Tis’ the Season to Eat Sh*t on the Stairs

What is it about the holidays that seems to accentuate the possibility for bodily injury and harm?  Are we more merry, and therefore less inclined to be wary of potential hazards?  Is it the alcohol?  The parties?  Are we overly distracted by all that needs to be accomplished?  Or is it simply more notable because when you become injured over the holidays it affects the entire season with regard to how you enjoy it?

Two weeks ago I was attending a holiday party at a friend’s house and as I was walking through a gated entryway into a courtyard the entire world tipped itself over and I found myself crashing down onto both of my knees and then face down on the sidewalk.  What the hell just happened?  I sat up, but couldn’t get up.  The pain in my knees and shins was instantaneous,  yet after a few moments I knew nothing was broken.  After a quick assessment of how and why I fell, Dan hoisted me up and I hobbled to the front door.  It turns out there was a very tiny step, about three inches deep right where you entered the courtyard from the gate.  Apparently I missed that step.  My cousin visiting from Michigan was with us and at one point she said, “I’m not gonna lie to you, that wasn’t even a little bit graceful.”

After walking into the party and greeting the hosts, I asked if they had a security camera on their front walkway.  They said they didn’t, but they were curious as to why I would ask.  So I said, “Well, I just ate shit on your front step and I wanted to be sure no one was going to watch that on instant replay or put it on You-tube.”

About thirty minutes later I could feel my heartbeat in my knees.  They were throbbing terribly and stinging like crazy.  I excused myself to the restroom and discovered that I had skinned both knees pretty badly.  I was bleeding under my pants and the skin was already swelling and turning purple and blue with bruises.  I had to mostly sit during the gathering because standing was so painful, and I wasn’t about to draw more attention to myself by asking my hosts for a bag of frozen peas to help with the swelling.  Good times.

After we got home, I grabbed four Advil and two large therapy ice packs from my freezer and got comfortable on the couch.  Dan and my cousin weren’t done having fun yet, so they walked to a local bar to have a few more drinks.  About an hour later I got a text from Dan saying, “I ate shit on a curb in solidarity.  I’m ok.”  It turns out he missed the curb when he was walking home and did a full body yard-sale into the street.  His knees were also skinned and bruised.   We make quite the pair, don’t we?

It’s been two weeks since I fell and the bruising is almost gone.  The skin has healed, mostly, but I still have tenderness in my knees.  The other day I forgot about the injury and tried to kneel down on the wood floor to light the fireplace.  That was a mistake.  I ended up flopping over like I was having a seizure to take the pressure off the injury.  It scared the hell out of my son.

And yesterday, my neighbor texted me that she was at urgent care.  While walking down her stairs she missed a step and took a tumble.  Thankfully, her ankle wasn’t broken but they sent her home in an air cast.  My mother-in-law also recently fell and she did break her knee cap.  Just cracked her patella right in two.  She now has metal screws holding her knee cap together.

So seriously, I think I’m going to start a club.  I need help thinking of a name though, and more members.  A club has to have more than four members.  So if you’ve ever eaten shit on the stairs, we want to hear your story!

Happy Holidays!  🙂

Physical Therapy is Hard

10325771_10152178862025945_3803660742779114138_n[1]If you’ve ever done physical therapy, this won’t come as a surprise to you.

I’ve been in PT for about four weeks now trying to address the issues with my knees.  It’s going well, but it’s painful.  I’m working to strengthen my hips, legs and knees in order to help my knees maintain their alignment and also alleviate the pain associated with the loss of cushioning and cartilage.

My first active session with my therapist was both embarrassing and torturous.

First, she put me through a series of hip and leg exercises that were expected and not all that different from working out with my trainer.  It felt like a workout, but that was good.  Afterwards, she “stretched me out.”  This is where it gets embarrassing.

Like this, except laying on or your back with a therapist looming over you.

Like this, except laying on your back with a therapist looming over you.

She had me lay diagonally across a therapy table, and positioned my legs so that one foot was braced on her shoulder, and the other was bent as far back as possible under the table.  She leaned into me so that my knee was almost touching my shoulder, and she used her body to stretch my other leg back under the table, stretching my quad and hip flexor.  Outside the context of a PT room, this would have looked like some serious girl on girl action.  I was so embarrassed by the positioning, and we were not alone in the room, I had to stare at the ceiling.  I could not look her in the face while we were in this ridiculous position.

Then, with my leg jacked up to my shoulder, she digs her forearm into the top of my other thigh and says, “Your hips are so tight.  Your quads and hamstrings are strong, but your hips are really tight and weak.”

Gasping through the pain of her shredding my muscle with her tiny arms of steel, I said, “No way!  My hips aren’t weak!  My hips are bangin’!”

