An inevitable moment

Strategies for dealing with an injury
by Matan Levkowich

Last week I had an accident with my surfskate. I was riding in Neubaugasse on my way to teach an evening class. I was riding pretty slow and was contemplating several ideas I had for the class I was about to be teaching. Suddenly I was thrown forward off my board. I reached with my arms to break the fall and ended up on my back after doing light side roll.

While standing up, I felt quite a strong pain in my right hand. I looked at it and saw that my ring finger doesn’t look good. The proximal Inter Phalangeal joint was dislocated. It was quite a disturbing sight and it shook me pretty hard. Few kind people helped me to sit down on a bench, they called an ambulance and waited with me until it arrived.

It was the first time in my life that I experienced a structural damage to my body. It was a new experience - looking at my hand, not knowing exactly what just happened to it and what the outcome of this injury might be. And as I was waiting for the ambulance, the pain started to kick in.

The Ambulance arrived and the medics helped me to get inside. On the way to the hospital, I tried to use all the tools that I have learnt during the last decade to help myself to deal with the situation - I tried to calm my breath, observe my internal experience, shift my attention away from thoughts, worries and other distractions. Be present with the reality that I was experiencing.

It wasn’t easy to stay present during the ride - passively being transferred to an unknown destination while not being able to move at all. When we arrived to the hospital, we went into the emergency room and while waiting to hospital staff to look at my case, there was more space to take independent decision. So I went to the side, I closed my eye and started to shake gently and to let my body move in a somewhat spontaneous and free way. I shifted my focus between my breath and the different sensations in my body.

I gave myself the permission to dive into my inner world - To ignore the fact that some people were watching me and wondering what am I doing, and to simply be myself and follow my body’s intuition about what’s best for me right now. It really helped me to reduce the intensity of the pain, to calm my mind and to gain a more relaxed perspective on the whole situation - I was actually pretty fine, nothing catastrophic happened to me.

I was in the hospital for about an hour and a half before I was released back home.Altogether, this experience was very positive. A good reminder to the fragility of the body, to the ‘randomness’ of the moment, to the power of the body to bring your mind into the present moment and to the fact that I am a very lucky man - with a healthy body and a pretty stable life.

I am now slowly starting a rehub process for the entire hand which became pretty swollen. Slowly and patiently my body will heal itself. I have already been in two jams and can move relatively freely.

I am happy for that I went through this experience. I hope that next time when I have to confront a situation where my body is not under my control, my spirit will be stronger and more stable so I can ride smoothly the waves of life…

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Photo by Christian Ariel Heredia