1. Extensive bruising to knee joint
2. Periarticular fluid build-up, slightly accentuated medially towards the centre
3. (sub-total) rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament
4. Distortion and partial rupture of medial retinaculum as well as medial collateral ligament
5. Bone bruising to lateral condyle of femur as well as discreet bruising to head of tibia
6. Grade 1-2 meniscopatia to inner and outer mensicus
7. Otherwise unremarkable MRI of right knee joint
@ Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011 – 14:58:34
1. Extensive bruising to knee joint
@ Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 – 14:19:15
This injury is shit and the not know what's wrong is the worst of all, but this period of stationary infirmary does have a couple of positive sides (I'm trying really hard...).
Necessity is the mother of invention
With only one working leg and with two arms occupied with crutches that are replacing the non-working leg, I have had to devise new ways of doing just about everything. Hoovering, for example, would seem impossible in such a scenario. But it's really not once you have a chair on wheels - it actually becomes even more fun. Whee!
Crutches are much more than walking aids. They are great for flicking on the kettle when you're sitting at the table two metres away, and for picking up clothes and slinging them away out of sight (my levels of cleanliness are being redefined a great deal). My throwing skills are also improving. Slowly though. Very slowly.
Living in the moment has become a lot easier
Everything takes so much longer and requires so much more attention that I find myself totally immersing myself in entirely banal tasks. Tasks that, in times of normal mobility, are nothing more than enormous irritants that I want to get finished as quickly as possible in order to move on to something more 'important'. Tasks like taking a shower require so much thought and care, and when successfully carried out, provide such smug satisfaction that it will almost be a pity to be returned to full mobility. ALMOST.
Oh, and last night, I spent a long time sitting at my window, watching lightening illuminate the sky, sheets of rain flowing across the road and listening to the thunder's primordial rumblings. It was spectacular, awe-inspiring and petrifying, and I can't imagine that I would have enjoyed it as much had I not been in this state.
I need to work on my lack of neediness
No-one likes asking others for help. Of course they don't. It feels like you're eroding a little bit of yourself when you do.
I think I go a step further. I usually react angrily to people trying to help me, or just irritation if I am feeling uncharacteristically tolerant. Not even my own mother gets to mother me very much, so anyone else that tries usually gets shot down pretty quickly.
So it's good to know that when I actually really do need help, that there are still people who are willing to give it. And just how much they are willing to give is constantly surprising. It's humbling and flattering in equal measure. I'm extremely grateful.
A new (and, surprise, surprise, poorly thought-out) theory hit me while I was considering how little I need from people - maybe this is why I haven't had the best of luck with the fairer sex. I despise gender stereotypes (but ALL men are TOTAL hypocrites so I am going to make one anyway), but the females I have encountered in my life have all had varying degrees of a mothering instinct that, with me, just got pushed back relentlessly. I'm so strange about it that I even feel somewhat odd about people cooking for me. Perhaps this leaves a fundamental part of any partner of mine unfulfilled. Perhaps this is complete bollocks.
Either way, I am going to work hard on being less weird about accepting and asking for help from others.
Um, that's kinda it. There aren't actually very many positives to this at all. But I'm happy I've found these ones. Split up the monotony a bit.
@ Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011 – 12:13:40
I heard a story once about a professional footballer who, during a game, got heavily tackled by an opponent. He heard something crack and panicked, thinking that he had been very badly injured. As he lay there howling, the physios sprinted on and cut off his socks to see that he was entirely uninjured and it was just his shinguard that had snapped. How embarrassing!
What happened to me yesterday while playing footy was a little bit different. When I heard something snap, there was no-one anywhere near me, and I wasn't wearing shinguards. I had just landed very bizarrely on my right knee and felt something shift in a very unpleasant way, like a tent pole sliding momentarily out of its socket with a hollow, gravelly crack, before slotting back into position.
So I panicked. Pain, like love or wisdom, is hard to quantify. In terms of pure physical sensations, it certainly broke some records. As I lay there swearing as loudly as I could (and my sincere apologies to the Kindergarten right beside the pitch), I realised I was pulling my own hair in an effort to displace the discomfort. Next Sunday's half-marathon is out. Next month's in Stockholm too. Probably the three others in October and November too. I roared again.
X-rays showed there was no damage to any of the bones, but the knee being the most complex joint in the human body, feeling relief at that news would be quite disingenuous.
Today I hobbled sweatily to a orthopaedic doc, who wrestled briefly with my stricken limb and seemed content at some movements and less so at others. And mentioned the possibility of surgery. There was talk of an injury to the meniscus. From my reading about it, it can take 2-3 months to even be able to walk properly again, never mind run. This is due to the poor blood supply to the area, which hinders healing. One of its main function is to absorb friction, so it's pretty important for running.
I'm having an MRI on Saturday afternoon to find out for sure what's up, and have banned myself from reading and speculating any more on the topic. Doing so just petrifies me. I can't image life without running. I struggle a great deal with unclear situations - my desire to immediately combat every problem as quickly as possible results in enormous frustration when taking action has to wait.
