Saturday, March 15, 2014

Adventures in Healing: It Should Have Happened Then

It was a warm spring day in 1994, in a small town in Washington. I was in ninth grade, second period P.E., running to first base after I swung the bat and actually connected with the ball. I knew how to play baseball, both my brothers were on teams and I was their scorekeeper. I KNEW baseball and I knew how to play, hitting the ball was an added bonus. My eyes were on the ball as I watched it fly past the second baseman and I knew I could still make it to first. My left foot hit the base as I attempted to round it and run for second, when my ankle snapped and down I went. That was the first time I had an ankle injury. Our P.E. teacher had to carry me off the field and did his best to convince me to go to the nurses office, but I told him no.

"I'm fine, it's not a big deal. It just hurts a little," I told him. Besides, I'm pretty sure I had some big test that day, or something, that I just couldn't miss. I had also been told by my mom that I had to stop crying wolf every time something happened to me. I was, as they still call me, the drama queen.

My left ankle swelled up to the size of the baseball I'd hit earlier, and I took off my shoe and continued throughout the day hopping on my right foot. I hopped from class to class with a shoe in one hand and my backpack slung from my shoulder. Eventually, someone (I can't remember who) convinced me to go to the nurses office and they immediately called my mom. She arrived, looked at my ankle and asked why I didn't call her sooner. I looked at her with knowing eyes that said, "because you told me not to," but all I said was, "I didn't think it was that big of a deal."

It turned out that I had strained my ankle and tore some ligaments. They put me in an air cast that I had to wear for a few weeks and crutches. I felt pretty cool and it was especially awesome that I got to skip out on P.E. That was always my least favorite subject. It was then, back in good old 1994, that I should have broken my ankle. It was then, that I should have had to deal with all the bullshit that comes with healing from something like this.

I was young, I lived across the street from my junior high school, I would have healed a lot faster, and I was incapable of gaining weight. There, I said it. Due to my inactivity, I am gaining weight and it's pissing me off. I ran not only because I enjoyed it, but to stay in shape. I can still lift weights, but it's the cardio that really keeps me going. I've started taking a water fitness class twice a week, which is really good for physical therapy and for activity, but it's not running. Each class is an hour long and if I weren't in the water I'm sure I'd be sweating. It's hard work and I really enjoy it, and it is helping to keep the weight in check, but I just can't shake the fact that I'm in my 30's and this injury is really weighing on me. (heheh, that was not intentional.)

If I had broken my ankle 20 years ago, I probably also wouldn't be dealing with the issues I'm having with my Achilles Tendon. I asked my physical therapist if I'm progress at a "normal" rate, or at least as well as someone in my condition should be. She told me that for the most part, I'm progressing just fine, but my Achilles Tendon should have been stretched out weeks ago. If I'm standing, I can't bend my knee - that's how tight my Achilles Tendon is. It is crazy how everything in the body is connected and this one THING can prevent your entire leg from moving correctly.

Things are progressing, but I bet that if this had happened when I was 14, not 33, I'd be a lot further along. If there's one thing that incident in ninth grade did prepare me for, it's that I know when an ankle is just strained and I know when it is broken. It was definitely broken this time and I didn't wait to see a nurse, but I did wait to call my mom until after I was out of the ER and high as a kite off of morphine. That was a fun phone call, right before I puked in the car.