|A really boring thing they like to call "exercise." Prescribed torture is more accurate.|
...13 (voice shaking)
...14 (leg shaking)
"FIFTEEN!" I dig my knuckle into my burning hip flexor and sit up straight, trying to alleviate the tension in my thigh. The final set of my physical therapy sums up a routine of exercise that is simultaneously boring and painful. Besides, calling it exercise is a joke; any sweating is merely a side effect from the excruciating discomfort of trying to get my leg into a position it hasn't experienced in over 2 months.
"Repeat 3x a day," say the instructions.
|Fell asleep eating post-surgery.|
Photo: My mom
Sure. In the grand scheme of things, it all works hand-in-hand. But I'm humanly short-sighted and not appeased with the grand scheme of things.
Last week, one of my Outdoor Women's Alliance managers, Tiffiny Costello, sent me a quick text to ask how things were going. Most days I'm absolutely fine. Cheerful. Laughing at my predicament. I mean, even free spirited adventurers eventually learn coping skills to deal with their injured imprisonment.
But there are times when the situation rushes back to mock me as well.
78 days since I last skied. Climbed. Ran. Walked. Heck, moved at all without considering if my knee was gonna make me yelp in pain. 78 days of you people — you lucky people — saying things like, "I don't want to go to the gym today;" or "The skiing isn't that good. I'm staying inside;" or "I'm tired." During the days when the situation comes back to mock, my patience wears thin with you. "Two good legs," I think to myself, "and you don't even care." I want to shove you into adventure.
Talking with Tiffiny it dawned on me: Everything I missed, from skiing to running, made up the core of what I identified with as my strength. A day ending with burning quads and frozen strands of hair, a trail run that left me gasping for breath, a climb that pumped my forearms and left gashes near my knees — I didn't realize it, but I did those things for strength. Not physical strength. Strength of self. And for the past three months there was no chance to draw from that once-daily well of renewal. My level of strength sat stagnant; or worse, diminished each day.
|Bouldering in Leavenworth, Washington|
Photo: Steve Weiss
This dawning hit hard. No wonder there was occasional frustration. No wonder there were days when I felt like my brain was a fraction of what it once was — not to mention my muscles. I questioned my predicament: How was it fair that someone like me could suffer from this when there were others who spent every waking hour watching tv after sitting in a cubicle all day? My spirit can't stand the couch; why weren't they the ones holed up indoors — it would make no impact on their life other than to make getting up to grab chips from the cupboard more difficult. Sorry if that's snarky. But you know I'm right.
For someone who doesn't feel comfortable indoors, experiences attention deficit disorder with her surroundings, and is used to acting out on the passions of her heart, my reserve of strength sometimes feels as though it's about to go bone dry. I'm not sure how to restore it in this condition so I am looking outward and hoping those who have gone through the rough spells of recovery can offer their wisdom where mine fails.
Feel free... I'm all ears.
|Topping out in Moab, Utah|
Photo: Maria Paspuel