My fellow bloggers understand this community and the value of the friendships we’ve formed. Like me, you’ve probably seen bloggers come and go, sometimes with no word, leaving you wondering. I appreciate it when writers give a head’s up that they’re shoving off.
Still, when one of my longest-running blog buddies gave the ol’ WordPress farewell, I cried a little. It felt like a death, which I admit is kind of ridiculous, but I was devastated. Chatter Master has been almost like a mom to me (Almost, Mom! I said almost!) and a surrogate Sensei, since she’s a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo. (It took years for me to learn this amazing, unexpected fact!) Also, that means she outranks my sensei. Heh heh. Her encouragement with my martial arts struggles took her loveliness and wisdom to a new level.
Bossy Babe has also left us. To this I maturely responded in the comments with a string of “Nooooo!!!”s. Comparatively, I only knew her a short time, but I sure enjoyed her company. She also led me to Stuart, who in turn led me to Cindy, so I’m eternally grateful.
After much back and forth internal debate, some soul-searching, lengthy discussions with Hubby, late-night consultations with a priest who doubles as an exorcist (that last part was particularly important), I decided to send Sensei a link to my last post.
On January 9, I finally saw a specialist about the Jiu-Jitsu accident that happened September 29. He took one look at my foot and said, “You’ve got Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which can happen after a surgery or trauma.”
According to Wikipedia: “CRPS is any of several painful conditions that are characterized by a continuing regional pain that is seemingly disproportionate in time or degree to the usual course of any known trauma or other lesion.”
In other words, I developed a condition that means taking a stupidly long time to heal.
He knew it on sight from the discoloration of my foot. Brace yourselves, I’m including a pic.
In keeping with my theme of titling the post “Crazy with a [color] belt” every time I earn a new Tae Kwon Do rank, I’ll just amend this one slightly since it was my daughters, not me. I could say “Not Crazy with a Brown Belt,” but since they’re my children, some of the crazy is bound to have been passed on to them.
A new belt means a belt ceremony, which means: baking something special!
How many of you just cowered a little in fear or internally groaned “Oh no”?
Thank you for knowing me so well.
Since this happened just before Christmas, what better than gingerbread men? And what better still than NINJA gingerbread men? Perfect, right?
Here’s what the ninjabread men look like on the package:
No, not wear mismatched socks; although, yes, that. My right foot can wear normal socks; the left requires larger fluffier socks. And doesn’t it deserve that?
For the first time since I was… what?… seven months? When do kids stand for the first time? I should know this. Anyway, I discovered I can put my foot down.
And keep it there.
I’m standing on my own two feet again.
For a few seconds before it starts hurting. But still! Progress!
Several of you have inquired how my healing is going, and my answer has pretty much been: it’s not. Since many of you also comment that I’m great at keeping my chin up, I haven’t wanted to talk about my struggles and let you down.
It’s really not so bad, but maybe the worst is when I dream that I can walk and then within my dream am like, “Oh. Wait.”
Or when watching something and thinking, “Wow. That person can walk!” Or seeing pics of my younger self as, “back in the good ol’ days when I could walk.”
Which is sort of dumb since it’s only been months, not years. And these are not complaints or “where are my tissues?” thoughts. They’re just a shift in perspective that makes me sooooo not take walking for granted. When I can actually do so again, it’s going to be uh-mazing!
On our recent family trip to the zoo, I saw an old lady also in a wheelchair. As we rolled past each other, I wanted to double tap my chest and extend a peace sign in solidarity. But she probably would’ve thought/discovered what a weirdo I am.
Before Christmas, we went to a shopping center that had a huge Christmas tree strung with lights that impressively changed color in time with festive music. There was also a machine blowing bubbles for kids, including mine, to prance around in and pop.
I sat nearby in my wheelchair, remarking to Hubs that I felt like a 90-year-old watching her great grandchildren. All I needed was a quilt across my lap.
Actually, that would’ve been nice. It was kind of chilly.
Actually, I’m iffy on the sordid tales part, but we’ll see where this post takes me.
Ally Bean sometimes shares reader comments in her posts, which I think is a great idea. I’ve never done it, but Andrew’s comment on my wheelchair post deserves a wider audience. In his hilarious “Friday Wisdom” style, he wrote:
“My brother is a long time wheelchair user and I’m an outstanding wheelchair wrangler so here are a few tips for a better life with a wheelchair:
Get the foot rests. You can point them straight out and use your chair to ram things, doors, chairs, children, etc.
Carpet your walls – this hides the damage better.
Furniture is for people who don’t have wheelchairs – remove the pieces you don’t need.
Upgrade your baseboards to stainless steel, you won’t have to repaint as often.
