The road back | AspenTimes.com

The road back

Paul E. Anna

Nobody wants to get artho-ed, cut, or micro-fractured.But in our active community of aging citizens, it seems that there are more busted wheels and bum wings than should rightfully be the case. We are, after all, amongst the healthiest communities in America, with young and old alike eating right and exercising far beyond the guidelines provided by the federal government.But precisely because of our outgoing and aggressive nature, we tend to get more knee, ankle, elbow and wrist injuries than the rest of the population. That’s why the job description of orthopedic surgeon ranks second only to dirt pimp in terms of overall numbers. I made that up, but it sure seems plausible.Let’s face it, injuries suck.But for some, nay, many, there is a silver lining in coming out the other side of an orthopedic injury. Not only does the injury get fixed (generally) but there is the enlightening, illuminating, and some say empowering experience of rehabilitation.You may say that’s a stretch, but how many people do you know in this town who have embraced the rehab process only to return to the slopes or the ice or the trails stronger and better than ever?It seems that people who have undergone a joint invasion take one of two courses. Either they sulk and moan and slack off in their recovery, pretty much guaranteeing a longer and less successful return, or they leap into the sometimes painful, sometimes difficult world of rehab with a passion. Those who take the latter course inevitably have a better outcome than those who wallow in the first.Rehab is obviously about strengthening and repairing the injured appendage. But it can bring a multitude of other positive benefits to bear as well. For some, it provides a scheduled, directed workout, one that has a specific timetable and goal. It can provide a free spirit with a disciplined approach to physical activity.For others, it provides a challenge with a hard-to-reach but achievable outcome. And for others still, rehabbing can be a social experience, taking you three times a week or more into a world where people who are healers toil daily in helping others rise again from their broken state. How many of us have heard the praises sung of Saint Fabrocini and the staff at the Aspen Club by recently rehabilitated skiers on Aspen Mountain?Yes, nobody wants to get hurt. But if you do, keep your spirits and head up, and know that with proper care and a solid rehabilitation plan you can get back to being the best you can be.

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