Of course, there's also the possibility that it's really a lot less serious than I think. Perhaps it's stupid to ask doctors about best-case scenarios, but that's what I've been doing. It could mean only three weeks of rest. I'm a hopeless optimist, but even I can't believe that. It really feels like a fucking bomb exploded inside my knee, even now, over 24 hours later.
One good thing is that my health insurance is finally going to have to start paying for something, after years and years of sucking money out of me with impunity. The bad news is that they'll only pay for the ambulance if the injury turns out to be really bad. If I'm not crippled, I'll have a bill of about €1000 for a five-minute journey. Which sucks. A lot.
Oh well. I'm sure there's something to be learned from all of this. At least I'll have plenty of time over the next weeks to figure out what exactly it is.
@ Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 – 09:00:14
At a party a few months back, I had a boozy discussion about which is the most important: the past, the present, or the future.
I like the past. I'm at peace with everything that has happened to me there, or am at least well on the way to it. The lessons that the past teaches are ones that can only be ignored at your peril. But it is gone, and it is generally not good when it repeats itself. So the past definitely can't be the most important.
The present? Well, it offers a compelling argument in that it's the only one that actually exists. But it's only there for such a tiny, fleeting, barely-comprehensible moment that it's basically the past by the time you realise that there's something you are enjoying about it.
So I decided that the future is the most important. Anything can happen in the future, and I am constantly making plans to make sure that the things that happen in my future are wonderful. I set high standards for myself, standards that I don't always achieve. Sometimes I am disappointed by my failures, sometimes not. I'm always pleased by my achievements. Who isn't?
Then I started reading Freedom From The Known, a book about... well, everything really.
There is one chapter in particular that really got me. It was about the difference between 'pleasure' and 'joy'. Both are positive things, but inherently different from each other.
Joy is what you feel the moment you see a beautiful view, a laughing baby, a pretty flower, a beautiful face full of life, or hear the choral part of Beethoven's ninth symphony or taste a yummy curry or whatever floats your boat. It lasts for an instant and nothing more, and is a completely pure feeling of delight. Pleasure, on the other hand, is your attempts to retain those feelings of joy. As soon as you start to think about joy, it becomes pleasure.
There's nothing at all wrong with the pursuit of pleasure. We all do it, and we'll never stop. The only problem with the pursuit of pleasure is that in pursuing it, we are opening ourselves up to to potential for pain should we fail in our quest for pleasure. As long as there's the pursuit of pleasure, there's the necessity of experiencing pain.
This danger doesn't exist with joy, because you can't pursue it, it just happens. Joy is simply about that one tiny, fleeting, barely-comprehensible moment that is basically the past by the time you realise that there's something you are enjoying about it.
Oh. So it seems that 'joy' can be vaguely equated to 'the present', and 'pleasure', and the pursuit of it, is 'the future'. And, by my own boozily-reached conclusion, I believe that 'pleasure' is more important that 'joy'.
I know I'm not alone in this endless cycle of attempts at achieving pleasure and succeeding only in achieving pain, all the while failing to recognise the joy that is all around. I reckon most people think in a similar way.
So, in an attempt to live more in the present, I have been trying to be more aware of my thoughts when I am simply daydreaming - while running in the park, cycling to work, procrastinating at work, the moments before sleep, standing zombielike in the shower in the morning (although that generally tends to be a rather slow time, thought-wise). And it seems as though I think almost exclusively about the future. Maybe I'll smile at noticing a cute bunny while running through Tiergarten, or get a kick out of a sweet translation, but that experience is generally swallowed up by a wave of brilliant ideas about things I want to achieve in life, or places I want to go this winter, or girls that I want to try to sleep with, or any number of thoughts of potential future pleasure (and pain) that make the present disappear.
I don't know how likely I am to succeed with this project (and, in my desire to succeed at it, it has become a pursuit of pleasure...), but I'm going to give it a shot. I know I'm not going to stop thinking about the future, and, frankly, I don't want to, because the future is full of wonderful, amazing, incredible possibilities that are screaming out to be taken advantage of, but I do want to get more in touch with what the present has to offer.
Final words from Jiddu Krishnamurti, from whom I basically stole this entire blog post:
Living in the present is the instant perception of beauty and the great delight in it without seeking pleasure from it.
@ Monday, Aug. 01, 2011 – 14:58:17
"You know that thing that you Brits and Irish do when you insult yourselves and it's really funny?", asked my housemate (German) as he carefully folded up his undies from the clothes rack.
"Umm, no, what are you talking about?", I respond, baffled.
"You know, you say something negative about yourself and everyone laughs. You do it all the time. You describe yourself as the sweaty Irishman and everyone always thinks you're really cool and funny."
"Oh, you mean self-deprecating humour? Yeah, we do that all the time."
"So how does it work?"
"Umm, I guess you just say something silly about yourself, never anything too weighty. It's a nice icebreaker, and shows you don't take things too seriously."
"Hmm, I don't know if I can do it."
"Sure you can, it's easy. Just be silly."
"Alright, well, how about this: I'm even stupider than you. Was that good?"
"No. No, it really wasn't good at all. I think we may have to end our lessons in self-deprecating humour right here."