Friday, July 25, 2008

Pay Attention to Warning Signs

Why is it that we can sometimes ignore obvious warning signs and get ourselves into trouble?

Recently, I have been very focused on getting my garden 'whipped into shape.' I've been weeding and pruning like crazy. I had a deadline set for myself to reach a certain milestone by July 18th. I put in a lot of extra hours in the two weeks prior to my 'drop dead' date.

My right forearm and elbow started to hurt a lot about one week into my intense work period. I was so determined to meet my milestone, I kept working despite increasing pain. At one point, I was using clippers, braced against the ground because the pain was so intense when I would squeeze the clipper handles. I had to use the ground to get enough leverage to make the cut!

For the past week, I've been in pain, pretty much all the time. It gets much worse when I try to lift any weight with my right arm. After seeing my physical therapist today, turns out I injured a pretty important tendon. I have 'tennis elbow' or in other words, a type of tendonitis, caused by overuse. This particular injury takes a lot of time to heal because this area of the arm is used so heavily in ordinary activities. Giving it a complete rest is actually quite difficult.

Several people told me to take it easy when I was working so hard in the garden (and was also complaining about my elbow and arm pain). Yet, I continued to push through the intensifying pain and work.

My body was sending me clear messages that I was exceeding my limitations, yet I chose to ignore those messages.

When we ignore warning signs, we often have a price to pay. Let's call it tuition in the school of life. I'm paying my tuition now through the inconvenience of having a persistent, nagging injury. I'll recover, but I'm hopeful that next time my body is screaming at me, I'll listen!

Warning signs are there for a reason. Paying attention to the signs can save us a lot of trouble!

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