Thursday, February 10, 2011

Character-Building Bull Fertilizer

Yea...right...tell that to my knees.

The morning started normally...throw together lunch, inhale breakfast, perk obscene amount of coffee. Kiss Husby goodbye. Set off on 12-minute interstate commute to work.

A quarter mile from my exit, the "Service Engine Soon" light kicks on, immediately followed by the engine starting to lag. Naturally, I was silently musing in my head at the time, about how the timing chain replacement needs to happen like, yesterday; so my first thought is that I've jinxed myself, even though I can tell from the feel of the engine that thankthegods, it's not that. No, likely I'd blown a belt, because we had repair techs warning us about those months ago. I pull off the shoulder and make it under the overpass (thankthegods #2, because it was rainy and gross out). Call AAA. Call Husby. Settle in to wait.

A solid hour and a half later (!).....tow truck was late because of other accidents...I won't digress by ranting about how you'd think in a state like Florida, its residents would be used to driving in the rain.....the tow truck guy finds me. He's cool, says not to worry about charges if we go over 5 miles and recommends a place cheaper than the one AAA originally was going to send me to.

You've heard me whine plenty of times about how my body has changed thanks to arthritis and obesity. I've always looked on it as an inconvenience, nothing more. Certainly not a disability. A temporary condition, to be sure. Still do. Nothing to see here...just another fat chick. But today's activities were yet another wake-up call, and I'm quite tired of learning things the hard way.

The tow truck was a standard semi with a flatbed. You don't realize how damn high those things are until you're climbing into one. Slid my bags onto the floor, which was at frickin' eye level, and managed to climb into the thing and avoid embarassment. I see the high handle, which could've made the job easier, after I'm seated, naturally.

Ten minutes later, we're at the auto repair shop. He hops out to touch base with the guys as to where to park my car in their crowded lot; I pick up my bags and open the door. Should've left bags on the floor and grabbed them after I'd negotiated my exit. I put my left foot down on the 2nd step, swing around, and my left knee gives out (it plain didn't have the strength to hold my weight, because I was out of balance). Wasn't expecting that, because it's the "good" knee. I slide out of the truck, landing hard on my right leg and getting the butt of my pants wet from the truck step. It was kind of like going bumpety-bump down the stairs, but vertically (and with all the grace of an elephant on roller skates). I strain my right knee and issue a verbal expletive.

Thankfully, no one sees this; I've been uncoordinated my whole life and am rather practiced at recovery (or at least, like to think I am). I shake it off, work the stiffness out of my knee, park myself in their waiting room, and they change out my belts. But in the back of my head, while I'm trying to distract myself by reading a library book, is that nagging voice...

I've done this to myself. There are parts of my body that I currently can't rely on, because of my weight and my arthritis. If I don't take very serious steps to lose the weight and retard the progression of the arthritis, I won't be able to run as I get older. Not run for pleasure, not run after children or animals; I won't be able to maintain the farm I ache for and dream of. I won't be able to live the quality of life that I'm setting out there for myself, if I don't make these changes now. Les can't help his disability; I CAN!

What's the big deal about running? With my body type, it may not even be realistic; but in my head, I've always been a runner. Which is roll-on-the-floor-hilarious, because I was never athletic, not in high school or college. But from the time I learned the cross-country courses in junior high gym class, my brain has pictured my body sailing over them with my long-legged stride. Running through woods and fields, running in neighborhoods. I'm a strong, beautiful, lean person, inside my head.

But of course, it's not even about the's about not having the strength you take for granted. I know I have a wealth of physical and mental endurance. The mental endurance got me through college and my time at AMC. And I've proved my physical endurance before, walking almost 15 miles in a day for the Avon 3-Day-that-turned-into-a-1-Day (yes, that was 8½ years ago...what's your point?).

But all the talking and planning and organizational capability in the world can't make up for not having the physical strength to achieve your dreams.

The only reason I'm not going to the Y tonight, is because my whole body aches from the fall I took. I'm spending the evening writing out my wellness plan.

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