As women entrepreneurs, we have trained ourselves to organize and maximize every moment of our waking time. Our work and personal lives are tightly integrated. There is no allowance for slippage of any sort: not sickness, mechanical failure or personal accident. What a shock it was to learn that accidents do happen and that sometimes they happen to me!
That was the first lesson. One cold April evening, I slipped and fell on my outstretched right arm and sustained a nasty fracture of my distal radius. Surgery and a lesson in humility were in my future. For six weeks, I was unable to use my very dominant right hand, at all. Everything was a challenge and many things were undoable.
Recovering from an injury is a process. Here are my observations.
Be thankful for the small things.
In the beginning, getting dressed was painful. My wardrobe was limited to yoga pants, Velcro shoes and my son’s shirts. Grooming was difficult. Small things helped: dental floss picks, an electric toothbrush, baby wipes, pump bottles for lotions, wash and wear hair. With these aids, typing, eating, dressing and drinking all became easier over time. My left hand got the workout of its lifetime. I sign the cheques at the clinic and my leftie signature was almost recognizable at the end.
I received wonderful medical care. From admittance to emergency through to the follow-up appointments after surgery, everyone treated me with the utmost professionalism. This isn’t a small thing; but I really appreciate universal medical care.
Thank the important people in your life.
Everyone stepped up to help. My family picked up the slack at home: cooking cleaning, chauffeuring, doing laundry. Friends called and dropped by to lift my spirits with conversation, coffee, and walks. Complete strangers stopped to hold doors and share a kind word. The team at the clinic really worked together. Entrepreneurs are often problem solvers and being on the receiving end of assistance was an adjustment. Noticing, accepting and expressing thanks for these gifts of friendship, experiences and kindness are part of practicing gratitude that made each day brighter.
Trust that the work will be done.
At work, our amazing team filled in the gaps and kept me informed. Our clients continued to receive excellent care. Over the past year, the Clinic has refined and streamlined many of our fundamental office procedures from client intake to billing to ordering of supplies. Those efforts paid off big time during my absence as the work of the clinic marched on smoothly.
Be proactive about your health.
As luck would have it, I co-own a physiotherapy and wellness clinic, Avalon Laser Health. During six years of operation, I’ve learned that, “A stitch in time saves nine,” is a truism when it comes to health. Early treatment equals faster recovery.
As result, wrist therapy started immediately, the day a wrist brace replaced the slab cast. The Clinic physiotherapist recommended simple movements to mobilize the joints and laser therapy three times weekly. We call laser therapy “The Laser Advantage” because of its healing effects that: reduce pain, inflammation and accelerate healing. So far, the wrist recovery is excellent: minimal scar, no bruising and wrist function increases daily
Getting well requires time and effort. Healing from wrist surgery can take from one to two years. Making the commitment to see the process through to the end is required to achieve optimal results. Some of us need a goal and my intention is to do a full plank in 2016. Now that I’ve shared that dream, you can hold me accountable.
Reflect Refocus Rebalance …
This unplanned break brought all normal activities to a standstill. The resulting quiet offered the opportunity to focus on business, life, health and family. I’ve used the time to listen to webinars, analyze the clinic operation, revisit the business vision and prioritize goals both personal and business. The experience has resulted in a repositioning of the business and rebalancing of goals. With renewed vision and balance, we’re moving forward. This break was good for me!
A final word
Healing from injury is a normal, human condition. Being a woman entrepreneur adds a level of responsibility to those you hold dear, your employees, and the business. This experience drilled two powerful truths into my psyche.
- Get your business ready. Streamline all business processes so that if necessary, you can walk away for a month or longer without notice and the work will be done. The ability of your business to survive may depend on that level of accountability.
- Make time to step away from your business and revisit business dreams. To be a leader requires a vision and that creative side of a successful business needs sustenance. Create the time.
Clare Barry, BA, B.Ed., M.Ed. is manager of Avalon Laser Health, a multidisciplinary health clinic that specializes in the treatment of acute and chronic pain. She is inspired by a passion for health and wellness and humbled by tenacity of patients who overcome great obstacles to live life fully – without pain.