I thought I could manage today. Despite getting up and trying every day, some days are simply unmanageable.
I woke up in pain, as usual. But something about this morning’s pain was different. Sharper, more present in some way. I got ready to go to the pool out of habit. My lower leg felt like a cinderblock that was being chipped at by a pick axe.
It’s OK, I thought. It will loosen up once I get in the water and start moving.
I have a system for getting in the water. If I have a lane to myself, I go to the deep end. I put my left foot in the water, then my right. I circle my ankles away from each other, then toward. I make gentle bicycling movements with my right leg. I hold onto the block handles and ease my body into the water. Facing the wall, I put my feet up, hold on, and stretch my lower back and hamstrings. I turn and stretch my shoulders. While stretching my shoulders, I revisit the bicycling motions with my leg. And then I start to swim.
So, like all mornings, I followed my routine this morning. But, my ankle and outer lower leg, instead of dissipating into the familiar dull widespread ache that I can clench my teeth through, started to burn and ache more pointedly (for lack of a better word). I still thought it would work itself out.
I pushed off the wall with my left leg, as always. I started to swim. Something was definitely not working properly in my leg. My lower leg had no buoyancy and just sort of noodled around beneath me. By the first 25 yards, a hot poker was lodging itself under my medial malleolus and the giant hand was tearing at my fibula. With every attempt at a kick, the pain became sharper, hotter, more specific. One hundred yards in, I had a needle driving itself into my calf. I tried to circle my right ankle several times at the end of each length of the pool.
A swim just wasn’t going to happen today. I had to stop after five minutes. I swam 250 yards before easing myself out of the pool. I hobbled over to the nearest deck chair and sat there for 45 minutes with my leg elevated in the air, touching nothing.
I eased my foot into it’s brace, hobbled to the car, went home, and remained in bed ( with nothing- except for the thousands of imaginary bees- touching my leg) for the rest of the day.
Yoda would be proud not.