Wednesday, June 1, 2016
If I Were a Horse
The better run-up was blocked by fancy, Adirondack-style chaise lounges.
The one I decided to use was short. That meant I would have to throw everything I had into the spring to gain enough height to complete the somersault into the pool. I had to hit the deck hard and spring harder before curling into a tight ball for the flip. (Never mind the age-inapproriateness or the show-off motives of the act.) So I ran, lifted a leg to set up the spring, bounced hard with both feet, and then lifted off the wooden deck with a crack of the wood and a pop of the tendon. The two reports were so close together that no one beside me noticed them.
I spun, opened, and hit the deep water knowing that I had done something very bad to my leg. My foot hung loose at the end of my right leg. Not so good.
The implications would become clear over the next days: no driving, no walking, no bike riding, no swimming, no carrying, no weight on the leg, and nights of deep pulses of pain.
The Achilles tendon had ruptured completely, and I was now pretty much good for nothing beyond hobbling. If I were a horse, they would shoot me. But I am not a horse. If I were teaching, I would have to go on disability. But I am not teaching right now.
What I do have is one day at a time to figure out how best to respond to an injury that in other situations might be the end this crazy life. So I play the game of health-care, laying my insurance cards on the table, betting that surgery and an MRI will be worth the promise of mobility by summer's end. I will have to start over, to get back into shape, to re-schedule work on the house in New Mexico.
But mostly I have to learn again that there are no givens in this life, that run-ups can seem workable until things go bad, that a small bit of tendon can change the trajectory of what is possible. The days that were so full are now open, empty, and waiting.
That's a chance and a problem horses were not lucky enough to have.