I broke my rib, now what?
It was one of the evenings about a week ago, I got up from my bed and felt lightheaded, feinted, fell and fractured my rib. I blacked out for a couple seconds so I don’t exactly know how I hit my rib so hard that it breaks. It was a kind pain I wasn’t familiar of, so I instantly thought there might be something wrong with my rib, and my concern was correct. My doctor confirmed one fractured rib and another rib possibly cracked.
I was frustrated to feel restriction in my movement, to feel unexpected pain when I laugh, cough or sneeze and to realize some things I planned to do had to be postponed.
However, this fractured rib has actually given me a couple intriguing perspectives.
1. Edge around asking for help and support
I’m usually the caretaker in my family. I’m the one who supports and tries to fulfil everyone’s needs and wants. Because of the pain and restriction in my movement, I suddenly became someone who is taken care of. Asking for help and being comfortable with it was a bit of a challenge for first couple days but this turned out to be a perfect way to practice asking for support. It takes practice!
2. Awareness of how all the body parts are connected to each other
I broke my left rib and I thought I can still do regular activities on my right side, but things weren’t that simple. I came to realize how much the movement of my right side can effect my left side and the restriction of my left side can effect my right side. Fascia, muscles, tendons, ligaments… It's very interesting to realize how all the body parts are connected and how one simple movement or posture can be a workout for the whole body.
When I came to notice these two aspects of having a fractured rib, I felt deeper acceptance of the situation. The awareness and acceptance also brought different options I can chose from - different options of how to be with this injured body. I can chose to be bummed and depressed about the pain and restrictions, blame myself for not being careful enough, get bitter about medical bills, etc. Or, I can appreciate this opportunity to explore how I can slow down in my day to day life and be mindful of the physical sensations and emotional turmoils that I go through.
How would you chose to be with your body, when you have pain and/or restriction? Can you make a mindful choice?