Those who can’t play….coach

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The latest word on the ankle injury (and keep this in mind it is very official) “boy you did a number on this.”  On a happy note I start physical therapy next week. Hopefully I can start to get some range of motion. After the assessment visit to the therapist I found out the range of motion on my ankle is in the negative range, it doesn’t quite reach neutral.

 

I have a long road of work and healing ahead of me. It sounds like I may still be pretty much sidelined in about six weeks.

 

So in the mean time what can a girl do? I can’t play, but I can coach.

 

Some folks at my work have decided to join the base volleyball league. We are the SEA Avengers, my jersey says coach 3.5. (3.5 because it was the first number I thought of but it seems right since I am not a whole player yet.)

 

Of course there is some level of frustration watching instead of playing, but it is more fun than frustration.

 

We’ve played 2 matches so far, won one and lost one. Our objective isn’t to win (but we have no objection to winning) we just want to have fun. And I think I need a little fun right now.

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Six things I learned in my bunny slope ski lessons

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What's Beyond Heavy?

Finding success at Deer Valley, Utah. Photo by Whitney Tressel

When people moan about being too old to learn this sport or that, I usually want to scoff. Abilities often have way more to do with your enthusiasm and fitness level than any arbitrary number does. But I have to confess: I felt that my particular number was a bit on the high side to be tackling snow skiing for the first time. Becoming a beginner at a sport that involves careening down a snow-covered mountain on two skinny, slippery sticks — especially for someone who’s as prone to accident and injury as I am — seemed, if I’m being honest, a terrifying prospect.

In fact, by the time I strapped on and bundled up to head out into the falling snow (aptly enough) at Snowbird in Utah last week, I was as scared as I’d ever been on any

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My pimp ass cane

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Three and a half weeks ago I landed in the doctor’s office with a bum ankle.  I didn’t expect three and a half weeks later to still have pain, swelling, and bruising.  And I really didn’t expect that I would still need a cane to help me walk without limping.

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Aside from the physical issues the mental fatigue is really wearing on me. It is not easy to stay positive when you don’t heal the way you expect. And the longer this goes on the more the fear factor come into play. My mind easily drifts to what if this and what if that. I think my biggest struggle is not really knowing what’s wrong. Yes the initial diagnosis is an ankle sprain but the symptoms are outside of the scope of a routine ankle sprain.

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I am doing my best to stay mentally fit (because walking slowly is about all I manage for staying physically fit). It doesn’t hurt that March Madness is here and I have good TV to watch while I sit with my leg elevated. Oh yeah, and I’ve also got a pimp ass cane.

Listen, I’m a patient and a person

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Doctors are amazing.  Their job is to diagnose injury and illness and get people feeling better. I applaud them for their effort.

 

While doctors do a lot of great things, there is one area that many doctors need to work on, listening.

 

My most recent injury has been frustrating for two reasons.

 

One- I am out of commission and the healing process is sloooooooow.

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Two- When I visited the doctor, he didn’t listen. He was so focused on what he thought was the problem. After checking out the x-rays and doing his examination I felt like he was ready for me to get out of his examination room.

 

Being out of commission sucks. But being out of commission and not communicating well with your doctor is really frustrating.

 

I was trying to say that this injury didn’t feel like any other sprained ankle I’ve had. I was trying to understand why I was getting such poor circulation to my foot and toes.  I was trying to understand when I should come back for a follow up.

 

Instead I was given a list of exercises to do for therapy and told to come back in four months if my foot still hurt.

 

All I wanted was for the doctor to listen to my concerns and then respond to those concerns.

 

I’ve often heard you are the best advocate for your own healthcare, and this means being persistent and finding someone who does listen. And I did. We still don’t have all the answers, but right now I don’t just need someone who is a good diagnostician. I need someone who will treat me like a patient and a person.

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If I were an injured animal, I’d probably be dead.

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My primal urge to run backfired on me. It’s been almost two weeks since I rolled my ankle during an afternoon run. I still have bruising that goes from my toes to my knee. My foot is puffy like someone retaining water. And the only reason I have mobility is because of some metal crutches. All in all it’s pretty miserable. But on a big positive note, I’m gonna live.

 

I realize if I were an injured animal out in the wild, I would probably be dead.

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An injured wildebeest makes a tasty treat for a pride of lions or pack of hyenas. An injured cheetah doesn’t have as much speed, which means it may have a hard time catching prey and now it may have a more difficult time escaping predators. An insect with a broken leg may shorten its lifespan by minutes. A fish that can’t swim is a fish that can’t breathe.

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Now, if I were an elephant I might have a chance. A herd of elephants tend to stay with injured elephants. But I would have to be lucky enough to be an elephant.

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In the world of animals it seems to come down to two things, eating or being eaten. An injury makes both problematic.

 

I have a great pack of humans around me. They let me lie on the couch and watch TV when I am home. They let me sleep as often as I want. They bring me food and water when I am hungry or thirsty.

 

Thank goodness I am surrounded by a bunch of people who are willing take care of my most basic and primal needs. Without them, it wouldn’t be so easy to live.

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Roll with it baby

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In 1992 I was at Queens College, we were practicing volleyball. I went up for a hit or a block, I can’t remember that part. What I do remember is rolling my ankle and hobbling off the court. After, I lay down on the floor and propped my feet against the wall and thought it wasn’t so bad. After practice I walked across campus went to my dorm room and started to get ready for my weekend. Somewhere in the hours after rolling my ankle it got really bad. The end result a trip to the ER, X-Rays, no broken bones, but a pretty bad sprain.

 

(Looking back know I can’t believe I walked home on an injury but in the mind of an 18 year old……well we don’t always make good choices when we are 18.)

 

Fast forward to 2014.

 

My knee is stronger. I still have pain but nothing to stop me from working out. I’ve been doing yoga, strength training, cardio, and some light running.

The weather in New England has been rather temperamental this winter, so finding nice days to run has been challenging. Earlier this week we had a nice winter day, the temperature was in the 30s, there was almost no wind, and most of the snow had melted. What a great day for a run.

 

About two miles into the run, disaster. Out of nowhere I rolled my ankle. No ice, no snow, no rocks. I was on steady ground. Somehow I took a step and the next thing I knew I was on the ground.

 

Usually I run with my phone, but for some reason this time I left it in the office. I couldn’t call for help but I knew lying in the parking lot was probably not a very good idea, so I hobbled to the middle of the street to flag down a car. Thankfully someone pulled up and drove me back to work, where my co-workers quickly got me to the ER.

 

This sprain feels much worse then the one I got 20 years ago. It might be that I am older and can’t recover as quickly. It might be because I am smarter about the healing process.

 

Looking back on how 20 years ago I was walking and playing ball a few weeks after my injury really strains the spirit. But healing takes time. So I am trying to stay positive, at least moving around on crutches is a great workout.

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