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(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2013 Christiana Lambert

As your kids grow—even when they aren’t away from home—you know less and less about their lives—as is right. You see some of their successes as well as their fumblings, but you often don’t spend a lot of time with them.

When you notice them moving in a good direction, you cheer the possibilities. Like me, my son gets great benefit from physical activities, and I’ve enjoyed watching his growth—both physical and mental—from his participation in martial arts over the last several months. Thanks to this practice, we’ve seen less and less of him around our home lately.

That is, until last month, when his head got injured at work. Since then he’s had to take a hiatus from the physical aspects of his martial arts, as well as from his sometime weekend gig as well as from working full days at his regular job.

The news is full of the long-term effects from head injuries these days with more information available about the difficulties all levels of athletes are experiencing from previous concussions. I was raised by a mother who had a head injury with effects that lingered for her lifetime so I do understand many of the concerns surrounding the distant future.

But what I didn’t understand was just how much a seemingly minor head injury affects someone in the short term.

My son is receiving care under Worker’s Compensation for his injury. At first he was released to full-time work but with physical reductions. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that focusing at work for the normal time period led to excruciating headaches that chased him into a dark room post-work. His maximum allowed work hours were reduced to five a day.

Although he feels much better with more rest, he is not healed and it is not clear how long it will be until he is. He is so frustrated that he can neither perform to his own standards at work nor do the activities he likes, such as the martial arts and snow skiing. Plus, he feels the clock ticking as work and friends wonder why he isn’t better yet. Trust me, so does he.

He is being seen by medical professionals who are searching for that answer. Despite what some have said, I’m not cynical enough to believe they would drag out the process just to make money. That doctor’s office today was plenty busy with people who were there on private insurance. In fact, if I’m cynical at all, it’s because some people I know have received sub-standard care from worker’s comp providers. So far I don’t feel that either case is true for him.

I hate being so aware of the costs for this—I know that workplace injuries like this can drive up premiums for small businesses. If I could I would have suggested he receive care all along on our insurance to avoid all that—but that’s not how the systems function. He didn’t get hurt doing martial arts or putting up Christmas lights at home or walking down the street, for that matter—he got hurt while doing his job, working a position that is physical enough to have some risk of workplace injuries.

All I know is he’d rather be working full-time and continuing his moonlighting position and growing in his martial arts and going skiing with us and just living his everyday life. Instead, he’s had rest imposed on him—which is tough at any age, let alone at 22.

My mother’s heart hurts that he has to put his life on hold and that his body has been damaged. “Stuff” happens in everyone’s lives but that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to someone you love.

He’s young and time is on his side, but, for now, time is moving way too slowly for him. As my mother-in-law always says during tough times, this too shall pass. Guess we’ll just have to enjoy how his slowed down pace gives us more time to pass with him.

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(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Today I’m not going exercise class. Nope, I’m sitting at the computer wearing non-exercise clothes at noon on a workout day—and that’s OK.

Last week my exercise specialist and I had a big conversation about how little progress I was seeing from all their prescribed exercises—an hour a day!—as well as my usual classes and runs. I was tired as well as a little bit bored from all that work.

This time when she suggested a week off I did not protest. She thought that maybe the muscles we were trying to strengthen were in fact being overused at the same time.

All I know is that for all my effort, I wasn’t gaining enough.

After she conferred with the chiropractor, the two of them agreed that for this week I should walk or hike—while wearing my trochanter belt again—and stretch only.

Those instructions worked well with my travel plans anyway—as long as I could start after one more pre-road trip yoga class. While it’s good to have focused stretching the day before you set out, the day you spend six and a half hours in a car is a great day for light stretching without any extra exercise.

The exercise reduction was especially good timing since we had mini-road trips planned to get and return Christiana so she could go see her brother’s performance in Durango also, as well as visit with friends.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Wasn’t sure if Mother Nature would cooperate for the hike Sherman and I planned the morning after the play, but boy did she. Saturday dawned with just the sort of perfect October weather we had experienced when we had gotten married twenty-three years earlier. Whenever we can, we hike to celebrate the day. Was glad to know I had doctor’s orders to do so this year!

Despite using the stretching tools I’d brought—the foam roller, exercise bands, and tennis ball—I felt no different than usual. Then again, I felt no worse even though I’d sat in a car for way too long.

Another long car ride and a night of sleep, off we drove to take Christiana back to her new home. First, however, we went on another hike, this time outside of where she lives now.

Several hours later, Sherman and I returned, exhausted from our travels. Wasn’t until it got closer to bedtime that I realized I wasn’t really hurting. Not from hiking, not from riding in a car, not from just living.

Hmm. Maybe we’re on to something.

So I here I sit—will see what happens next week when I get back to work. A week’s break is nice, but two? I don’t think so!

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