Just kidding.  I didn’t say that, and my hips aren’t bangin’.  Well, at least not in that way.  My hips are awesome in a good-Midwestern-stock-breeding-hips sort of way.  I actually had a doctor tell me once that I was “good Midwestern stock.”  I probably should have been offended by that at the time.

Anyway, this freaky, painful stretching escapade lasted for several minutes and then she moved me into the same position with the other leg.  At one point I had to put my arm over my face and turn away because I refused to allow anyone in that room to see how much pain I was in.  I kept chanting to myself quietly, “Don’t cry in public, don’t cry in public.   Only candy-ass, wussie girls cry in public!”  The next morning as I was getting dressed, I noticed multiple bruises all over the tops of both my thighs.

I don't know this guy.  It's a stock photo, but an accurate depiction of pervy guy.

I don’t know this guy. It’s a stock photo, but an accurate depiction of pervy guy.

This physical torture has continued for four long weeks.  The stretching has gotten better and less painful, although there is one dude also receiving therapy who seems to enjoy watching my stretching sessions with more enthusiasm than I’m comfortable with. I’m pretty certain he’s a pervert and probably getting off on the visual.  I secretly hope the therapist gives him an extra dig with her elbow when she’s manipulating his muscles.

I wish I could say that I’ve noticed a significant difference between the knee shots and therapy, but so far, it’s mostly the same.  Pain, grinding, and more pain.  My therapist admitted to me that some people don’t experience any pain relief from the shots.  That’s disheartening considering that I only need one more shot to complete the course of my treatment.

So yeah, physical therapy is not for sissies.

I lost my sh*t over a chicken burrito.

1375266_183307995188929_1395468096_n[1]Have you ever had one of those moments when you’re being completely irrational, and you know you are, but you feel so angry and the anger becomes explosive and you just say and do things you know are ridiculous?

Yeah…..that.

I had been to the doctor for another shot in my knee.  I’ve learned that the hours following a shot are very uncomfortable for me.  I experience a significant amount of pain and soreness for about five hours afterward.  For this reason, I schedule the appointments for the late afternoon, then come home and ice my knees.  Prior to the appointment that day I asked Dan to handle dinner.  I would be arriving home right at dinner time and I didn’t want to deal with cooking and waiting on everyone while trying to manage the pain.

10406692_830975753666276_3364626905442317540_n[1]

If I’m being completely honest, I was a little emotional before going to the doctor.  I wasn’t looking forward to it.  The shots hurt.  And in hindsight, I think I just wanted my family to take care of me, instead of being the one who takes care of everyone else.

So, I get home and no dinner is being prepared.   Dan is sitting on the couch with the kids.  I’m starving, sore and starting to get pissed.  I asked him what he planned to do for dinner and he said he was going to order Mexican food.

Fine.

I get my ice pack and get settled on the couch with my knee propped up just so.  Thirty minutes later, Dan is still looking online for a restaurant.  He makes a comment about how he wishes I liked this one particular place that has always been his favorite.  We never order from there because I don’t like their food.  I said, “We can order from there.  I’ll just order something I know they can’t screw up.”  The last time we ordered from this place my dinner was horrible.  And I should mention, that it’s almost become a joke in our family that when we order food, if any order gets screwed up, it’s almost always mine.

So I ask Dan to order me a chicken burrito, with mild green Verde sauce.  Just a basic chicken burrito.  He triple checked my order before he completed the online transaction.  Now he’s super psyched that he gets dinner from one of his favorite places.

By the time the food arrives it’s been over two hours since I got home.  I’m starving and in the throes of my knee pain.  I’m really looking forward to this chicken burrito.

I hobble to the kitchen because it hurts to put full weight on my knee.  I start sorting the containers and handing out food.  The meal Bryce ordered is much smaller than we expected, so he finishes his dinner before I’m done handing out food.  I can’t find my food.  There are two wet burritos.  One with a red sauce, and one with an orange sauce.  Dan ordered the red sauce.  We both realize that my order is wrong.  Typical.

11742696_852734621489780_6998242670582154321_n[1]My anger starts to simmer.

I open the lid and dip a fork into the sauce to see if it’s edible.  Holy shit!  It’s orange fire sauce!  I start choking and gagging as the liquid fire slides down my throat. I involuntarily cry out, “Motherfucker!”  Even Dan, who LOVES spicy food, agreed this sauce covering the burrito was almost inedible.

Dan offered me his burrito in exchange, but I hate red sauce.  It tastes like starch and yucky things.  He gets online to contact the restaurant to tell them they made a mistake and get me the correct burrito.

In the meantime, Bryce is asking for more dinner.  He’s still hungry and there is nothing else in the order that he can eat.  He says he would like some plain pasta.  I look to Dan, expecting him to make the pasta so I can go sit down with some ice, but Dan has his burrito and is on his way to the table where he casually sits down to eat.  He says the restaurant is sending over a new burrito for me.  And he starts eating…

My anger kicks up to another level at this point.  Like, I want to start yelling, but that won’t help the situation, so I tamp it down.  I’m taking deep, calming breaths.

