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And Just Like That… Sh*t Happens

On day 1 of my husband’s ski trip last week, he had a freak accident and tore the ACL in his right knee. Now he’s back home and we’ve had to re-orient our lives to address this unwelcome surprise.

Peter is in a brace until the swelling goes down enough for him to get the required surgery, likely in a few weeks. He’s had to cancel all travel, can’t exercise (his daily de-stressor), is sleeping poorly, and is parked on the couch icing and elevating his leg.

After feeling quite despondent, he’s making peace with this unlucky turn of events and putting on a brave face. He knows it could have been much worse and is grateful for the care and support he’s receiving.

Of course this affects me too. Besides playing nursemaid and chauffeur and attending solo to all things home and dog care, this puts a damper on our couple time, whether it’s date nights or long walks on the beach.

I’m also bummed I won’t have the “alone time” I enjoy when Peter travels. I have to admit I love having the house to myself for a few days each month to do as I please, whether it’s watching And Just Like That (the Sex and the City reboot) or eating crackers and cheese for dinner.

Thankfully, we have a wonderful community here in Sarasota, with many neighbors eager to help out. Peter’s mom is on call to come down and assist post surgery so I can take a weekend trip with one of my daughters. And we’ve got good friends visiting in a few weeks, which will be a much-needed boost for both of us.

This is not how we wanted 2022 to begin. But then again, such is life. There are no guarantees. One moment you think things are going well—or at least they’re stable. The next moment you’re handed some shitty news.

I’m not one for wallowing, not for long anyway. I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full, make-lemonade-out-of-lemons type of person. I ask questions like these: What is this moment meant to teach me? What is the opportunity here?

I’m still figuring out the answers given our new reality. There are two ideas that come to me. First, I feel a pull to create more “me time” that is not dependent on being alone in our house. Second, I’m leaning into gratitude for everything our bodies allow us to be and do—it’s so easy to take our health for granted! 

YOUR TURN: Have you had to face unwelcome  news? How did you cope? Was there an opportunity in the challenge? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Melissa Bowen

    oh I am so sorry Helene! 🙁 I sure hope he heals quickly and you can resume your regularly scheduled programming 😉

    I will say, when I get derailed in big or small ways, I try connect back to my “why”, any reason why I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I may need to adjust my actions to get to those feelings, but they are still there and valid. But when life changes our ability to do it HOW we originally planned, we can adjust how but still go for those things that we need.

    Blessings to you. I do hope you get create your quiet space when you need. Love to you!

    • Hélène

      Thanks so much Melissa. Good advice!!

  2. Gretchen Cherington

    ACL injuries are tough and I’m really sorry this happened, for both of you. You’re inspiring to so quickly lean into what you can learn and do differently BECAUSE of this uninvited accident. I’ve had some tough recoveries and diagnoses. Thankfully the village appears, you find new ways to have your couple time, and you do learn to appreciate how able bodied you both are. Lucky you to have a beach and hopefully Peter will learn to love crackers and cheese (or takeout) for dinner!

  3. Dora

    Caregiver burnout is real, so don’t forget to take breaks – even if it’s just going for a walk. Could you enjoy watching one of your shows at a friend’s house?

    One silver lining when my spouse was rehabilitating from an ankle injury was that we were the same speed for a while – we could enjoy bike rides and jogs together, and that type of togetherness was good.

    • Hélène

      Funny you should say that. I went into another room and watched a show while he was watching football the other day! And yes, maybe I’ll be able to keep up with him for a while during the rehab. Thanks!


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