I’ve mentioned this before, but perhaps the biggest adjustment in switching from a nights-and-weekends work schedule to a Monday-thru-Friday, 9-to-5 schedule has been learning how to properly pace myself. Now that I’m actually available at the same hours that my friends are available, I tend to overcommit myself. I’m getting a little better at saying ‘no’ to things and people, but probably not good enough.

About two weeks ago I was reaching my emotional limit. On top of being angry about my cousin’s fate, I was stress out and overwhelmed with my to-do list and meeting load at work. I would come home and seemingly never have time to just sit and rest. There was always chores to be done, friends to see, plans to make and emotions to be felt. I found my head in a dark place more than once. If ever I really needed a break, now was the time, but I certainly couldn’t seem to find the time to take that break.

It almost seems like a cliche, but my body has found a way to force me to slow down. Twice.

First up was a 48-hour stomach bug that managed to stretch across a three-day period. Having not worked in a large office for the better part of a decade, my body was not ready for the mobs of germs that come from working around a lot of people. As dirty as the Modern Dogs are, working around them hasn’t done much to steel up my immune system. Unfortunately, the bug hit when I was buried under deadlines and projects at work and right before I was scheduled for a three-day work trip to New Jersey. That’s how it works, right? I spent two days at home and was fairly worthless at the office for a third day. I still made it to NJ, but spent much of my free time there trying to catch up with work and was dead by the time I got home.

Did I take time to rest after all that? Of course not.

I did start working through my to-do lists, both professional and personal, and one of the items on that list included a trip to the orthopedic doctor to get the pain in my lower left leg checked out. In my attempt two months ago to get back into a solid running routine, I may have overdone it a bit. I developed some pesky shin splints back in October and have spent the time since alternatively resting, icing, compressing and attempting again to run. The pain disappeared from my right leg but only grew worse and more persistent in my left leg. It was only searingly painful in the mornings or when I’d do something to jar it. The rest of the time it was just mildly annoying.

Without ordering an MRI, the doctor could only say it was either a stress fracture or something close to it. The only way to cure a lower-leg stress fracture or something close to it is rest. The only way to properly rest your lower leg is to keep your foot at a 90-degree angle to your leg, and the best way to keep your foot in a 90-degree angle is to put it in a walking boot. So for failure to correctly rest my injury from the get-go, I’ve been sentenced to a month in the walking boot.

Wearing the boot is a funny thing. It makes my injury look so much worse than it actually is. It’s eliciting so much sympathy and conversation from many of my co-workers, some of whom have never spoken to me before. It’s keeping me from getting out and doing the last of my Christmas shopping. It’s causing other parts of my body to hurt more than my actual lower leg. It’s forcing me to think out every move I make, every chore, every route, since all movement takes twice as long with it on. In short, it’s making me slow down.

me in the boot me, booted, ambivalent

Maybe the funniest thing of all is that my humor has significantly improved in the couple of days I’ve been wearing this darned thing. When I dropped off a pile of clothes at the dry cleaners this morning, I asked the guy at the counter how he was doing today. ‘Not as bad as you are,’ he said eyeing the boot. I smiled and told him it wasn’t as bad as it looked, but all I could think about though was how cloudy I was feeling two weeks ago and how much better I feel now. I’m not quite ready to say I’m grateful for the boot, but maybe the lining is a little tinted with silver.

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10 Responses to Booted

  1. A.B.Monk says:

    I hope your leg is feeling better now. It’s funny how it became such a conversation topic at your new job.

    • Thanks! The crazy thing is, my leg doesn’t seem to hurt as much now, but all the appendages outside of the boot are making themselves known. The boot makes you walk so ridiculously that it strains so many other muscles and joints.

  2. Katrina (you know, THAT one...) says:

    I’m going to say that I’m glad the boot slowed you down before panic attacks or something worse did!

    You know, I’ve been on crutches three times in the last three years, and you’re totally right – the silver lining is the slowing and the humor. This last round, I spent a month in a wheelchair, then a month on the crutches. And THEN I got to recount my melanoma story (now honed to perfection like a comic’s routine) and horrify the masses with disgusting photographic evidence!!! It actually bordered on FUN. Shocking.

  3. Lola Alapo says:

    “Maybe the lining is a little tinted with silver” is a good start. I love your perspective on all this. Hang in there and milk all the sympathy you can get because of said boot. Maybe you might even get some sympathy chocolates out of this, hmm? 😉

    • Funny you mention chocolate. When I told the Modern Love Machine of the diagnosis, I said, “I don’t know what’s stressing my leg out so much. Maybe it needs more chocolate.” 🙂

  4. Mel says:

    Oh man, speedy healing wishes to you!

    I’m curious about shin splits because in all my years of long-distance running and hurdles and beyond, I’ve never suffered. Until, well, NOW. I’m wearing New Balance with insoles that were fitted to my feet, but I can’t understand how to prevent and/or HEAL. This training regimen, which I need to increase my endurance for skating, is screwing me for skating, because I feel like my shin bones are going to push right through the front of my leg while I’m on skates. *sigh*

    Help? lol

    • Like you, I have no idea how to prevent them. What causes them for one person won’t cause them for the next. Maybe you should not do what I did and go see a orthopedic doctor sooner rather than later? Surely you’re on a first-name basis with one by now 🙂

  5. Jessica says:

    Oh man, I hope the leg heals quickly! But I loved your post on FB with the lights wrapped around it 🙂 Girl you got style.

    I also hear you about your body shutting itself down when you do too much. That happened after France and it was BAD. So sick for days, but I did get to rest, so I guess, mission accomplished. Heal fast!

  6. sparkling74 says:

    The body is a bitch, isn’t it??? I too have suffered with a running injury and was sideline for almost a year with the left and ankle and when that was better, the right one had to chime in. I wasn’t anywhere near as nice to the right one, so I paid the price and thought for sure I was just one millimeter away from a giant achilles tear. I had to get the MRI. Just weak ankle ligments and THANK GOD, no boot. Just icing, behving myself and not doing things to aggravate it. I had already mentally prepared for theboot and what I would not be able to do (drive!) and how I was going to negotiaate with the ortho. It did make me slow down. 10 minutes of ice every morning will do that!

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