“Injuries obviously change the way you approach the game.” ~Brett Favre
I’ve watched the Olympics everyday, all day, with my leg raised and my knee iced and compressed. You see, I have my first sport related injury. That is, if you can call chasing my dog in flip-flops a sport.
I hyperextended my knee as I twisted my leg with my foot implanted in the sand. POP! And I fell to the ground in agony. Ron and Jose carried me back to the house and Lourdes ran to find Capitan (Cappy) who likes to run through the holes in the fence and visit the neighbor’s cows and dogs.
Meanwhile, I howled in pain when they plopped me on my couch and I couldn’t move my leg. Ron wrapped my knee, elevated it, and iced it immediately. But, what was the problem and how do I get to the mainland to get a MRI?
My first mistake was using Dr. Google to diagnose the knee problem. It could be a meniscus tear, or an ACL tear, or a sprained knee. The more I read, the more anxious I became. I couldn’t walk and the pain was excruciating.
“Ron, I have to go to the bathroom,” I shouted. He tried to support me and I attempted to hop, but every hop jarred my bad knee. Then it dawned on me! My wheelie office chair. Perfect!
The day after my knee injury, I called a sobador to come to my house to look at my knee. A Nicaraguan sobador is a healer who works on the material level and specializes in the treatment of sore muscles and sprains, and deep muscle massage. Sobadores are traditionally used by many Nicaraguans as a form of alternative medicine. They are a mix of traditional healers and chiropractors who blend their self-taught knowledge of the human body with faith and traditional herbal remedies.
Don Ebierto is a well-known sobador on Ometepe Island. He is respected for his knowledge of the human body and his ability to reset broken bones, massage sore muscles, and set dislocated joints. He doesn’t live very far away, so I called him and he came immediately.
I was apprehensive about calling a sobador mainly because I have little experience with natural healers. Most of my life I have relied on medical doctors, although fortunately the only medical emergency I ever had was an emergency appendectomy. I’ve never broken a bone or sprained or strained a joint. Amazing, right?
This photo is after the treatment. When Don Ebierto arrived, I explained how my knee injury happened, my symptoms, and the information I received from Dr, Google. He just looked at me and smiled. He ran his magic hands up and down my leg after applying salve, felt tenderly around my ankle, and probed every part of my kneecap with his fingers.
“I have to realign your kneecap,” he responded. He explained that I had a very weak ankle that probably contributed to a partial dislocation of my kneecap. OMG!! He directed Ron to hold my shoulders, my neighbor to hold my arm, and he positioned himself in front of me and pulled and twisted my leg back into the proper alignment.
I almost passed out! The pain was excruciating. I imagined myself as a Civil War soldier whose leg had to be amputated with a swig of whisky as the only pain relief. I guess it was a quick procedure, but I screamed bloody hell. I told Don Ebierto it was worse than natural childbirth. He laughed. Not me.
After it was realigned, I felt instant relief. He massaged my leg, wrapped my ankle and my knee and told me to rest and elevate it for two days and take ibuprofen for pain relief. Then, he would return to check my leg and prescribe exercises for me to gradually strengthen the muscles and ligaments and I could begin to put weight on my injured leg.
While I was panting in relief, he worked on Ron’s old hip injury.
Don Ebierto has many years of experience. He massaged and healed a hand tendon injury of a nurse expat friend of mine. He is the sobador for a local baseball team and tends to their arm injuries. He says he has received a gift of healing from God…and I believe him. Dr. Tabatha, a homeopathic doctor with a clinic on Ometepe Island, says he is very famous and the best sobador on the island. In fact, he is the padrino, godfather, of her Nicaraguan husband.
Meanwhile, I roll around on my wheelie office chair like a pro. It could be a new sport in the Olympics! I start using crutches tomorrow and have started light leg exercises to strengthen my ligaments and legs.
What have I learned from this experience?
1. I have learned to let go. So what if my house is dirty and my bed is unmade!
2. I learned that a good sobador is better than using Dr. Google to diagnose and treat joint injuries.
3. I learned that I cannot ever wear flip-flops again. They are dangerous and probably contributed to my weak ankle. I need strong ankle support.
4. I learned that there are many helpful friends and neighbors who sent meals, lent me crutches, and encouraged me to think positively and be kind and patient with myself.
5. I learned that I am a strong, determined woman. I have a goal to recover, but it needs to be gradual.
6. I learned “No pain, no gain.” It is important to begin to strengthen muscles and joint injuries almost immediately because if I wait too long and baby the injury, my healing process will take longer.
7. Most importantly, I learned that I have a loving, caring husband who pushes me gently to improve daily. What would I ever do without him?
I asked Don Ebierto how much we owed him for his treatments. He said, 150c, which is about 4 dollars. We gave him 200c gleefully. My goal is to be healed in 3-5 weeks. With the expert treatment from Don Ebierto, exercise, and supportive shoes, I have no doubt that I will be a stronger person. If not, then I will at least be able to walk with crutches and go to Vivian Pellas in Managua for a MRI.
My experience with a sobador was game changing! I won’t be chasing my dog anymore, either. That’s for sure. 🙂
What are your experiences with a healer or a sobador?