Never let your husband push you when he’s mad at you. You’ll end up having your feet smashed into a door frame and will have to start the healing process all over again.
There are wheelchair races and other sports to consider – the martial arts version is just to learn how to use the foot rest as a weapon (it’s easier than you think and why I have a slight limp in my left leg).
Try going backwards in the chair. Then you can use your good leg to kick yourself down a hallway at high speed and if you crash, it won’t be feet first. [Editor’s note: so wise!]
You do need more stickers and perhaps a flag. One of those bike flags is nice, but do something custom with it – maybe a Jiu Jitsu flag or one of your belts.
And finally, laundry with a wheelchair is a snap, just put the laundry basket on your lap, point you back towards the laundry room and start kicking with your good foot. After you crash, you, the laundry and your chair will be right next to the washing machine.
If you need other tips, call me, I’m here for you.”
Andrew IS here for me when I need a good laugh. Thanks, Andrew!
“Your wheelchair reminds me of when I was going through chemo. My husband got a wheelchair so he could take me to the mall and I could see the Christmas decorations (just too weak from chemo to walk a great distance.) We were coming out of the mall and my husband was hanging on tight to the wheelchair as we had to go down a slight incline. A grandmother with her little grandson (probably 7 or 8) were approaching as we were going down. The little boy looked at my husband and said, “Let go of her.” His grandmother immediately tried to hush him, but my husband and I had a good laugh.”
Ah, kids. Such little stinkers!
Okay, I do have a couple of “sordid” tales for you. First, this very rude Wordle:
I’m pretty sure that’s what Juliet would’ve said if she’d more wisely fallen in love with martial arts than that Montague guy. I’ll bet things would’ve turned out better for her. Oooh! Oooh! New book series idea: Shakespeare but with martial arts! Who wouldn’t want to read that? We’ll still keep any and all swordplay, however, because swords are awesome.
Anyway… I’ve only sat in on Jiu-Jitsu twice since The Incident two and half months ago. That’s because I’ve been relying on Sensei to go with me for safety reasons (after dark, on crutches). His availability has been sparse. But this past Monday, I told myself I was going with or without him.
For reasons I can’t quite parse out, I was nervous about going back. It’s been so long. Why should I bother? What’s the use? Are the guys going to get tired of asking how I’m you doing followed by some sentiment like “Hope you get better soon”? It’s dark and cold out. Wouldn’t I rather be at home where it’s warm and light?
All those thoughts were running through my mind as I waited for my girls to finish Taekwondo. As in the good old days, Hubby picked them up after class, so I could scoot directly to Jiu-Jitsu. Still, I could just follow them home if I wanted to wuss out.
Then Sensei came out of the gym. “Last chance to come with me to Jiu-Jitsu,” I said.
“Rain check. But I can follow you over there if you like.”
“Okay.” The gyms are close to one another, so I wasn’t putting Sensei out much.
As I pulled into the parking lot, the sight of the bright lights, broad windows, and gi-clad students inside the dojo made me smile. That old warm feeling of “Ahhh, Jiu-Jitsu” returned.
Sensei parked near me and escorted me to the door.
“Were you afraid no one would see you and open the door for you?”
“I don’t know, maybe,” I shrugged. “This is just easier.”
When he pulled the door open for me, I immediately heard “Hey, Betsy!” from Instructor.
“Hi!” I said and shot a quick smile back to Sensei by way of thanks. Apparently it wasn’t enough, or he was making sure I was all right. He walked along the sidewalk outside, in the opposite direction of his car, while I headed to the benches inside. I met his eye through the window and gave him a big toothy grin, hoping that would suffice for a farewell, since I couldn’t exactly wave. (I didn’t bring the wheelchair because crutches are easier to get around on.)
First, I was on crutches. Then, a friend asked if I’d like to borrow her knee scooter. Sweet armpit relief! Plus, the scooter meant having a hand free to carry stuff rather than relying on family members to take my mug to my desk or my food to the table. Forget about carrying a laundry basket! (I actually enjoy doing laundry. Don’t judge.)
This knee scooter has the added benefit of motivating my son to go to bed if I promise him a ride to his room.
Note: the pics have nothing to do with the story (until the end) but add a little levity, I hope. 🙂
The Saturday after Thanksgiving is an excellent time to get a procedure done. I was worried about finding close parking (wish I had a handicap sticker hanger thingy), or any parking, but the lot was all but empty. Score!
When a technician asked what I had done to my foot, I explained it was a martial arts injury. More details appeared to me needed. “Jiu-jitsu,” I replied. More still. “I sort of bent it backwards toward my leg.” And yet more. “It was a double leg takedown.” For the record, this person did not have the air of someone who does or knows much about martial arts.
Later I overheard this conversation being relayed to another technician who laughed at “double leg takedown.”