august 9/Stiff

Knee injury.

Day Five

My knee felt a little sore in the night, but it seems okay in the morning. Mostly stiff, a bit swollen and occasionally weak. I feel like walking is easier and that I should try to stretch out my legs and work on walking normally, but is this a bad idea? Is it too soon?

Last night, walking all the way from the parking lot to the beach was challenging. I had to walk so slow! Or was everyone else walking too fast?

There once was a girl who felt free,
she could run, she could fly, she could be
then her knee she did hurt
shortly after dessert
now she’s stuck to the ground like a tree.

The theme for today is: stiff. I’m tired of using that word, over and over and over again. What are some other words I could use?

is too stiff, 
and boring and tedious, 
why not try other words instead:

So many of these fit, but today, I think graceless works best. A lack of grace. Awkward. Clumsy. Forced. Inelegant. Rough. Ungainly. Today, my walk is graceless.

I googled “ways to describe knees sore legs,” hoping I might find some creative inspiration. Most of the top search results were about how to describe knee pain to your doctor. I should probably read through these articles because I’m always explaining things wrong. Or too oddly. I get strange looks from doctors and not too many answers. There’s a problem here: I like strange descriptions that are weird and wonderful and imaginative. And some part of me is stubbornly attached to this strangeness, making it hard to express myself clearly or simply. But, it would be nice to be understood, at least sometimes.

Walked with Ro and the dog to Ro’s old school and back, which is 1 1/2 blocks each way. 3 blocks in total. 3 graceless blocks that I’m very grateful for.

In gratitude:
today I walked 3 blocks.
3 graceless blocks.
that’s about 2 more blocks,
than I could walk yesterday
and 2 3/4 more blocks
than the day before that
and the day before that,
the day when my knee firmly decided
that walking was not happening?
3 more blocks than that day.
oh, these simple accomplishments!
so satisfying when noticed,
so taken for granted when ignored.
today, I noticed.
how could I not?

If day four is tedious, day five is dangerous. Feeling a little better, I could try to do too much. Feeling a little more hopeful, I could move beyond the is to the as, turning my actual feelings of pain, swelling, injury into simile or metaphor or life lesson. It would be easy to reduce my injury to a valuable and necessary reminder that I have limits and that I should always pay attention to my body and how I move it in the world. As Foucault says in one of my favorite lines of his: this shift to metaphor isn’t good or bad, it’s dangerous. Metaphor produces distance. A sense of removal. They offer a space to reflect and assess but can also signal a refusal to dwell in the discomfort and to, as Marie Howe explains in her interview with Krista Tippet, “actually endure the thing itself.”

Walked from the car to the studio at a pace that felt slower than a snail. Thinking about the super sprint triathlon I’m supposed to do with Rosie on Sunday. How will I be able to run—or even walk—a mile by then?

Did 15 minutes on the bike in the front room. Watched Alma Ayana, the Olympic champion, dominate the other runners in the 10000 meters at the World Championships. Wow! She lapped about half the field and finished almost a minute ahead of the next racer. My knee was okay. Actually, I enjoyed biking, except for the last few seconds when I felt a sharp pain. Was it my knee letting me know I was done biking?

Knee status: stiff, slight improvement in mobility, walking, but snail slow or sloth slow. A few incidents of my knee buckling without warning. For one of them, I (only slightly) hurt my shoulder and wrist as I braced against the oven to avoid falling. Increasing optimism.

Treatment: Ice knee 3 times for 20 minutes. No ibuprofen, extra beer instead. Try to not take out frustration on others. Watch and sing along to High School Musical 2 with daughter.