12193414_1335715706533359_6012803108434747774_n[1]I start hobbling around the kitchen, making another dinner for Bryce.  I don’t say anything.  I can’t believe he just sat down to eat his dinner and is watching me limp around the kitchen, cooking, which is exactly what I asked him to help me avoid this evening.  I’m so pissed.  But if I lose my shit, somehow I feel like the asshole.  So I suck it up and make pasta for Bryce.  I have left-over sauce in the fridge, he just needs fresh pasta.  Simple enough.  Except that my knee is throbbing, and I can actually feel my heartbeat in my knee.

I finish making and serving him dinner, and clean up the mess.  At this point, everyone else has eaten, except me.  I go sit down with my ice.  Another 45 minutes later and my new burrito arrives.  And guess what….

It was the same goddamned orange fire sauce burrito they sent me the first time!  I waited over an hour for them to send me the same fucking inferno-burrito!  It’s like this burrito was made in hell, and Satan keeps sending it forth to taunt me!

I yelled.  I cursed.  I slammed cabinets as I limped around the kitchen, re-heating left-overs that I could have eaten over three fucking hours ago when I got home from the doctor.  All I wanted was for someone else to handle dinner so I could sit and elevate my knee and deal with the pain.  I was out of my mind with anger and resentment.  I sat at the counter, eating my shitty left-overs, hating all of them with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

Word.

Word.

When I was done, I limped back to the couch.  It was 8:30pm.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to yell and throw shit.  The anger was a physical pain in my chest and I had no outlet to get rid of it.  I wanted just one member of my family to pay attention to me and care that I was upset.  I looked at the three of them sitting on the sofas.  All of them had their faces buried in their technology.  All of them content, happily fed and taken care of.  I flipped each one of them off.  A prolonged, middle finger stuck in the air, pointed in each of their directions.  I didn’t even care how inappropriate that action was.  Not one of them looked up.  Then I said, “Screw you guys.”  No reaction.  They hadn’t heard me because they were all so self-absorbed with their iPads, iPods and computers.  I think I hate Apple products now.

So I left the room.  Not one of them noticed that I even got up.  I limped upstairs and put myself to bed.  I laid there hating the whole world, lamenting the injustices of being an unappreciated wife and mother, and vowing from the depths of my soul to never wash their dirty underwear again, until I fell asleep.

A few days later we were having dinner with another couple.  The husband starting telling a funny story about how he and his wife got into a ridiculously intense argument over an apple pie crust.  It was in the same vein as my sad tale, so I said, “I completely understand.  I lost my shit over a chicken burrito the other night.”  As I was re-telling the story, Dan had no idea that I’d flipped him off and basically told him to go screw himself before leaving the room.  As I retold this part of the story, he burst out laughing, grabbed me by the face and kissed me at the table in front of everyone.  Then he said, “THAT’s why I love you!”

Apparently he likes his women like he likes his burritos.  Fiery!  😉

This is how I know I’m getting old, Part 2

Several months ago I wrote a post titled, This is how I know I’m getting old.    I talked mostly about how my attitude and perspectives about various things have changed over the years, for better or for worse.

Well, my attitude is not the only thing that’s been changing.  As my 94 year-old Nanny would say, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

Here are a few more tell-tale indicators that I am officially old.

1.  When I was younger, if I had a weird pain in my abdomen I wouldn’t think twice about it and blamed it on the pizza I ate for dinner.  Now, weird pains in any part of my body makes me worry about kidney stones, ulcers, cancer and any number of horrible diseases that seem to be an inevitable part of aging.  I’m 41, and it’s logical to think my shit is going to start falling apart.  I didn’t worry about my liver in my twenties.  Now, with every cocktail, I worry that my liver is 41 years-old and may not appreciate my love of wine and margaritas.  The same holds true for all my other organs.  I think to myself, “Damn, my lower back hurts, I hope my kidneys aren’t about to have a mid-life crisis.”

2. I have sun spots on the back of my left hand, but not on my right hand.  My left hand is my driving hand and the hand that gets the most sun exposure when I’m in the car.  Now I hate myself for not putting sunscreen on that hand before driving every day for the last 25 years.  No one thinks about sun spots or sun damage on their hands when they’re 25!

11195999_s3.  When I was eighteen, my mom warned me that as I aged the elasticity around my eyes would be one of the first things to go.  Her intention was to provoke me into a routine of good skin care.  Thankfully I listened to her, for the most part.  But she was right.  The skin on my eyelids isn’t as tight as it used to be, and I can no longer wear any type of shimmer eye-shadow because it accentuates the loose skin and makes me look like an old hooker.

