Monday, February 27, 2012

The Valley of the Handicapped

Last week, I traveled to a certain valley. Most of us will visit this valley at some point in our lives. An unlucky few will go there and never return.

It is the Valley of the Handicapped.

On Friday, February 17th, I performed thirty deadlifts (3 sets of 10) with eight-pound dumbbells. I felt a little sore afterwards, but not too much. I had done a dance workout earlier (I think it was Soul Sweat with Chantal Pierrat - FYI, an excellent dance workout), and I wanted to augment the workout with weights at the end.

During the following weekend (which was Presidents’ Day weekend), I still felt sore and had other things to do, so I didn’t exercise on Saturday or Sunday. On Monday, I thought it was high time for a workout, so I did a Prevention walking video in the morning.

Tuesday was when the problems started. Sharp pain would bite me in the side like a hungry animal. I was unable to stand up straight. Two Dogs and I had planned to go to a friend’s house to jam and do laundry (guess which one jams and which one does laundry), but he called to postpone.

Wednesday I felt a little better – enough to go out to get Chinese food for ourselves and our guests. But that was all I did. My injury not only took away walking, but errands and using my desktop. My only Internet access was on my smartphone. (First World problems.)

Thursday it got so bad that I called our family doctor, and Two Dogs drove me to the office (fortunately, not so far away). My doctor prescribed two painkillers, ice, and heat. I spent most of the rest of the day in bed – which I felt ambivalent about. On the one hand, this is one of my favorite fantasies – being in bed with nothing to do. On the other, I felt guilty about being idle. Why is it so hard to allow oneself to be still? Puritan work ethic, the societal requirement for women to be the caretakers, a personal need to meander.

What is the Mouse without Meandering?

After Thursday, my injury began to heal. I had a relatively pain-free weekend, and as of today (February 27), I feel almost back to normal. I am not sure when I will be able to walk and exercise as normal – my doctor said that it should take one to two weeks to recover, but I think I will be walking before that.

I must not end this post without mentioning how superbly Two Dogs took care of me during my ordeal. He insisted I stay in bed, brought drinks and snacks to me, and kept me in the pumpkin shell, so to speak. No one has cared for me so well; I will be grateful always and hope to do the same for him if that time comes.

Some will read this and say that I should be grateful that my time in the Valley of the Handicapped was brief. Believe me, I am.

Some will read this and ask why I am complaining when other people have it so much worse. I do feel for those who have it worse – and that number is too many. But a loss is a loss, and we have a right to grieve as we see fit, whether the loss be large or small, permanent or temporary.

I have learned a few things in the past few days. It is okay to allow my husband to care for me sometimes. It is okay to be fallow. It is not okay to do deadlifts with straight knees.

I would like to say I will never take painless mobility for granted again. But I probably will, because human nature defaults to thinking normalcy will last forever. If it didn’t, we’d spend all day feeling nothing but grateful, leaving no room for anything else. I can say that my first meander after the injury will be a great one.

I can’t wait (but I will for safety’s sake).

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