Cleared for Takeoff

Oh, fabulous news.  The nice doctor has let me off with a sentence of two months of physical therapy, plus time served.

I have not torn up my knee again, nor do I need surgery, nor do I suddenly owe $5,000 for out-of-pocket health care expenses.  Don’t get me wrong: my knee is still sort of busted, and I am not excited about physical therapy, and I still owe more than I can say out loud for my doctor’s visits plus two sets of x-rays plus an MRI.  This, however, is the easiest, least painful, least expensive, and least long-term damaging way out of the problem.  With no crutches! Oh, joy joy joy, no crutches.

Apparently it’s an issue of body mechanics.  When you’re injured, the rest of your body tries to compensate for the part that’s underperforming, which in the long run doesn’t do any favors for the underperforming team member.  I’ve been so consciously and sub-consciously protecting my knee for the last five years that the whole setup is off-balance, and now things are starting to hurt.  It’s gotten rapidly worse since it first started to hurt a couple of months ago, and I started to protect it more, and then it got worse, and I got more protective, until suddenly I’m walking at 1/4 speed and a trip to the grocery store is too daunting to contemplate.  Shockingly, ignoring the problem studiously for the past two months has not improved the situation.  Who else is stunned to hear it?  Avoiding problems does not necessarily help in solving them?

Fine. I SEE IT, there is a larger metaphor at work.  We all get injured along the way; we all do whatever we have to do to protect ourselves wherever we feel vulnerable; we all get out of balance; and always being afraid of being hurt just makes it all worse. The only way out is to let go of the fear and move forward.

So after the doctor told me that my knee is not the ticking time bomb it’s felt like for the last two weeks, I took it for a test drive.  I walked for an hour, slowly, and though my knee did not feel amazing, neither did it feel perilous.  I tried some stairs.  I rode an escalator.  I stood in line to buy myself a celebratory holiday dress now that I am less broke than I thought, and while I was waiting, I tried balancing on my shaky knee.  It’s still shaky, but I could do it.  I also signed up for my hot yoga studio’s 21-day holiday challenge.  It is going to be painful on all kinds of levels, but it can only help on all kinds of levels, too.  I’m going to take it easy for a while, but also start testing my limits.

We are totally going snowboarding as soon as I finish physical therapy.

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