Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mind over Matter

Years ago when I was running consistently, I bought a road of bracelet.  (It is an armband/ankle band that has your identifying information on it should someone find you  unable to communicate while you are out biking or running). Mine had my name and contact info on it...and I also put the phrase  ‘mind over Matter’ on it.  For me it meant that my body would be telling me that I was dying and my body would be telling me that I couldn’t do it....but if I put my mind to the task then I could accomplish unimaginable goals!   It worked for me...and I latched onto that phrase for quite a while.  But eventually my focus shifted and I forgot the phrase...until recently.  Recently I had my eyes opened to how much power the mind really does have when it comes to attaining seemingly hard to reach and even unattainable goals.

 I have the best brother in the whole wide world.   Growing up, sure we fought (like cats and dogs my mom may say) but I have many memories of amazing times with him. You see, I had a brother that played with me.  He played restaurant with me (yeah...I had a kitchen set and since my grandmother owned a restaurant, we used to pretend we owned a restaurant!)...he was willing to play something more ‘girlie’ with me....but then on the flip side, I played army men with him....I had my own collection of matchbox cars that I pulled out to play with when I wanted to join him in his play.   Growing up, he really was my best friend.   We have grown up and while life keeps us busy and running in opposite directions...I know my brother still loves me just as much as I love him....and I know he would raise an army for me if I needed it.  I just wanted to share about my amazing brother before I wrote and share the story about him!

About two or three months ago (on Labor Day to be exact) my brother was out riding his bike.  My brother rides road bikes...a LOT so this is not uncommon.  He was riding with a group of people. They actually got off the road and onto a rail trail for something a bit different.  My brother was second in line.  The person that was leading the group had an accident (from what I was told he hit something and lost his grip on the handlebars and went down).  Going the speed they were going (probably about 20 -25 mph) and being only inches off of the lead persons wheel, my brother couldn’t avoid it...he ended up crashing. It was bad...bad enough that he had to take a ride in an ambulance to the local hospital....and from there he took another ambulance ride to a hospital in Baltimore (70 miles away) for a specialist.  Why the extra ride?  He broke his pelvis and it would require surgery (and a more delicate surgery due to where the break was located).  He was in the hospital for a few days, had the surgery and added some hardware to his body (screws and I think a plate) and then came home.  I am a google I researched his injury, surgery and recovery.  6 months if someone is lucky...but usually closer to a year.  Wow...that was a tough pill to swallow for me, and I worried about my brother.   But, here is where mind over matter comes into play.

As the week in the hospital unfolded we were told that he wouldn’t be able to put any weight on that side of his body for a few weeks....but that soon changed to crutches and minimal weight.  I don’t know if the doctor sensed his drive, but even that soon changed to ‘use the walking assistance as needed’. He was sent home from the hospital with crutches (he declined the walker as that seemed like an old person’s option...and he said a cane seemed too permanent).  

Jason and I stopped by for a visit sometime within the first week of him getting home. We knocked on the door and my jaw dropped brother answered the door...walking on his own two feet...unassisted!  Yeah, he had a limp but where were the crutches?  They were in a corner in the other room.  The doctor said as needed...and he didn’t need them...not at that moment for short walks and jaunts.   Somewhere in those first two weeks I was talking to my mom and she mentioned that one of my brothers first forays into the world after getting home was to drive to the bike shop.  You see, he had pulled the trigger on a new bike a day or two before his accident.  He had to go to the bike shop to check out his new baby.  They has put the build on hold because they knew the extent of his injury....and my brother had to go to get them working again...and to see his buddies!

I saw my brother  again two weeks to the day after the accident and a week and a half after the surgery.  He was walking most of the time unassisted.  And he said this to me.  ‘They tell me that the average recovery time is a year.  A year recovery time is unacceptable’.  Unacceptable?  I wanted to look at him and say ‘sorry big brother but this is NOT something you have control over’. But I didn’t. He started to talk about getting back on a bike...his indoor bike.  And when he went to his first follow up appointment the next day he was cleared for 15 minute rides on the indoor bike...low resistance.  Let me say it again...two weeks and 1 day after the accident (or to make it sound  even more amazing...1 week and 5 days after surgery) my brother was on his indoor bike trainer riding!

My brother picked up his new bike...and he rode it around the block!  And then came the day.....right around the two month mark that I was talking to my mom and brother on the phone (hey I call mom and talk to her during my commute home from work each Tuesday and Thursday...she puts the phone on speaker phone and I talk to whomeever is visiting her also...yes I’m hands free also!!). I heard the news.  My brother had been riding outside...each day that week...about 25 miles .  That’s 25 miles each ride...not an accumulation of miles.  Not his new bike...he was riding his old bike just because he knows how it handles and how it feels...feels more safe to be on a bike that he knows...and as he said he didn’t even have bottle cages on the new bike yet.   But I noticed over thanksgiving while I was feeding his cat...and I was checking out his new bike...cuz that’s what a good sister does (and let me tell you..his new bike is SHARP looking...) but I noticed that he is gearing it now had bottle cages!  Apparently two weeks after starting to ride, the doctor ok’d him to ride he isn’t doing anything harmful..just maybe a bit earlier than the doctor may have wanted (of course some of that could be because he doesn’t see the doctor all that often...and I’m sure he probably spoke of it to his physical therapists). 

A year was unacceptable....his mind made that proclamation.  And he had ignored all the ‘year recovery’ babble.  He decided to forge his own recovery. And it is amazing to see. I can well imagine that there are people (even people younger than my brother...he will be 50 in March) who had the same or similar surgery and at two months in are still walking using crutches 100% of the time. I’m not downing them...their minds haven’t declared the prescribed recovery time as unacceptable!  (My brother wanted to be back on his bike badly...and the business he owns is  very physical as he builds the most incredible furniture and he needs to be back to 100% for that also).

Mind over matter!  Put your mind to something and you can achieve the most amazing results.....against all odds!!!