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MY LEFT FOOT

Cindy Maddera

Years and years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I thought I wanted to be a doctor of medicine. I specify ‘of medicine’ here because you can be a doctor in just about anything. My friend Jeff has his PhD in Chemistry. When his dad was in the hospital, he introduced Jeff to his doctor as “his son Jeff. He’s a doctor.” This is something my dad would have totally done to me if I had continued my education. As it was, Dad treated me like a nurse practitioner, asking me all kinds of “what do you think this is on my arm?” kind of questions. The word ‘science’ is a very giant umbrella term that is confusing to some people. Any way…at one point I did think that I might end up in the medical field. That’s because this what all of my teachers and adults told me to do.

“Oh! You like science!?! You should be a physician.”

“You’ll make loads of money!”

I almost fell for it. I scored well on the MCAT.

If you ask me, one too many children were told to be medical doctors when they grew up because they would make a lot of money. I am so glad I recognized that I wanted nothing to do with potentially causing harm to another human before I waisted all of that time and money on medical school. I mean…I sometimes struggle with teaching yoga because I’m afraid I’m going to break a student. Despite my extensive knowledge in basic anatomy and molecular biology, I cannot read an X-ray of my own body. Case in point, when my GP called me on Monday to tell me my ankle was fractured, I saw that line across my medial malleolus and assumed that was the fracture she was talking about. The good news is that line is not a fracture. Which makes sense because that is not where my ankle hurts at all. The fracture is actually on the lateral malleolus and by fracture, we’re talking about a teeny tiny sliver of bone that was pulled off the tibia by ligaments when I injured my foot. The orthopedic doctor said that if I had come in two days after falling in the hole, he would have put me in a boot. Since it has been almost a month, it doesn’t really matter. He said to just keep it wrapped for a while. Take some Ibuprofen (fun fact: I say “I B profen” when I talk about Ibuprofen because I’m pretty sure that is how I heard it being pronounced for my entire life. My parents are from the south).

Any time I started talking about any part of this story to any one, I became filled with rage. Not the part where the orthopedic doctor told me to keep on keeping on. That’s great. But the part leading up to my orthopedics visit made me want to explode. My appointment with the GP was for 3:00 PM on Friday. I arrived fifteen minutes early. I waited in line at the reception desk for fifteen minutes. After checking in, I waited in the waiting room for an hour. Then I sat in the exam room for another thirty minutes before being sent to X-Ray. X-rays took another hour and I was the only person sitting in the waiting room. It all felt like a bit too much for an ankle that didn’t really hurt all that bad, an ankle I was still walking around on without a limp. Also, the referred orthopedic doctor couldn’t see me until at least sometime next week. The very idea of being hobbled with a boot sent me over the edge. I already feel like a fat cow. I’ve gotten on a doctor’s scale twice in the last three days and every time has been unpleasant. Now I was about to be put into a position where being active was going to be very difficult.

And I think that reason right there was the main source of my rage and frustration.

I listened to a meditation app focused on releasing frustration and anger while finishing up my yoga practice on Monday. The first thing the voice leading the meditation said was to not punish or shame yourself for your frustrations and anger, but look for the source of it. The source of my anger and frustration was not from the hours I sat around waiting to see a doctor or the inadequate healthcare. Though all of that is well worth some wrath. The source of my frustration and anger was from a loss of activity. More accurately, a loss of choice to be active. And you know what? I really like that part about not punishing or shaming myself for being frustrated over a loss of choice because anger and frustration are valid feelings and I allowed myself to be angry over all of it. I yelled and I vented and I declared it all to be so stupid. Then I took some deep breaths and started thinking of ways to move around with a boot on my foot. I started to plan out how to teach a yoga class with a boot on my foot. I mentally practiced what it was going to be like to ride a scooter with a boot on my foot. I thought about solutions for the actual source of my anger.

And in the end, everything turned out to be just fine.

Just for the record, this means that I did 108 Sun Salutations with a fractured ankle. Like a Boss!