Thursday, September 15, 2005

All right, now push against me...

How many times did I hear than between 5 and 7? I don't honestly know. Hundreds? Perhaps. Thousands? Possibly.

Now why am I hearing this?

I was born with a spastic Achilles' tendon. Spastic enough and short enough that it would have landed me in a wheelchair at 14 or so, had it not been repaired. Repair? Nothing much, just going in, cutting it, and reattaching it elsewhere. Recovery? Not much, just six months in a full-leg cast, a year in a half-leg, then time in rehab.

So, at the age of 5, my medical file grew a bit deeper. It was already inches thick, this just added another one or two. Cut, stitch, replace. Cast, rehab, hope.

One fine day, cast was finally removed, and I could finally have a leg without plaster poundage. But, one problem. When a body part is immobilized, the muscle around it atrophies- no use. My right leg was fine. My left? Half-size, if that.

Enter Dr. Monk, Chicago. Enter also the "Push against me" command, twice a week, for a full year. Slowly, the mobility and strength came back, with lots of stretching, swimming, and therapy. That left would never be the right's equal, but it could do the job.

Over time, I caught unimaginable hell for that leg. Teasing the likes of which most people have never seen. But, I endured. High school, my gym teacher, also the assistant football coach, introduced me to weightlifting. Suddenly, most of the teasing stopped. Curling 20s like air, pressing 300 on the legs like a feather and benching 150 seemed an effective deterrent- the high school equivalent of mutually assured destruction.

Yet, there was still one lingering aftereffect, beyond the limp I have had since the operation- a fear. Heights and falling. Both are related, as I instinctively treat that leg a little differently- it's betrayed me before.

That largely ended on the last camping trip I went on, on that hill I have mentioned before. Thinking logically, that hill is more than I can do. I shouldn't have even tried. Yet, I had to. Last stand, last hand, last card, just me and Doyle Brunson, staring each other down across the green velvet at Binion's.

The time came to finally push all in, and see what happened. Pocket Kings, Queen, nine, five and Ace on the board. The leg? Pocket Jacks. Last card, that fell when I crested that hill? A King. Game over, three Kings beats Kings and Jacks.

I win.


Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

You have worked hard-- threw your whole soul into it-- and should be proud of every gain you have made. I know that I am proud of you. :-)

9/18/2005 1:26 AM  
Blogger Bougie Black Boy said...

DAMN. that was an excellent write-up! you cease to amaze me! you're my american idol for this week!

9/19/2005 9:07 PM  
Blogger Tirithien said...

I cease to amaze you? :-p

9/20/2005 9:21 AM  
Blogger Tirithien said...

A sad life it must be if you cannot allow yourself dramatic license. AN equally sad life it must be if you cannot allow someone else the same. Goodbye.

9/20/2005 4:50 PM  
Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

I think his/her dramatic license must have been revoked for lack of use. It expired. It is an ex-license. It has ceased to be.

9/21/2005 10:20 AM  
Blogger Tirithien said...

It is dead! It is no more!

9/21/2005 1:25 PM  
Blogger Tirithien said...

"Pre-medical student" happens to mean this. Bachelor's in Biology with Honors, medical school in the fall. Nice try.

9/21/2005 3:44 PM  
Blogger Tirithien said...

Fall '06. Never said THIS fall, did I? Get that reading comprehension working. ;-)

9/22/2005 3:40 PM  

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