Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Great Snap of 2010

Everything was going great.

That's how I should have known things were about to become very wrong.

Almost two weeks have passed since that Saturday, the rainy one, the Saturday that followed days of rain, enough that I thought: This is going to end my determination to be fit! I know--I'll be like in a Nike commercial again, and run in the rain! Running has already drawn blood, so how bad can rain be?


Although it didn't feel too bad, not when I did my traditional stretches, drawn from various yoga poses that work the legs, arms, back, and neck in order to prevent me from hurting myself. It didn't even feel bad when I started "warming up" which is when I walk around the house quickly several times.

Then I ran, and it felt nice. The little bits of cut grass were sticking to my skin, but that was nothing terrible. I ran.

I cooled down, again by walking.

I did more stretches, just in case.

All done, I went back inside and removed my shoes. I got the grass bits of them and off the backs of my legs. I got a glass of water, I took a bath--we don't have a shower, unless you count the one in the basement, which is inhabited by spiders as big as my hand--I don't go down there a lot.

The basement is a scary place. One Sunday morning, I was ironing a shirt when I saw one of the evil Hand-Spiders. Taking inspiration from a Garfield comic, I grabbed a broom and smacked said spider with it, killing the giant creature--or killing it just enough that it couldn't flee, after which I put the empty fish bowl over it so it couldn't come back like a zombie and kill me in my sleep like a camel spider.

Unfortunately for me, the broom happened to be the spider's favorite hang-out, since that was where it had laid its eggs, which had already hatched.

Billions of little baby Hand-Spiders showered all over the ground, some shooting away as far as the staircase.

There was no escape.

By now, panic had set in. I screamed.


But, since this was my house and my family is used to little outbursts that indicate extreme fear or extreme pain coming from all corners of our home and all issued by me. So they did what they always do when I hurt myself or nearly die or am being attacked by something possessed by the Forces of Darkness.

They ignored me.

A solution had to be reached quickly. I was outnumbered, and they could see what I'd done to Mommy Hand-Spider. I mean, I had even set up a display case for them to walk by and see the carnage for themselves. It was like going to the Field Museum in Chicago and seeing all those lions from The Ghost and the Darkness, which was a true story, staring at you with glassy-dead eyes, looking about as deadly as they did in life, but without as much movement.

I turned to the only source of spider-killing literature I'd ever read. That same Garfield comic.

Glimpsing the remnants of the last painting attempt made in my household, I grabbed the nearest paint roller. I jabbed on a roll--hardened by dried paint-and put it against the basement floor. Rolling it along, I crushed all the spiders in several smooth motions. It was like painting a wall, only with more death involved.

Then I ran, because in case you were unaware, Hand-Spiders don't actually die. When you kill them, they liquidate and then split off into two Hand-Spiders. That's how you know they're made of the dark powers of True Evil.

And that's also why I don't go downstairs for any reason except to put laundry in the washing machine and/or dryer.

The next morning following my rainy run, I got up and got dressed. Then I thought, "It's going to rain again today. I know--I'll run now!"

So I did.

But this time, I didn't get very far. See, there was this pain in my knee when I ran, a pain that could almost be described as stabbing. Except that there was also some grinding involved. Like my bones were no longer protected by something as foolish as a joint capsule, but instead were grating against each other like my Microplane does with Parmesan cheese. I stopped running.

The next day, I thought I was going to die. Walking hurt. But it was no big deal.

Until two weeks later, when the pain has not waned but waxed, now finally evident by the swollen nature of both knees, the localized pain, the random snapping noises as my ligaments and tendons twang like rubber bands against each other and against my once-whole bones.

"Go to the doctor," said Rachel at work.

"Go to the doctor," said various Loose End-ers at knit night.

"Go to the doctor," said Mom, Dad, and Paul. Separately.

In fact, April, both student workers, and the remainder of the library staff all told me, separately, to go to the doctor.

I'm not going.

This is why:

In case you haven't noticed, I complain. A lot. I also get hurt, all the time, and most of this pain is temporary. I have never broken anything--except possibly that toe that doesn't bend anymore--and I don't think I will until I hit my mid-thirties and the family curse of osteoporosis decides to let gravity bring me all the way down, by letting the simple pressure of the air crush my bones like saltine crackers.

I know what my doctor will say.

He will poke the part of my knee that hurts. He will have me bend it in various ways. He will proclaim it unbroken (I would have noticed that) and then he will smack it with the reflex thing, just in case something freakish is happening. Since there are no marble-shaped things under my skin, he will announce that I have not torn any ligaments or tendons. I would have noticed that, too. And no way did I rip any cushion-y things inside the joint, because I would totally have noticed that too.

My brother's roommate back in college once turned in his computer chair. Part of his leg went with him. The other part of his leg stayed right where it had been.

Lots of screaming and swearing were involved there, and Jerome was way more hard-core than I am. He actually did athletic things like in the Nike commercials, not just the bleeding.

The doctor would tell me to ice it, to take ibuprofen when I needed it, and to not run. He would also tell me to take that stupid brace off of it (I found one in the closet and it kept my knee from not holding me up and causing me to topple over).

I don't need someone to tell me any of those things. I took physiology classes for that back in college, with the students who were doing some kind of sports-injury studies. I learned how to feel if something vital has broken off. It comes in handy.

Meanwhile, internet isn't so much working at home. No, not so much. And it isn't our ISP, it's my laptop. Blast it.

There goes my main distraction.

But yesterday morning I crawled out of bed and my knee (the one that hurts the worst) made this loud snapping noise.

I froze, waiting for the wave of agony to overtake me.

And no agony actually came.

This was brilliant news. I went to work. And as I walked around, I noted that I wasn't in torturous pain any more, just bearable pain. Without the brace.

So Rachael, guess what? I'm not walking like a duck anymore. I'm hardly even ridiculous, but that can change at any time.

For the moment, I'm planning on enjoying my new found mobility and celebrating. But not with exercise.

So why should I spend money?

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