This is not about a trip to the ER, but it could have been!
I’ve been raging against all those “if you don’t come out of quarantine without having cured cancer / solved world hunger / negotiated world peace… then you don’t lack time, you lack discipline” posts. I think they’re obnoxious at best and cruel at worst. As someone with ADHD, who has trouble staying on point even in the best of times, I know very well that this is not the time to beat yourself up about not being able to accomplish things. Plus, I’m in a mood, so I’m just going to say it: I don’t find all these people who are proselytizing the benefits of discipline to be all that… interesting? They all seem to be spouting off about learning a new language or coming up with a side hustle, but all they seem to be doing is working on their beach body and posting shit on Instagram that they want you to pay them for. (PS I already speak five languages and I don’t want to hustle—I want to nap.)
Anyway. I’ve been doing a lot of random things, not because I’m disciplined but because I have ADHD, don’t do “sitting still” very well, and the longer I’m stuck at home, the more I’m going to be propelled towards risk-taking behaviors because that’s what happens when I’m bored. I also keep seeing people posting things about, “What a time this is to not have kids,” and to that I say: Oh, hell, no. Everyone without kids (and even many with them) assumes that having kids makes life hellish, especially during “quarantine.” I freakin’ love having my kid around. I really do, and anyone who knows me and has seen us together will attest to that. More to the point, I firmly believe he saved my life in some ways, because it’s my intense love and sense of responsibility for him that prevents me from doing the same kind of risky, stupid shit I did before he came along. I would not now seek out and take a pile of untested ecstasy pills all weekend to ease my boredom, for example. (Oh, yeah, I’ve done that. More than once.) Though I tend to think those of us who lived rather unsavory lives in our earlier days and who had kids later than most have an easier time with this parenthood thing. But that’s another conversation for another day.
I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated at how many people I have to dodge on my three- to four- mile walks around the neighborhood now. On a normal day, even in Summer, there’s never been many people out walking around here. Now, we can’t go twenty feet without passing a gaggle of people on bikes, several strollers, a few families with kids zigzagging slowly across the path, and other groups that you *know* do not live together. I find myself feeling angry and resentful that all these people have invaded my space—a space I have spent years curating for the sole purpose of avoiding people. Quarantine, for me, now means the complete opposite of my ordinary, socially-distant life. Social distancing now somehow means I encounter more people than I ever have, and I hate it.
(I know. I KNOW. I don’t begrudge people getting out and about. I know it’s necessary. I know I am wildly privileged. But at the same time, I have spent much of my life avoiding crowds and groups of people, and this feels invasive to the point of anxiety every time I even think of going out now.)
I have really low blood pressure, and I have the Factor V Leiden gene, inherited (and rampant) in my Dad’s side of my family. It’s a gene mutation that puts us at greater risk of blood clots. Our blood is hypercoagulabile, and there have been a number of people in his family who’ve died or are/have been on blood thinners. I think about this constantly. Not that long ago (but before Coronavirus, which feels like a long time ago), I met a what I guess I can call a long-lost relative on my Dad’s side. She mentioned being on blood thinners and having gotten her first clot at the age of eighteen. Hearing this, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a warning of sorts. A chance to take action. So I started taking longer walks and trying to be more diligent about never skipping a day. But it didn’t feel like enough. So when The Great Quarantine of 2020 came along, I got paranoid about every sensation I felt in my legs as I sat at my laptop for hours on end. If I sat too long and went a day without walking, my calves ached. So I found myself doing what I never thought I would do: I returned to yoga.
That’s a story in itself. I have a long history with yoga, going back to my first class in my early twenties. (I went to a serious Bikram studio in Philly, while my then-boyfriend went to the gym a couple blocks away. We met up afterwards and headed to the bar, of course.) I eventually got my 200RYT and started teaching, which I did for a few years. I was teaching meditation and Yin, having started working towards my 500RYT. But I eventually found myself backing away from yoga, slowly, until I was far enough away that I could deny ever knowing yoga. The reasons why are for another conversaion, but there were many. But now, in the secrecy of my own home, I’ve come back to yoga quietly and have found that I can enjoy it again, as a solo, private endeavor without all the bells and whistles and oms.
I enjoyed the feeling of movement, of pushing myself to small extremes to keep my brain busy. It felt good. And I wanted more.
Some of my best moments in Prague were the hours I spent rollerblading around the parks in Prague. My rebound boyfriend, a Czech vojenský policista (military policeman), who I dated for my last seven months in Prague, didn’t have the patience to wait for me. (He zipped around, always competitive, while I was happy to put my earbuds in and leisurely float around and around.) I listened to the Brazilian Girls a lot during those times. (Apparently the lead singer got pushed out of the band last year, and I will never accept anyone but Sabina singing Pussy pussy pussy marijuana.)
So I decided to buy a new pair of rollerblades last week. I’d been thinking about it for years but, in my usual impetuous way, I went ahead and got some when I decided it was time.
