We are going to take a break from the regularly scheduled programming of bones and ligaments to talk about our feelings, something we don’t often do in orthopedics and sports medicine. At Apex, we are committed to treating the whole patient, which includes mental health. We usually leave this up to our friends—the Primary Cares, Therapists, Counselors, and Psychiatrists—but we feel it is important to check in with you now.
During these troubling times, there is no right or wrong way to feel. Anxiety, fear, boredom, sadness, and some joy in spending more time with your family are all valid emotions. Yet one thing that we as a nation are collectively feeling is grief. You may be feeling grief over the loss of a senior year, graduation, and prom; grief at the loss of a wedding or family reunion; grief over missing relationships and more regular human contact; grief over postponed surgery you’ve been waiting for; and unfortunately, some of us are feeling grief over the loss of a loved one.
Although the world has temporarily changed, the uncertainty ahead makes it feel as if grief may be more of a permanent part of our daily lives. David Kessler co-wrote a book On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Losses, and in it he talks about anticipatory grief or the feeling we have when the future is uncertain. We are ALL there, and hopefully, the fact that we are all in it together, is somewhat comforting. The best way Kessler says to manage this is through acceptance. This means acknowledging the situation at hand and finding ways to control what we can. We can do this by adhering to social distancing, washing our hands, getting fresh air daily, maintaining a routine, etc.
Does acceptance mean you won’t have sudden bursts of emotion and cry because “The Office” has been on for 15 years and all the characters have aged, and that means you’ve also aged 15 years like I did yesterday? No, that will still probably happen. More than anything, we all need to exhibit compassion right now.
To all our athletes: We are so sorry your high school career ended without a chance to vie in a state championship. We’ve been cheering you on for years and when this is over, we’ll still be on the sideline cheering for you while keeping you in the best possible shape to compete.
To all our patients who were ready to have their surgeries and were looking forward to a pain-free spring: We’ll still be here when this passes and will support you through your surgery, rehab, and beyond. We’re excited to help you get back to all the activities you love!
We’re sorry to all the moms and dads who are now trying to fill the shoes of our teachers as we struggle to start virtual learning. We don’t know how to do common core math, either. To everyone in our community, we are here with you. We feel what you’re feeling. We look forward to the day we can safely welcome you back into our office and catch up on your athletic achievements, how your grandchildren are growing, your travels and triumphs and everything in between.