25 December 2013
All I Want For Christmas Is...
Yesterday’s Christmas Eve Mass, where my contemporary church band plays our annual pre-Mass concert, was a celebration of faith and music, joyful, uplifting, and a lot of fun to boot. Today, the gifts are all unwrapped, there is far too much chocolate in the house, our stomachs are uncomfortably full from a fine dinner, the brother-in-law and charming spouse have departed, and all are sated. Further, the ratty old Santa hat has absorbed its annual allocation of sweat over the last few days’ runs, usually to the delight of passing motorists, though today, oddly, on Christmas Day itself, they were mostly silent Grinches. No accounting for logic, but it’s all good.
Good running stories have been few and far between since I haven’t raced since Boston, and good running itself has been hard to reach since ratcheting down the training over the summer, August’s Big Slice, September’s Clot City, and the aftermath. While I managed both last month and this one to bump up over a hundred miles, I’m still up a few pounds, still pedestrian in pace, still fighting plenty of pain in the Achilles that I’d hoped would be fixed by now, and worst of all, feeling stiff as a board. It’s times like this that I have to admit I’m halfway to a hundred years old, and the second half of my life probably won’t be as easy breezy as the first.
Until yesterday, I hadn’t touched the stuff since mid-August. You have to lay off anything that stuff for a week or so before surgery for the simple reason that it’ll make you bleed worse when they slice you open, which is generally viewed as a bad thing. Then, based on the nature of the surgery, where the intent was to cause inflammation around the injured tendon to promote healing, you have to lay off the stuff afterward as well. And then, when you win the jackpot and land in the hospital with clots in your lungs, resulting in a three-month sentence of consuming Drāno to clear your pipes, anti-inflammatories are strictly verboten. Again, it’s highly frowned upon to bleed to death, so this is good advice. Except that four months later, especially when your training is seriously interrupted, this makes you feel, well, fifty. It makes you wonder how the rest of the fifty-year-olds who don’t do what you do feel like every day. No wonder they complain.
Lady Doc had told me that three months into the rat poison regimen, we’d run an ultrasound on my legs to be sure they weren’t growing any more unsightly clumps. Not that this would assure complete go-forward safety; nothing can do that, but this would, at least, lay to rest major concerns of a newly emerged clot-factory still at work now that the post-surgical laid-up lifestyle had passed into the past. So two weeks ago I trundled off to my oh-so-familiar local hospital where by now, after months of weekly blood tests, I’m on a first name basis with much of the central registration staff, to see what my lower veins looked like.
Combining this with the fine, if not somewhat painful efforts that Jon, my latest purveyor of what he likes to call Diabolical Physical Torture (apparently that’s what the “DPT” in his title means) has been applying over the last couple of weeks, there is, I am hoping, some light at the end of the tunnel during these short dark days. He’s worked out a lot of the issues with the rest of the ankle that have crept in while I’ve babied the Achilles. Unfortunately, no such luck yet on the Achilles itself. Both he and Dr. Foot Doctor just say patience. (Silly them, to think I could really be patient?) There’s still a big part of me that wonders if all this Achilles repair/recovery was worth it, since, after all, it still hurts. But at least, for Christmas, I can start to make the rest of me feel a little better.
Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good White (Pill).