From nineteen to about age twenty-two, I had a boyfriend who was completely wrong for me. (He was really into the fact that he’d gone to Penn State, for starters. He was proud of the fact that he also went to Valley Forge Military Academy, and he was an active alumni. He was really conservative, applied to work for the Virginia Beach Police once, and was desperate to work for the FBI. And he loved football. I’ve only ever watched one Superbowl in my entire life, and it was with him.) BUT, he also played ice hockey, and I loved ice hockey. I liked it because I like ice skating, and because it was fast-paced, and because… yeah, I liked all the fights on the ice. So I dated him, and we often went ice skating, even in Summer. He taught me a few ice hockey moves, and I did a mean crossover… until I got cocky, tripped over my own left foot in a turn, landed squarely on my palm, and slid headfirst into the wall of the rink.
I was worried about my head, but my head was fine. My wrist, not so much, but I went to bed that night thinking I’d just bruised it badly. As I slept that night, several feet of snow started to fall during what is now known as The Blizzard of 1996. It was pretty big. And that morning, I woke up to find my entire lower arm fat and swollen. My wrist was burning. I went downstairs sobbing. My Dad took one look at it and yelled at me, “I thought you said it wasn’t swollen!” The night before, it had not been. So he piled me into his truck and slowly made his way to the closest emergency room. It was only a couple miles away, but it took about forty minutes to get there because of the blizzard.
My wrist was good and broken. I was casted and sent home. (Which, after sitting in the ER while more snow fell for a couple hours, the drive home took more than the forty minutes it had taken to go to the ER.)
A couple years later, I got drunk at an office Christmas party and broke my foot. Interestingly, the bone I broke in my wrist was the navicular bone. The bone I broke in my foot was also the navicular bone.
There’s more to that story than “I got drunk at an office Christmas party and broke my foot,” but you’ll have to wait for a dedicated post for that. It’s a funny story that also just happens to involve a guy who played ice hockey. I ran around on my broken foot for almost a week because I didn’t think it was broken: I have a high pain tolerance, but also… I was drunk a lot, so. I was put in a cast for another eight weeks and had a miserable time of it.
So! So I got new rollerblades this weekend! I tried them out for the first time this past Saturday. “Wouldn’t it be so me to have to go to the ER for a broken bone during a quarantine?” This is the thought that ran through my mind on a loop as I rediscovered my inline skating legs. My son, alternating between his scooter and his bike, and I on my new ‘blades rolled up and down the street outside our house. If the neighbors saw me wobbling and looking completely unfit for rollerblades on my first couple turns down the street, I hope they saw me again fifteen minutes later when I confidently went sailing down the street in a low crouch as my son and I pretended to ride Tron lightcycles.
Are you waiting for the part where I fell and injured myself? I did not fall!…
… not while I was moving, anyway.
After a good half hour or so, The Kid and I decided to take a break and go inside. So I clomped off paved street onto our bumpy, stone driveway. And I stood there, still wearing my rollerblades, patiently waiting as my son gathered his sweatshirt and his bike. AND THEN. As I stood there, completely still (as in, not rollerblading, not shuffling my wheeled feet, and not bopping around), I suddenly, randomly FELL.
I fucking FELL when I was just standing still.
Go ahead, you can laugh. I sure did.
I kept laughing even as I stood up, brushed the dirt off my hands, observed the scratches and dots of blood on my right wrist, and kept on laughing as a caaaaaarefully clomped into the house to gingerly remove my ‘blades cause both my wrists HURT. I iced them, just to be on the safe side. I told The Kid I was fine, just sore… but an hour later I sidled up to my husband and whispered, “Just so you’re not caught off-guard… I might need to go to the ER tomorrow.” That made him nervous because he knows very well that I am not prone to drama, overreaction, or even going to the doctor when I *should.* I tend to have the attitude that as long as I’m conscious and the bleeding stops, I’m fine. (Oh, the stories I could tell!)
I decided to wait and see how my wrists were the next morning. If they were swollen and had that familiar ache, I’d go to the doctor. Lo and behold! I woke up with very, very tender and bruised wrists, but no swelling. Yet another day later (today), the deep purple patterns across the creases of both wrists, the base of both thumbs, and following the arc of both lifelines are truly something to behold! I somehow also managed to bruise the base of my middle finger (ha!) on the top of my left hand.
After helping me in the kitchen because my ability to grip or pick up heavy things is mildly dimished at the moment, my son asked, “So I guess you don’t want to go out rollerblading anymore…?”
Oh, hell yes, kid! I always get right back up on that horse. Always.
I told him I just have to wait a couple days… until the shock-absorbing wrist guards designed for hardcore skateboarders that I ordered arrive. Or maybe I’ll just wrap myself in all the bubble wrap from the zillion boxes that have arrived in the past couple weeks and tape it around every one of my limbs.