At the time, we were getting ready to remodel our kitchen. As I kissed Dave goodbye, I promised him that I’d have most of the kitchen packed up and ready to go by the time he got back at the end of a week. Optimistically, I started the process that evening by removing artwork, which included the basket from the stairs.
I sat there for a minute or two, assessing the situation like any good Alexander Technique teacher would do. Was I breathing? Yes. Let’s calm down a bit before we try to stand up. Ok. Was there anything broken? Well, I don’t think so. My legs are fine. Then I stood up, my feet on the kitchen floor below. Wow. My pelvis hurt. A lot. I made my way to the freezer and found an ice pack and shoved it down the back of my pants. Better. What to do now? It’s after midnight. I don’t want to go to the emergency room at midnight. It’s going to be crazy over there and I just want to sleep. I know! Call the doctor now, let her know what’s going on, and then try sleeping until morning. Great plan. The doctor said, “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the ER now?” I told her I was going to try to sleep and see her in the morning.
It was all fine until I tried to take my pants off. I couldn’t do it. The pain was too intense. Totally in shock, I got myself slowly out to my car and drove myself to the emergency room. Once there, I couldn’t sit down any longer, so I stood for about 90 minutes with the ice pack still in my pants until they could see me. A series of x-rays showed that I had dislocated my tailbone and fractured S3, one of the bones in the sacrum. They basically couldn’t do much for either thing, so they sent me home and gave me a prescription for painkillers. I don’t know how I did it, but I drove home. On the way I called my friend Janet, a night owl, to tell her what had happened. She said she’d rally the troops in the morning to come take care of me, and she did. Look at that – I asked for help, and within a day the word spread so quickly that friends came over from far and wide and packed my kitchen for me, in addition to feeding me and keeping me drugged and loopy until Dave got home. (After the kitchen remodel, it was such fun unpacking all those boxes that friends had packed! I had no idea where anything was. It was like a treasure hunt.) You can imagine Dave’s dismay at getting this news upon landing in South Africa 20 hours later. Poor guy. He did cut his trip shorter than originally planned to get home again.
The recovery from this particular injury was longer and harder than any other injury I’ve had, and I couldn’t do it alone. I was in PT for months. I found a chiropractor up in Virginia who finally figured out that my spine completely jammed upwards when I landed, taking all my organs with it. He relocated my tailbone for me, ending months of pain. My pelvic floor was locked and a PT specialist released that. A craniosacral therapist friend helped me realign my sphenoid and the bones on the roof of my mouth. I am so grateful to each and every one of those healers, and others who tried to help me along the way. It was a good three years before I started to feel like myself, and just 6 months ago I went back to a challenging fitness class in the gym for the first time. In all of that recovery period, I had to use every resource I had as an Alexander Teacher to learn to trust my body again. It was a revelation to have an Alexander Lesson a year after the injury and have the teacher show me that I still wasn’t sitting fully on my sit bones.
I’ve had my fair share of injuries in this lifetime, and I know what it feels like to not trust parts of your own body to work again. I know what it’s like to experience fear, and to not believe your physical therapist when they tell you that you have your range of motion back. And so one of the things I specialize in and enjoy most is working with people after they have finished their PT. I love to help people come to grips with those fears, to understand their initial reaction of holding and gripping, and then to learn to thank that for showing up and let it go. It brings me great joy to assist people in their self-discovery and to be with them to witness their pleasure in finding themselves whole again.
When considering types of bodywork, most people begin by looking for help that gives them a one-time "fix" and sends them on their way. You have the choice to instead ask for help from someone who can meet you gently where you are now, and through the process give you back the gift of your whole self. You won’t just heal - you will grow.With Alexander Technique you will, like me, learn the tools to understand the power of habit in your life.