Thursday, May 05, 2011

My Leg Turns to Hamburger and My Coffee goes South

Two weeks ago I tore my left gastrocnemius, the muscle that forms the calf. Here I was, wandering up and out of the garage, feeling that since it was a pretty Friday morning in Berkeley I had no reason to hurry. No one else was hurrying, why should I? Besides, I was tired and still a little bleary despite having driven 22 miles.

My left foot then became too lazy to properly anchor on the step just below the top of the stairs. Just as I pushed up with my left leg it slipped off right at the moment of greatest stress, and "Pop!" went the lower leg as a zap of pain shot through it. My coffee cup flew out of my hand as I reached out to break my fall. I found myself on the pavement exclaiming, "Ah-! Ah-! Oh shit! Ah-! Gottdammit! Ah-!" and watching my left foot lock at 90 degrees from its leg.

Instead of warming my gizzard, and bringing the next level of awareness, my coffee was coloring the pavement. I had a moment of thinking that I'd be unable to get back my car. It was a moment of thinking I might be helpless, which is something that truly worries me. Guys my size aren't supposed to be helpless. I felt vaguely embarrassed and the tiniest bit of panic fluttered through my gut. I eased into a sitting position on the little curb near the top of the stairs and took a few deep breaths and realized it didn't really hurt. I called the job and told the boss I'd be out that day, got up slowly and let out a yelp of agony as a I put a tiny amount of weight on the ball of my left foot. I somehow descended to the car, drove to the Dr. and found out there was nothing to be done but ice and elevation and NSAIDs. I drove another ten miles to pick up some crutches then another 20 miles back home to follow the Quack's advice, which proved he's no Quack.

So, three weeks later I can't run, I can't kick in the pool, I can't walk quickly up stairs. I can walk, I can swim with my arms only. I can drink coffee. Thanks God!

Don't ever do what I did. It's only an accident, but the timing of it, and the results serve to make me too aware of my age, too aware of what I can't do. Despite how quickly its healing, I am haunted by the experience of my wife's good friend who at my age pulled a hamstring and it took months to heal properly. In my dour moments I can't shake the feeling that this is only the first in a series of nagging injuries that will leave me hobbled in another ten years. At the age of 62 I will look like Jabba the Hutt with a white moustache, licking my lips obscenely as women 40 years my junior walk by with a sidewise glare that tells me to keep away, dammit (eeuuwww! creepy!).

Of course, when its early morning and the day still feels clean, I ignore the stiffness and think that this is merely sneeze, nothing more than the orthopaedic equivalent of a loose eyelash. I will swim that day and climb along that eternal black line. I will walk miles on end. I will eat oatmeal and do pullups and pushups and annoy the hell out of everyone. In ten years I will be tanned, lean and leathery and I will lick my lips obscenely . . . .


Blogger Don said...

If thou'rt Tan and Hard, they will not all see thee as a Creep. Most, aye, but a few, open of mind (though not of leg, you married pervert) will say unto themselves, hm, kind of cute.

I had forgotten your address. I now know it again.

12:20 PM  

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