Like all of us, I live in my body.
Unlike some people, I live to move: to run, jump, hike, bike, hit to the outfield, climb a hill, swim, paddle a canoe, ice-skate. An accurate photo of me is typically one blurred as I flash past, on my way to somewhere.
My preferred world is one of motion, activity, strength, flexibility. I can easily touch my palms to the floor, sometimes my wrists. (Which amazes all the doctors I’ve seen this year because, if one part of you is broken, they seem to think, the rest must be as well.)
All of this defines me.
Or it did until January of this year when my body, suddenly and for no reasons any of the five separate specialists I’ve seen since, decided to flip me the bird. I was diagnosed in March 2007 with osteoarthritis, and there were days it hurt like hell but I mostly ignored it.
Now, I am using crutches — the short kind, very light and easy to use, but crutches nonetheless — for three months. One month down, two to go. The idea is to give my aching left arthritic hip and sore right knee a break.
I will need a hip replacement but am not willing, right now, to deal with that.
This is all very new territory, this not being the jock, not starting my Saturdays lacing up my cleats and heading out for BP (that’s batting practice, not the nasty oil company.)
Now I’ve crossed a border I didn’t see into a land I loathe.
Being able to use only my upper body at the gym, doing pool aerobics because they are the only activity left that won’t injure me or hurt me. Everyone in that damn class is old and wrinkly and wants to talk endlessly about their surgeries and injuries. So depressing!
I hate people who endlessly ruminate on their illnesses and weaknesses and the frailties of the body. Boring!
So for now I am focusing all my energy from the neck up, living in my head for a while, writing my book, blogging, pitching ideas, working on ideas for the next book and applying for the bloody umpteenth time for the same grants and fellowships as a million other people who think they, too, deserve one.
It is a strange adjustment, but it is focusing my energies quite nicely.
Maybe as it was meant to.