Subtracting Insult from Injury

Instead of adding insult to injury, I’ve been learning to subtract. Three weeks ago I broke my collarbone in the middle of the night on Day 2 of a long-anticipated tropical vacation with my husband. I slid on some slippery Mexican tile and catapulted down three steps to land on my collar bone. At three a.m. on a Sunday morning. The story of How I Spent My Vacation starts with that event, with riding a ferry from the island to a hospital and harnessing myself into a splint for the next two weeks.

And it goes on from there. So much for the plan to kayak. Bike. Hike. All gone.

Much of the trip I experienced a low level of pain. My patient husband had signed up to assist me in the night as I tried to find comfort. I was pretty convinced that this injury was a big problem. On many levels this was true. In its disappointment, my mind rehearsed all the reasons this was true.

Again and again.

But what I noticed was this: every time I argued with the reality of the broken bone, I experienced the Injury PLUS the Insult.

“I was clumsy.”

“I wrecked the vacation.”

“My body is a wreck.”

“I never get a break.” (Seriously. No pun intended. That was one of my theme songs.)

At some point I got so tired of this recurring belief that I started laughing (without jolting the upper body).

I was getting a break.

All around me was sun, ocean, warm weather, a wealth of ancient history. There were chairs to sit on that allowed me to recline.

Beds and pillows where I needed to be prone.

Nothing to do but heal. Take a break. Relax.

Without the insults, I could handle the injury. In fact, there were some advantages. When I let myself off the hook.

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