“Time Out” !

 In Grief

The coach intently watches the action from the sidelines. When there is a need for intervention, the signal is given for a “time out” and the players leave the field and huddle around their leader for advice and redirection.

God must have felt that I needed a “time out” when He sidelined me for ten weeks to recover from a calcaneal osteotomy and extensive tendon repair surgery in December. Being dependent on others for the first few weeks was awkward and humbling. Fortunately, my dear sister Jill, a nurse, helped me to understand the challenges of my recovery and taught me how to adapt to my environment in my immobile state. She assured me that it was okay to ask for help. It was not a sign of weakness she said. But that was hard for me to do at first.

My world had shrunk to the confines of my bedroom for the first few weeks. Downstairs, my husband was forced to master more kitchen appliances than he had ever touched in his lifetime. He took over the weekly grocery shopping duty and thanks to a kind woman in the produce section, he learned the difference between a scallion and a leek. Friends brought over delicious meals to make sure that we were well-nourished. My sister, father, and mother called regularly to see how I was doing, giving me much needed long distance opportunities for socialization. I was lucky to have such a wonderful support system.

At first, I was distracted by the reruns of my favorite old TV shows. Lucy and Ethel are much more entertaining for me than any Housewives of D. C. …or Atlanta… or any other city. Leave It to Beaver and Dennis the Menace story lines stuck to the basic family values and reminded me of my simple, predictable childhood. And Perry Mason always cleverly solved a crime in an hour without blood, gore, and graphic scenes of violence.

But once the holiday visitors and excitement had passed, the days became long and lonely. There were honestly times that I got discouraged by my slow recovery. So after a short pity party one January afternoon, I accepted that I was given this respite for a reason and I better make the most of it. After all, I was fortunate to have banked enough sick days so that my income and job were not in jeoprady. Now I had to find the meaning in it all and start to appreciate it.

I learned that days are not only meaured in hours, but in achievements. Personal and seemingly small to an outsider, for me, the ability to scoot down the stairs on my butt was a major milestone. It permitted me to be a part of the family again. Next, learning how to use the knee-scooter gave me the freedom to be hands free to help in the kitchen on a limited basis. My personal Bastille Day was when I no longer needed the shower chair! My world was opening back up.

I concluded that losing something that I took for granted, walking, affected my whole being. Along with my physical disability and lack of strength, came an erosion of my confidence and diminshed my ability to contribute and feel needed. While loved ones were quick to help me, I had to force myself to move foward in my recovery and not linger in a protected, helpless state. Since I was restricted to a temporary, sedentary status, I redirected my energy to my writing and as a result, new opportunities for public speaking opened up.

I was required to slow down and this was a good thing. Leading up to the surgery I felt myself sometimes spinning too fast. Work, domestic routines, and a desire to get everything done perfectly before my operation were all taking away from my real desire to spend more time with family and on my writing. We all can get caught up in these eddies of life that suck us down before we even realize it. A day can go by and the “to do” list is still full, the laundry is piling up, and we fall into bed exhausted wondering, “What  did I do today?”.

So if life throws you a curve ball and you are forced out of the game for awhile, try and take advantage of the time and re-group. Rediscover what you have and what you want.

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” (Brian Tracy)

I am grateful for my physical healing as my gait is getting stronger everyday. I am thankful for the speed bump that slowed down my racing mind and allowed my tired spirit to enjoy the important things once again. And I am inspired to keep writing.

I hope that if you are forced to the “side lines” like me, that you too can see and understand the widsom behind it. And if not pushed there by an outside force, maybe you will just call a short “time out” on yourself and slow down and enjoy your life a little bit more.

Game on!


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  • Robin Inslee

    LOVE the quote by Brian Tracy!! I do believe I will need to share this with all my friends on Facebook. It’s a wonderful thought to live by….especially on the tough days.
    Thanks Kim!!

    • Kim K Meredith

      It’s a good one isn’t it! I am glad you liked it Robin.

  • Jill Wiener

    When I heard my sister was going to have surgery there was no question, time to go help! Yes it is true, her husband embraced his new duties in the kitchen without complaint AND without his wife’s scrutiny. This after all was my sister’s territory and relinquishing control was hard for her. I had to smile every time I was preparing a meal wondering what she was thinking up in her cozy room. My sister hears everything in her home and doesn’t have to be present to know what the sound means and the activity associated with it. She must have been a detective in her former life.So hearing all the activity in the house and not being able to be a part of it was a challenge for her, on top of managing pain and mobility. But soon I noticed a shift in my sister’s thinking and a settling into her healing routine. I am sure she had many talks with herself and that she decided to leave the pity party and direct the focus in a positive direction. This is exactly what she did. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us to take time out, whether forced or chosen. Why do we need reminders? We just do I guess? Maybe we need permission to think only about ourselves for a moment. Sounds good to me!………sister Jill

    • Kim K Meredith

      Oh Jill, you are so sweet and what you said is so true. It was hard not to think about how many crumbs were on the floor and if the produce was put in the right drawer! But I think I have turned a corner. Imagine, I still have Christmas decorations in the dining room and the wreath on the front door. That is okay. I am back at school teaching, going to therapy three times a week after school, and spending my weekends healing and writing. The Santas and the bows will be waiting for me when I am ready.
      Love you!

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