4. Saggy boobs.  Sigh.  I won’t go into too much detail about this because, you know, TMI.  But I will say two things on this subject.  1. I would kill to have my 25 year-old boobies back, and 2.  Gravity combined with Age is a double whammy of a mother-fucker and I hate you both.

5. More often than I care to admit, I will walk into a room to do something and realize I’ve completely forgotten what I entered that room to do.  My short-term memory is for shit at this point, and it never fails.  I will walk all the way back downstairs and then remember what I walked upstairs to do.  So then I have to walk back up the stairs, which is hell on my knees.  And this leads me to #6…

If you're too young to get this reference, then I feel sorry for you.

If you’re too young to get this reference, then I feel sorry for you.

6. About two years ago, I noticed my knees were starting to hurt when I walked up stairs.  Then it was my ankles.  I went from being able to do jogging intervals during my workouts to low impact incline intervals because my knees and ankles couldn’t handle the impact from jogging anymore.  Also, whenever I bend at the knees or ankles, twist or pivot those joints, everything goes snap, crackle and pop.  The other night my knee popped so loudly it sounded like bone snapping and my husband looked at me and said, “Holy shit, was that you?”  Arthritis runs heavily in my family and my mom and grandmother have both had knee replacements.  After multiple workouts with my trainer that resulted in extreme pain in my knees and ankles, she insisted that I stop ignoring the problem and see an orthopedist.

About two weeks ago I had my first appointment with the orthopedist.  During the appointment I was shuttled between various techs, X-ray,  and the doctor’s physician’s assistant.  At one point, two techs got into an argument over which one of them was to assist me to an exam room.  Here’s how the conversation went:

Tech 1:  I’ll be taking you to exam room 4.

Tech 2:  No, she’s with me in room 6.

(I’m standing in between these two guys who are towering over me.  They’re young, perhaps in their mid-twenties.)

Tech 1:  Are you trying to steal my patient?  She’s with me.

Tech 2:  Dude, she’s with me.  She want’s to be with a better looking guy anyway.

Me:  Boys, settle down.  This isn’t a bar and you don’t need to fight over me.  And by the way, everyone here is good-looking, so that’s not a qualifier.  (I live in LA.  The staff in this doctor’s office all look like they stepped off the cover of some trendy health/fitness magazine.  And the fact that they were arguing over me and I was annoyed by it is further proof that I’m officially old.  It wasn’t flattering.  I wanted to knock their heads together and tell them to grow the fuck up.  See, I’m so old.)

20686060_sThankfully the physician’s assistant came to my rescue and directed me to the room she wanted me in.  When my doctor walked in my jaw almost hit the floor.  He did not look like a distinguished orthopedic surgeon.  As my husband so aptly described it, he looked like a Swedish porn star.  Tall, definitely younger than I expected, athletic, easy on the eyes.  I could imagine him more clearly in a wet suit surfing on the beach or posing in a photo shoot for a men’s health magazine before I would imagine him in an operating room. (I realize this information is completely irrelevant to the topic of my post, but when your doctor looks like he could be working in a strip club, that certainly adds an element of holy-crap-I-have-veiny-legs-and-I-have-to-let-hot-doctor-touch-them stress to the situation.  Hot doctors are not a good thing, and they add to the discomfort of the situation.  I already feel old.  Now I feel old and self-conscious about whether or not I shaved my legs good enough that day.  The struggle is real, folks.)

It's an angry needle.

It’s an angry needle.

He sent me to get an MRI and the results showed that I’ve lost most of the cartilage around my patella/knee caps.  I also have the beginning stages of arthritis in my knees.  The treatment at this point is a series of shots in my knees to replace my joint fluid and lubrication, along with physical therapy.  I almost lost my shit when he asked if I was ready for my first shot.  I’m not thrilled about letting anyone stab me in the knees with a four-inch needle!  So,  I said, “No, thank you.”  He said, “PT is going to hurt like hell if we don’t do this, and it will help alleviate the pain and inflammation in your knees.”

Rock, meet hard place.

So I sucked it up and got the first of six shots.  If you’ve never had a shot in your knee, let me say this….it was unpleasant, but it certainly wasn’t the worst thing I’ve endured.  It was fast and I didn’t scream or curse out loud.  That’s good for me considering I dropped a ‘mother-fucker’ during my mammogram.   But I had to grit my teeth and my back involuntarily arched off the table in physical response to the sensation.  For me, dental shots are worse.  An epidural is worse.  Mammograms are most definitely worse.  And considering I need three shots in each knee to complete the treatment, that’s a good thing.  My knee was sore for the rest of the night and I rewarded myself for my bravery (yes, I’m calling it that) by having wine and sushi for dinner.  It was a treat, and my old, broken-ass deserved it.

In summary…my Nanny was right, getting old is definitely not for sissies.