Enjoy Life Regardless of....

I should start by saying that this post is directed more at those who are suffering from chronic illness or pain. Those of you who are not, you can still get something out of this and maybe learn ways to support your family and friend who are. 

 So this weekend has been one that was both extremely needed and an irresponsible choice. With the past few months of hell, I could feel my sanity slipping away. I couldn't sit in that small room, watch any more TV, read another book, or endure any more silence. My need to get out doesn't negate my doctors orders.

"Take it easy. Don't walk more than you absolutely have to. Keep your knee elevated, Ice it every hour, Very limited weight bearing on your crutches, or use your wheelchair if you must go out. If it hurts at all, STAY OFF OF IT!" Trust me these warning are screaming in my head every second of the day. Most people who know me know that I am a stickler for the doctors orders. I generally follow them religiously and without room for interpretation. This weekend, however, is a bit different. 

This weekend is what I am calling my "mental health" weekend. The whole point of this weekend is to take care of every other part of my being and basically forget all about my knee. This weekend is all about taking care of the other 90% of who I am without (most of) the limitations of my knee. I am not on limiting my walking, I am not elevating it all the time, I am not icing it every hour, I am sure not staying off of it. those medical bills that I am supposed to pay this month, well they will still be there next month. I am spending my weekend enjoying life instead. 

Now my version of enjoying life will most definitely differ from many of you. I choose to spend my time in an arena watching men and women battle time clocks, steers, children hang on for dear life to sheep, and men facing thousand pound bulls who want to kill them. Yes, the rodeo is heaven for me. I love the adrenaline, the excitement, the inherent danger they overcome, and the family that is rodeo. The skill, precision, guts and sometimes stupidity it takes to do what they do is something I envy. 

This wasn't my whole weekend, mind you. I also stayed at a beautiful, high class hotel in the heart of Denver, went to the spa for a pedicure, ate amazing food, ordered room service, sat in the hot tub, had a few drinks, and simply relaxed. No thought about what I should or shouldn't be doing or how much money I was "wasting," just simply living life on my terms; doing what I wanted, when I wanted, without regrets. 

"That's really dangerous, and you're going to hurt yourself." - Most People 

Well to that I say. You're right. For my knee, not caring what happens may be dangerous and irresponsible. However, not taking this time for me would be irresponsible as well. You see I am not just my knee. I am a woman who needs to be pampered and made to feel cared for. I am a person who gets overwhelmed with life and needs to unplug sometimes. Most of all, my mental and emotional well being MUST take priority on occasion or I will literally go insane. A life with no enjoyment and fun is no life at all. 

Does this mean I paid no attention to the safety and well being of my knee. Absolutely not. If you look back over that list above, what is the one thing that each event has in common? I was sitting down. I SAT and watched the rodeo, SAT while I got my pedicure, SAT in the hot tub, SAT and ate, etc. I also made sure that I had on my knee brace and my mobility aids with me to use. The seat in front of mine didn't have anyone in it, so I was able to elevate my knee for parts of the show. I used my handicap placcard to make sure I got the closest parking place available and minimized my walking within the arena. I made a concerted effort to have a great time, while still making sure I wasn't damaging my knee further. 

So my point in telling you all this is to show the importance of not letting your pain rule your life. I mentioned in my post about emotions that we deal with the pain emotions and we deal with all the others as well. This is no different. We must take the time to live life to the fullest or there will not be a reason to go on with life. The difference is that we must take the time and put in the thought to do this in a way that helps not hurts. There are a thousand extra questions that we have to think about when taking time to get away, but I promise its worth it. 

I want to clarify that I do not take weekends like this on a regular basis. This is a once or twice a year treat for me. I couldn't afford the cost of these weekends very often to be honest with you. I do, however, make sure that at least once a month I am doing something for myself. I get my nails done, or have a nice lunch with friends, I buy a new shirt or a new piece of jewelry, or I go see a show at the theatre. Sometimes its as small as eating a new flavor of ice cream just because I can  or spending a little extra time snuggling with my cat. The point is this. FIND SOMETHING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY AND DO IT REGULARLY!