t acknowledge that our hearts beat, lungs breath and brain sends messages to different parts of our body to complete different functions we command it to do – all involuntarily!
During this, I went through a phase of depression because the brain is so confused. Your will is so frustrated because it no longer can create your intended reality. I’m a doer – I do NOT like to be idle. Well, I was VERY idle! I’ve never been so humbled in my life. Someone made a comment to me about how this was a good life lesson.
For me, the word lesson has a hint of a negative connotation. Maybe I’m alone in this, but when that was proposed to me in those terms, while I did receive it, what immediately came to me as a response was – for me, it’s about expansion and compassion.
Because of this incident that I’ve created in my life, I now have expanded my foothold on what I am and I am NOT capable of. I briefly experienced this in 2007 when I had a severe back injury and literally couldn’t walk, but this was different. My back incident was about realizing the gift of my body as an athlete. This took something away from me that I thought in some way was my right – like my heart pumping blood through my body.
NO – I realize now that every single solitary function that our miraculous bodies complete every second we are alive is just that – a miracle. No cliché here. I’ve lived out these words.
Compassion comes in when I think about what if I had lost complete function of my hand? My mind went to those that have lost their hand or some other appendage, like Amy Purdy who lost both her lower legs to bacterial meningitis or Michelle Salt who lost her right leg to a motor cycle accident. I’ve followed both of their journeys and in my pain, sorrow and frustration; I quickly came into reality when I realized how I had a small glimpse into their world. I said small – so please don’t react disproportionately. In thinking of them, I was immediately struck by the grace I’ve been given to ONLY have to deal with what I was dealing with.
So, when it comes to your road to excellence – remember, the bumps in the road are to expand you and to create more compassion for others. In case you’re interested, no Hollywood ending here, I’m on the mend. Keep in mind, that at the time of this podcast recording, I’m less than 2 weeks out from the original incident. But, I AM going to heal. More importantly, my heart has expanded.
Thank you for joining me and until next time, Live Excellence!