Monday, March 12, 2012

Gimma a Break

Arg, terrible title!!  I know, I know.  I just couldn't think of anything else.  Feel free to offer suggestions.  Anyway, to the point:  

There is this fantastic book called The Name of the Wind.  In it, a boy is learning the names of all things because with a name, you can call something and (if you know what you are doing) you can control it.  Early in the book there is a scene where he foolishly calls the name of the wind, believing that he can control the wind like he controls his breath.  Naturally, what follows is a very, very near death experience; he is saved by someone who knows better than to believe that you can control the power of the wind with something so flimsy and weak as the human lung.  But in those moments before he is saved, the boy experiences a feeling like all of the air in the world has been sucked away.  No matter how he tries to breath in, he can't. 

The first time I read the book (yes, I have read it more than once; it is one of the few books that I can say that about, and I will even go so far as to say that I intend to read many, many more times), I remember thinking that I could not even imagine feeling like that.  But, that was before I fell and broke my rib.  Like you do. 

Well, not like you do.  Like I do. 

At this point, the fact that I have broken a bone should not be particularly interesting to my audience.  In fact, this may sound vaguely familiar, like perhaps I wrote about it before.  Well, that's because I did.  A year ago, actually.  You may recall, however, that last year it was my wrist (some stupidly tiny bone in my wrist that apparently was connected--well and still is--to everything in my arm so I had to wear a hot pink cast up to my armpit.  There was a picture; feel free to look back and find that)  and now this year it is my rib.  Also an obnoxiously small bone, broken in a completely freak way, that seems destined to take an ungodly long time to heal. 

Yeah, that is the other AWESOME thing.  Rib bones take months to heal.  I know this because my sister-in-law (the medical doctor) informed me of this yesterday.  Me: "How long is this going to take to heal?  Like a week?  I mean, it is not a very big bone."  Her (in a totally nonchalant yet somehow amused voice, like I had asked her the funniest but stupidest question in the world): "Weeks.. no months. Yeah, those things take forever." 

^*#@(^$ SWEET!!! 

You will recall from earlier this year: I am not a patient person.  In that post I mostly talked about how I am not patient with other people, but the truth is that I am even less patient with myself.  Sometimes that can be a good thing: I don't let myself make too many excuses, and I tend to get things done.  On the other hand, there are some things--like healing bones--that I really have no control over, but I get really upset with myself anyway.  That is sort of where I am at with this whole broken rib thing: I just want it to be healed already.  It is not fun. It's making me angry.  And it is taking the fun out of running.

There is a reason that I started with that little back story about the boy who tried to control the wind with his lungs.  As I said, I could not previously imagine that feeling of trying to draw in breath and finding that nothing would come.  Now, however, I sort of get it.  Yes, obviously I can breathe somewhat, otherwise I would be dead (I am not that kind of doctor, but even I know that), but the breaths I can take are shallow and painful.  Like the boy in the story, I can feel the wind there but I can't pull it into my lungs; what I can feel is something more like desperation, because without oxygen, it is hard to keep my body moving.  My muscles need the air, and I just can't deliver it. 

It is not only desperation but immense frustration that I feel.  Frustration with my body for being breakable, and for proving that fact to me over and over.  Not that I necessarily expect to be perfect, but I have had sort of a lot of broken bones for a person who doesn't exactly live a high-risk life style.  Except that somehow I do.  I have terrible, terrible bones; which makes no sense to me because I do all the things that you are supposed to do to stay strong (eat dairy, lift weights) and yet it makes no difference to what is clearly the balsa-wood bone structure holding me together. 

I know that this broken bone will not last forever, that I should be happy it wasn't worse, and that I can run at all.  I AM happy that I can run, I swear that I am (well, now that I can run; I was forced to take last week off, which nearly ended in death and destruction--thankfully that crisis was averted).  Yes, it hurts and yes I am slower than I would like to be, but I can get out there and that is better than nothing.  Trailing my husband for the first time in years didn't feel awesome on Saturday, but I will live.  I know that in time I will heal and blah blah blah.  In the meantime, however, it is uncomfortable and annoying and a bunch of other words that don't mean "good times."  I guess it is, however, sort of what I do. 


  1. What I read was, "I need a vacation to Vermont". Is that what you wrote?

  2. Yes! It pretty much is exactly what I was trying to say!!


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