Monday, April 4, 2016

It's Actually Real (+ a little emotional rant)

     I never thought I would willingly go back onto crutches, but I did, I have. Let me tell you, this knee surgery sucks so much more than the first one. It is honestly so painful that I will opt back onto crutches, the pure demon sticks that they are, just to get rid of some of the pain that I have been feeling. To say it hurts doesn't even cut it. My knee is the size of a cantaloupe, it has massive incisions all down the sides and it is so discolored that if I were to draw myself with crayon I would most likely have to use bright shades of green, yellow and purple on my knee, as normal "skin tones" just wouldn't cut it. Granted, this was a much longer surgery and I opted to do it without strong medication but let me tell you, right now I wish I was back home in the comfort of my living room. Just walking to the computer lab and back today was painful. I told myself, I can do it, it is not too bad. Wrong. One awkward step and I got from feeling great to miserable. Nothing is wrong,  I haven't injured anything else, it's just that there is so much swelling that it is nearly impossible to move my leg normally, putting more strain on places that have to work to keep me moving. Essentially, my knee freaking hates me right now, and I don't blame it.
     To be honest, I didn't think it was real for the longest time. After my second surgery on Friday I actually felt great. I was up and moving around my house with very little pain and no crutches. I thought this recovery would be a breeze. I mean, I think (thought?) I heal pretty quickly but today it hit me, and it hit me hard. I hope that this won't be a set back. They say that the biggest part of recovery is your mental state, and let me tell you, right now my mental state is basically non-existent. I'm just drained. Between school and this surgery, I hurt, in more ways than one. Sure, I'm done with my senior seminar and I am beyond pleased with that, but I would have liked to enjoy it minus knee brace and crutches.
     I don't get homesick, heck I call Saint Mike's home. But right now I want nothing more than to be home. You don't really realize how much you miss home until you are in a situation like this. Sure, I'll stick it out and put on a happy face, but guys, it hurts. I sit in bed for hours with my knee up and with ice on it, hoping just for a little bit of relief and normalcy. It normally lasts for about 10 minutes and then goes back to pain. Even the simplest of tasks like walking to the door of my bedroom are hard because I can't move my leg correctly without pain. It drains you. It is so discouraging to live in fear of movement because you don't want the pain associated with it.
     Through it all, I keep thinking "why me" as many people have probably thought the same before. I think what did I do wrong? I replay the exact moment when I screwed up my knee for life over and over in my head just to see if there is something that I could have done differently to avoid the fate that I would succumb to. I think of what it was like to be "normal", one where walking into your kitchen to get a bite of food wasn't an internal struggle of convincing myself that yes, I am actually hungry and that yes, my hunger burns deeper than the pain I might feel in my leg. For a while I hated everything, especially rugby as it is what caused me this pain in the first place. I hated that after almost four years of playing uninjured I ended up with the kiss of death by athletes standards. I hated that I missed my shot at All-Conference, I hated that I wasn't able to play with my teammates one last time and I envied the people that made playing the game look so effortless while I struggled to even bend my knee. For a while I just wanted to shut off from it all. No more rugby for me, that was it. But in times of feeling like pure crap, I appreciated so many more parts of the game. I was able to put on a different hat and look at the game through a different angle. I now have the ability to be called a "coach", something that I didn't know was possible and probably wouldn't have known without this injury. It's an appreciation for all the crap that I put my body through for years. At times I thought my body literally hated me for making it play just one more minute in a game instead of staying down after a tackle, but for some reason I always got up from the ground, no matter how bad it hurt.  I think rugby is a game of resilience, and for me to call myself a rugby player, I have to be resilient. Sure, I miss it every single day and I cannot wait for the day that I can get back out there and play, but that won't be for a while. I think it is one of those things where I just have to roll with the punches and hand what life gives me. If life gives you multiple surgeries in a matter of months, you just have to take the scars, screws, crutches and random pieces of metal and roll with the punches.
     It hurts. It really does. And is this a long-winded rant while I am in a very emotional state? Yes of course. As for where I'm going with this, I'm not entirely sure. I thought about connecting it to SMC and how even though I'm far from home this place is still home, and it is, and I'm happy to have two places that I call home. I thought about really connecting this to rugby and how it has made me strong and tough and able to overcome everything, but then I didn't fully think it out and wasn't sure what I was using as a metaphor to compare things to. I thought about talking about my new appreciation for things no matter how small. I thought about talking about the injury in general and telling you all the nasty details, but then I didn't want to scar you for life. As you can tell, I really have no idea where this is going. It's late. I'm tired. My leg hurts. As for what else to say, I guess that just know that when you ask if I'm ok I will say yes, but deep down, it hurts like no other and just moving is a calculated process that I go through multiple times in my head before I even move an inch. It wasn't supposed to be this bad, but it is. But I'll be ok, because my drive to succeed is far more powerful than the pain that I feel in my leg. I'll get through it and I will do it with a smile on my face.


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What am I listening to?

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