“I’m glad I wasn’t talking to myself like I usually do.”
Those were the words spoken to me by a seemingly nice, old woman who lives down the road. She was dragging her garbage and recycling bins to the curb for pickup as I was walking past. It was a dreary, foggy day so I can understand her being surprised by my presence.
As I continued down the road I thought about her comment, “I’m glad I wasn’t talking to myself like I usually do.” Would that be so bad? To be caught talking to yourself as you went about your daily routine? I didn’t think so.
I do some of my best thinking when I’m not trying to. My mind is open and free from distractions. I don’t talk to myself the way she was referring to, but I do have internal dialogue. I think about the things I’d like to do or say or experience. I think about things I’m thankful for and the things I wish were different. Solo walks are a great way for me to have internal dialogue while my thoughts wander.
I wish I would have crossed paths with her sooner. I would have liked to have heard her comment and had more time to reflect on the words. I know it doesn’t seem like much, and she certainly didn’t intend for her words to remain with me, but it’s something I hope to remember while I embark on future walks.
I will always remember November 16, 2014 as a day of great success, and a day of great sadness. On this day I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas, NV. The weather was perfectly cool, the course was flat, and I succeeded in reaching my goal of completing the race in 1:45:12. At that moment I was unaware that this would likely be the last half marathon I would ever run.
Feeling as though I was owed a break after my success in Las Vegas, YAY ME!, I took it easy. I took a few days, maybe weeks, off from running to rest. When I was ready to hit the pavement and start training for my next half marathon I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be as simple as slipping on my running gear and placing one foot in front of the other. I began to experience pain, sharp and stabbing pain, behind my knee cap. Ironically enough the pain didn’t occur while I was running, but rather when I stopped running. Once the pain had my attention it was relentless. When I went down the stairs, there it was. When I stood up from a seated position, oh hi there! Something was wrong, that much was clear.
My first trip to the doctor was about as productive as I had expected. Physical exam, x-rays, poking, prodding, and a million questions. After zero progress was made I was sent for an MRI and referred to an orthopedic specialist. My MRI revealed an uneven wearing in my cartilage. I was told little else and sent away with a prescription for physical therapy.
Physical therapy did help, really it did. I went once a week and was diligent with my home exercises. My legs got stronger and the tracking of my knee cap improved. Sweet, back to running!
The last run I did was a 5k on November 12, 2016. The course was small and treacherous and had one monster hill we were required to run up twice. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hill run but my knee was in no shape for this type of abuse, I just didn’t realize it at the time. With the run complete and my third place award waiting for me I mad a quick pit stop and headed in for my beer.
As soon as I stood up that sharp, stabbing pain behind my knee was back with a vengeance. I enjoyed my beer, collected my winners water bottle and enjoyed Red Robin with the family. After arriving back home I completed some outstanding tasks around the house, one of which involved kneeling. I didn’t think much of my knee pain, or the kneeling, and proceeded with my so called life.
The Tuesday after that run is when things spiraled a bit out of control. I remember being at work and getting up to use the bathroom. As I was walking to the bathroom I began to experience pain in my knee and it was painful to walk. More rest, all I needed was more rest. By the time I woke up on Wednesday morning I was in so much pain I could barely walk. A sweet co-worker of mine with MS let me borrow one of her canes and I made the first available appointment with my orthopedic doctor. When Thursday came around I upgraded my cane for crutches. I hobbled around and prayed I would have some answers at my appointment the following day.
When I arrived at my appointment on Friday I was actually feeling better, a lot better. I didn’t need the crutches, or the cane, and was walking normally. I was again poked and prodded and sent for another MRI.
Would you hold the door open for a stranger walking behind you?
Do you hold the elevator for a co-worker rushing down the hallway?
If a pedestrian is waiting at a crosswalk do you stop and let them cross?
These are simple choices we must make on a daily basis. Choices that, in my opinion, are easy to answer with a “yes”. But I’m not writing this because we’re all living our lives like the most devout members of the Abnegation faction.
An odd thing happened to me at work today while walking from the fitness center to the locker room. A thing that made me think “Is this really happening right now?”
You see, there’s a door between the fitness center and the locker rooms, a heavy fire door. I hate opening this door. It’s awkward, the knob is small and doesn’t turn well, and it doesn’t swing in the direction that feels natural for it’s placement. This morning, as I grasped that tiny knob and gave it a sharp twist, I noticed a man walking towards me from the other side of that shitty door, maybe 10′ away. I struggled, with bags in both hands, to pull the door wide enough to go around and squeeze through. When I had enough room to cross the threshold, the man that had been creeping closer and closer from the other side was suddenly right there. And how convenient for him, this sweaty, polite, and exhausted young woman already had the door open. He didn’t give me a second glance, nor did he care that I was already on my way through the door. He simply breezed right past me. My only thought was “Damn, did that just happen?”
Fine, fuck it. I need to shower and in order to shower I need to get to the other side of this door. As I was about to make my second attempt I realized the 5 guys walking behind him had other plans. So I stood there like a sweaty doorman wearing a down parka on a 105 degree day outside the Waldorf Astoria. They all walked through, they all looked at me, and not one of them said “Thank you!”, offered to stop and let me through, or held the door for me after they passed through. What a bunch of assholes.
I’m usually good at putting on my best fuck you face (see below) but this time it failed me. I was simply too stunned to even look as pissed off as I was.
I finally did get through that shitty door and down to the fitness center. I was able to refresh and prepare for the rest of my day in a quite locker room, void of selfish assholes that only wanted to steal my joy.
So take a moment to consider all of the things you do on a daily basis and how the smallest tasks can, and will, affect others around you. Making someone else’s day just a tiny bit better doesn’t have to require a lot of effort on your part. It’s not difficult, be a fucking decent human being.
Make (an answer, idea, situation, or problem) more confusing to someone by describing it in excessive detail or revealing more facts or ideas than necessary.Excessplaining may occur after a “yes” or “no” question has been asked, or when basic assistance is needed by an individual looking to solve a problem.
“I understood Jeff’s billing question until he started excessplaining it to me.”
“I asked Dave if he wanted to get lunch from the cafeteria with me at noon.His excessplaination never answered my original question.”
I first learned what chondromalacia was on January 9, 2017; ten days after the surgery I had to treat it. Today I celebrate my 8 week anniversary.
There isn’t any polite way to say it; physical therapy can be a real bitch. I have good days and bad days, and really, really bad days. There are days when I want to give up, days when I regret ever having surgery, and days when I’m in pain and my knee is swollen and I feel like something is horribly wrong. Then I have a good day. A day where I realize the swelling is minimal, the scars don’t look so bad, and I can walk mostly normal. This past Tuesday I had a breakthrough and finally learned how to walk without looking like I was walking on black ice. (Yes, a woman did comment on my gait and compare it to that of someone walking on black ice.) It took almost 8 weeks, but I did it.
My current regimen consists of monster walks, crab walks, leg extensions, lots and lots of stretching, almost maybe going partially down a stair, Bio-Oil, and an infinite amount of clicking and grinding. Today I’m felling optimistic. I know that one day my leg will again be strong and powerful and return to it’s former glory.