Monday, August 18, 2008

Life change

Yesterday I was taking a long drive back from a family party four hours away. I put in Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and found myself tearing up. Why, you ask? Because it reminds me of running. It brings back very strong memories, for instance, of training for last year’s half-marathon – I listened to it addictively then, and it is intimately linked with long-run endorphins, in my brain.

And the thing is, I miss running. I miss “real” (read: cardio) exercise, for which I have a strong predilection. I was ramping up my running to get ready for an autumn half, just as I broke my knee.

I am also aware that I may not be able to run again. There is no certainty on this question – the orthopaedic guy thinks I may be able to, but is not sure. The Internet tells me – as did the first surgeon, in Hawaii – that my knee will never be the same, and that I will almost certainly develop arthritis in it.

I am sad about this. I will do everything I can to rehabilitate the leg. I have already started, having gone to see a physiotherapist on my own (I was never referred to one, which shocked me and the physio) so that I can start building up strength and range of motion even while still unable to walk on the leg. (Though my left calf is a sad, pathetic little thing by now – it’s atrophied alarmingly.) I’ll work and work and work so that I can get back to what I love to do. If I can’t run, I’ll maybe go back to swimming laps, which I used to do, but got bored with.

But this is bigger than the question of cardio exercise. My worrying about this is one symptom of a larger, looming confrontation with aging and mortality. What with everything that’s gone on recently – ovary still probably needing to come out, this stupid injury*, even the first-ever migraine - I’m really feeling quite uneasily in touch with my own eventual deterioration and death. It invades my consciousness daily; it never really had before. And you know, I’d have rather put off this feeling for another couple of decades.

For that reason, it is a great thing to be watching Six Feet Under right now.

At any rate, I feel quite fundamentally changed. Quite.

*Stupid being the operative word. Do you know, this past week I have started to experience some real anger over this injury for the first time. I mean, for chrissake!! I was just bloody standing there!!


squadratomagico said...

I also become aware more viscerally of my own aging and mortality, quite suddenly, a few years ago. Suddenly I realized that all that death shit everyone talks about really applies to me, too! I seem to be sick more often, my face is changing, my body is changing... However, the benefit of this realization has been a shifting of priorities that enabled me to have a happier, more creative and richly connected life. I'm glad about that part.

K said...

Ask your ortho first, but I found after my knee surgery that swimming was a huge help in rehabbing it and getting it back to a point where I could do more strenuous activity with it. Maybe there are specific exercises you can do in the pool that along with dry-land rehab will get you back to running. Don't give up now--it takes time to heal and rehab.

medieval woman said...

I think Sq. is right - this is a huge, life changing awareness that you've had and you're so right about being struck by it. But I also see you becoming more awre of it and being able to make choices that really place priorities on what you like about your physical being - what makes you feel good and in control!

I'm sending you a big cardio-hug!

JustMe said...

i'm sorry hilaire, i know this is really difficult, it is hard when your body is not on the same page as your mind sometimes. i hope that you improve and that with time you can get back some of what you had, running wise.

Laura said...

I, too, have been thinking about mortality lately--really more about deteriorating, and I'm not nearly as physically active as you are. But I do hate watching my hair turn gray and the wrinkles appear.

If it makes you feel better, my father, who at 63 has had both a knee replacement and a hip replacement, is still quite active. He mostly swims, rides a bike and plays golf, but he does way more than most people do in perfect condition.

I hope you find a way to make peace with your injury.

Hilaire said...

Squ. - Yes, that kind of clarity about priorities is what I am hoping comes of this. In fact, I am starting to see an inkling of it.

K - I know, right?! Swimming is miraculous. I may get back into it, though I don't know what pool I would use. I'll have to investigate.

MW - You're the best - thank you for your support, always.

Justme - Ditto, you're the sweetest.

Laura - Welcome! Thanks for your comment. It is indeed very heartening to hear that someone is still that active after a knee replacement and a hip replacement!

Hilaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcelle Proust said...

As so often, I'm late commenting here, so I hope you see this. I hear you. Spending so much time with my aged parents makes me feel like I have at least one foot in the grave myself. It's hard to believe I'm actually much younger than they are. I'm hoping this will ease/resolve/yield acceptance at some point.

Maude Lebowski said...

it will take time, but i bet you will be able to get back to running.