Coming home from errands on Sunday afternoon, I felt like hell. Queasy and dry from sitting in the car so long. Exhausted from managing the kids in environments designed specifically for consumer coercion. Flabby and crooked from three months of forced inactivity.
Yeah. I was a treat to be around.
Six urgent messages on my phone earned exactly one text reply before I told Mike I needed yoga and officially checked out for two hours. My body ached and pulled and stretched. Drawing through warrior poses, my knee felt unstable but didn’t hurt. Shoulders screamed and then let go. Quads knotted, trembled, released. My brain – spinning hard – whirred down from high-frequency whine… to clicks… to hum. In corpse pose, I sank into the earth. And felt better.
Monday was busy. This week is packed with projects for my kids and my crew. We have parents and grandparents who deserve good kid-made gifts. And kids already levitating with Santa excitement who need busy hands. My three-year-olds worked hard on sock snowmen, with all of the careful measuring, pouring, turn-taking and choice-making required. (I AM SO PROUD OF THEM!) My five-year-olds came home from kindergarten and did the same (adding the requisite princess drama). And after the usual mid-afternoon cleaning and tidying and laundry-folding, I finger-knit scarves for those who worried about their snowmen catching cold, mediated toy disputes, and comforted stuffies with limbs crushed by raging troodons.
I was cleared for low-impact cardo at my last physio session, but had been putting it off because my knee still didn’t feel quite right. Strong, but loose – if that makes any sense. Monday night, I wrapped gifts for my dayhome kids, got my bike set up on the stationary trainer, got the kids into bed. And then, at long last, set about rebuilding my race base with a 30 minute ultra-low-resistance spin.
After about 25 minutes, it started to hurt.
It hurt like something under my knee cap was on fire and had begun melting the muscles and supporting ligaments down into my ankle and up into my hip. Like an acetylene torch had been sparked and lit and turned on full blast at the side of my leg. I got off my bike and headed up the stairs to get an ice pack. Except my knee refused to support my weight and my quads and hamstrings were screaming.
What the fuck?! I wasn’t even sweating!
I did not man up. I did not put on my big girl panties and take it like a woman. I had a full-on class five tantrum that left me bawling in the basement with an ice-pack tensored to my knee and a hot bath running.
When I woke up this morning, my knee felt fine. Minor aches, some resistance on the stairs, but more-or-less the way it had felt the week previous. Last night, my husband had tried to tell me the pain could’ve been related to my time off the bike. Like my knee was a new shoe that needed breaking in, or some shit like that.
You can imagine how receptive I was to THAT nugget of wisdom.
But what if he was right? I mean, maybe getting back into training is supposed to hurt for a little while? I am not afraid of pain. I am afraid of stasis. I am afraid of having a “bad knee” indefinitely, and watching the softness of sedentary turn into the flab of limited mobility and then the crushing fatigue of poor health.
‘Cause I’m a glass-half-full kinda girl.
At physio tonight, I heard things like “treatment plateau”, the potential for cortisol injections, and a renewed discussion of ligament damage. We talked about the wait list for the publicly funded MRI and how much I don’t want to support private medicine and how the MRI clinic up the street could get me in within days….
All I have to do is call and make an appointment and show up with my debit card.
All I have to do is vote with my dollars for a privately owned and operated imaging clinic in a country where healthcare is purportedly free.
If I pay for an MRI, I’m giving my spot on the public waiting list to someone who can’t afford it.
But NO ONE who needs an MRI should have to pay for it. If it is necessary, it is supposed to be FREE.
I’ll have my results within weeks, not months. There would be more than a trial-and-error basis for my treatment plan.
I don’t support private medicine.
Surgery or cortisol injections could have me running full distances in six to eight weeks. IF my doctor could see the damage.
How is it right for me to jump the line just because I can pay for it? How is it right for anyone to have to wait, just because they can’t?
If everyone who could afford private medical services paid for them, those who could not afford it wouldn’t have to wait.
I don’t believe that. This is so wrong.
I could race again. This spring.
My brain is spinning again, and it’s too late for yoga. I’m too tired to tantrum and too drained to fight.
So, I ask you: What would you do?