My knee is looking better, according to my physical therapist, and, “in theory,” I should be able to start running in 2 weeks. Definitely not time to prepare for the marathon, which I already knew, but time to run by the river during the fall when the leaves are yellow and orange and flaming red. I’m excited to be inspired by the colors and the smells and the crisp, electric air.
Last week, after reading several poems that talked about changing your life, I decided to make a list.
Things that cause change:
- Moving from Michigan to North Carolina to Southern Virginia to Northern Virginia to Iowa to Minnesota to California to Minnesota to Georgia and then back to Minnesota, for good.
- Getting up from a chair too quickly, twisting your knee wrong, temporarily and partially dislocating your kneecap.
- Being exposed to new ideas
- Moments of clarity, moments of wonder, moments of calm
- the seasons
- the end of something: open swim, the summer, the semester, a book
- the beginning of something: winter running, an online class, a poem
- Giving the cashier a twenty dollar bill when what you’re buying only costs $18.50.
- Breathing deeply.
- Breathing at all.
- Not breathing ever again on September 30, 2009.
- the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells
- Deciding not to cut your hair and seeing how long it can grow.
- Binge-watching Community instead of Parks and Rec
- Going to an animal shelter and adopting a dog
- New presidents
- a faulty gene in chromosome 11 (region 11q12-q13) which is also known as VMD2.
- turning 42, then 43
- new schools
- leaving the house and turning to the right instead of the left when taking the dog for a walk
- slowing down
- accidentally spitting toothpaste on your shirt when brushing your teeth
- erosion as the result of wind, water, freezing temperatures, a clogged gutter, a dangerously incompetent, narcissistic and hate-filled leader
- no longer eating meat
- switching from Avenir to Helvetica
- asking a question: the right one or the wrong one
- wetsuits, better goggles, nose plugs
- changing the water filter in the refrigerator
- choosing to laugh instead of cry
- Memorizing a poem.
- Swimming an extra loop at open swim and experiencing the glow of the sun lower in the sky.
- Paying attention to the trees and their leaves
- Cataloging the sounds and the smells and the landmarks on your run
This week I’ve been biking for 30 minutes every morning with my bike on the stand, in the front room. I’ve also been walking the dog twice a day. My knee is feeling much better. So much better that I was able to email my physical therapist yesterday and tell her I didn’t think I needed a doctor’s appointment or an MRI. Hopefully she’ll agree when she sees me tomorrow. I haven’t been as good at posting on this log, but I’ve continued to write and post on “my running stories” page. Here’s what I finished this morning: Better Words
One month ago today, I stood up too quickly and temporarily displaced my knee. I had temporarily displaced my knee several times before that without knowing it, sometimes causing injury, sometimes not. This was the first time I felt a lot of pain and knew that something had moved out of place.
This month has been very difficult. Not running. Not walking without a brace. Not knowing what was wrong or when it would stop being wrong. My current status is not quite known. I have one more day to decide if my knee is recovering enough to continue physical therapy or to schedule another doctor’s appointment and an MRI. Most of the time, my knee seems better, but then I’ll be walking and my kneecap will unexpectedly slip.
The best way for me to describe how it feels to walk around with a messed up kneecap that might suddenly, without warning, pop or pang or slide or shift, is this: Sometimes in the winter, when the sidewalks are covered with new ice, or covered with old ice that is hidden by freshly fallen snow, or covered with ice that was melted snow that refroze over night in jagged patches, I walk too carefully. My whole body is tense, waiting to fall. I ache in anticipation. My legs are tight. My movement forced, unnatural. Right now, in the first week of September, I am walking like it’s winter and there’s ice on the sidewalk.
A Recap of the Week
- Still not able to run.
- Swam on Monday.
- Biked to the State Fair and walked around it all day, then came home, not-so-smartly walked the dog without my leg brace and felt something pop again on Tuesday.
- Biked to the lake, ripped my wetsuit as I was putting it on, took it off and swam around the buoys by the big beach anyway, then went to physical therapy and was told that my knee was still pissed and that we’d give it one more week and if it wasn’t better, I’d need to see the doctor again and probably get an MRI and maybe have knee surgery on Wednesday.
- Took the dog on 2 walks, mowed the lawn, cleaned the house, went for dinner with my dad and his wife on Thursday.
- Biking to the fair and then walking around it again today.
When the physical therapist mentioned an MRI, my first response was: will I have to be fully enclosed? I’ve never had an MRI and for years it has been on my list of things I never want to do because they will freak me out. Being trapped, unable to move, in a confined space? No thanks. But not being able to run again or to walk without my knee popping out is not an option, so if I need an MRI, I’ll get an MRI. To prepare myself for this possibility, I decided to derange the MRI, to take away some of the power of the letters to haunt and terrify me by rethinking the acronym.
MRI officially stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. But, it might also stand for:
Must Read Incessantly
Magical Realism Included
Musty Rusty Incubators
Mile Runs Impress
Mighty Rosie Inspires
Maybe risk injures?
More restored instruments
Myopic readers irritate
Must resist incumbents
Must resist injury!
Miniature Rhinos Incite
Monster Roosters Incant
Moody Radicals Impinge
Mustard Relish Infusion
Muffin Roll Invasion
Moldy Reed Infirmary
Musk Rat Infatuation
Minneapolis Re-evaluates Infrastructure
Mississippi River Island (Rosie’s suggestion)
Massive Recalls Impending
Mauve = red + indigo (Scott’s suggestion)
miffed redneck implodes
Multiple raisins ingested
Made really irate
Mountain rappelling Idiot
Mutant rats infiltrate
A note about mutant rats: this acronym was inspired by Scott’s story about how warmer weather is allowing rats to have longer breeding seasons and to produce bigger rats that could grow to the size of infants. Rats the size of infants? This will surely haunt my dreams sometime soon.