I fractured the humerus bone (the big bone in my arm – between the elbow and the shoulder — four months ago at the point where it meets the upper extremity (rotator cuff) .Â This happened on April 19th after I fell from a standing position.Â It’s been a hard road comingÂ back. I haven’t returned yet, by any stretch – literally!Â But the inkling that I got as I started the endless stream of exercises required to remove the ‘frozen shoulder’ condition from wearing a sling for several weeks is that — if you make it personal — it helps.
My brother Frank was a great basketball player.Â He didn’t think he was any good,Â but Joe Lapchick at St. John’sÂ University sure did. He put him on the team. Â My brother died in 1995, but the memory that always sticks is how he played basketball for hours and hours in the patio of our house on Long Island after school.Â I used to listen to him from my bedroom, and all I heard was the constant bounce of him dribbling the ball against the concrete.Â There was a comfort in listening to it – like he was just preparing for the next shot, and it was going to be good!
I still hear him dribbling that ball.Â And now I’m applying his practice to my arm exercises.Â Now I just think of Frank out there dribbling that ball and I’m dribbling an invisible ball with my injured arm. It helps quite a bit because I’m no longer thinking that I have to do this 20 times to fulfill a physical therapist’s mandate; I’m following the rhythm that has been living in my mind for years. It’s an even, stable rhythm, and it’s just what I need right now.
I’m not demeaning the excellent exercises offered by physical therapists – I do them constantly. I’m just suggesting that it’s also possible to open the mindÂ to memories of how you and your loved ones have successfully nourished their own bodies, and continue to gain that nourishment, even if those loved ones are only alive in spirit.Â The spirit trulyÂ lives on!
Thanks to Frank for this basketball mantra!