It seems that I always am in January. I think it’s because of all the hype jamming my social media feeds and commercials about starting 2016 the right way. What’s the right way? Well according to the implied, subliminal and mostly obnoxious messaging I’m currently internalizing I should be focusing on myself.
According to Weight Watchers I can do this by eating better, exercising more, and cooking colorful vegetables and lean meat in pristine cookware. Supposedly, if I do this I will feel better, sleep soundly, breathe easier and smile more. Real Simple and other similar sites are bombarding me with ways to declutter my closets, car, cupboards and medicine cabinet. Organized places in my home will apparently bring me a sense of peace, calm and serenity. Who doesn’t want any of that?
And I do. I want all of it. I want to be fit. I want to be happy. I want to be organized while whipping up healthy meals laden with the organic, free range, farm raised, non-gmo, low sodium ingredients that will make my family salivate.
Problem is…that shit is hard and I am injured.
You see, Christmas got a little out of hand this year. I started the month of December with the best of intentions. I was going to slam dunk the 2015 holiday season in an effort to make up for the misery that was the Christmas of 2014. (You know…2014. The year of the upper respiratory infection that ravaged my kids while Sean and I bounced from PICU to PICU trying to figure out why our newborn son couldn’t breathe.)
It all started off according to plan. We had a flawless trip to Minneapolis for Thanksgiving followed by a humdinger start to December that included cutting down the perfect tree and MK’s first Nutcracker performance.
I even ran my first 5k—a goal I had been working towards since late September in an attempt to do what so many of us are striving to do right now. Get healthy. Unfortunately, that fateful evening under the twinkly lights of Blissfield, Michigan, everything took a turn for the ugly. Or at least my right knee did.
Now, to preface this story I must give you a little background. I have a crap right knee. I was born with it—at least that’s what my orthopedic surgeon told me right before my first knee surgery back in 1984. I was fourteen. My strongest memory of that operation was right before he put me under, “Knees weren’t meant for running, skiing or dancing (all things I loved). They were meant for walking. Hear me when I say, Little Girl. You’ll never do any of those things again. You walk. That’s it.”
He was an ass. Unfortunately, he was a smart ass.
I’ve had two additional surgeries on my right knee since then. All of them to try and correct the same structural problem. As a result, I baby that knee. I don’t run. I work out on the elliptical; I don’t dance—well not on my toes anymore; and I don’t ski. I take stairs, delicately; I’m careful not to expose it to a lot of impact, and I never kneel on it—on purpose that is.
I honestly don’t know why I thought I could run a 5k. I guess seeing so many people do it over the years of watching my boys and Sean convinced me that one race here or there wouldn’t make much of a difference.
I was wrong.
I ran that race on a Friday night. And I finished. My time was nothing to brag about, but I was so happy. And the next day I thought my body had forgiven me. It took 48 hours for me knee to swell up to the size of a softball. It didn’t really hurt. Just swollen. I iced it, took some ibuprofen and tried to pretend it would go away. That is, until I woke the next day to a basketball.
Next thing I knew I was sitting back in my orthopedic surgeon’s office. He told me to stay off of it. Drained it (which is horrible) and booked me for surgery. I pushed the operation off until New Year’s Eve in an attempt to not totally trash what was left of Christmas, and promptly ignored my doctor’s orders. (Seriously…he told me to put my feet up and make Sean do everything. Dude…I’ve got six kids and Santa is coming. Can you give me some of that crack you’re smoking? I think I’m going to need it.)
It’s amazing what us mothers can do—even in pain.
Christmas happened. We went to the zoo lights, a family winter ball, and Children’s Wonderland. I hosted a cookie exchange party for adults and a cookie decorating party for our neighbor kids. We visited Santa on Christmas Eve, and I stood through Christmas Eve mass. The presents were wrapped, cookies were baked, Christmas dinner was yummy and everyone was happy…except my knee…and possibly my liver. (Apothic Red and ibuprofen had become my pain relieving cocktail of choice.)
Nicholas loved Christmas.
By the time surgery rolled around I was debilitated…but I hobbled into that O.R. in triumph. “Boo-yah, Doc. Now fix this. I don’t have time for this shit.”
Needless to say, 2016 is off to a slow, foggy and kind of bitchy start. Slow because…well…duh. Foggy because of narcotics. And bitchy because all I can do right now is watch television, peruse my social media feeds and feel bad about not being able to workout, cook, and organize.
I’m currently trying to adjust my attitude. Of course, I am duly aware that things could be so much worse. Like last year worse. In fact, whenever I start getting frustrated I think about January 2015 and ringing in the New Year in a children’s hospital two hours from home with a critically ill baby that didn’t have a diagnosis.
I’ll take slow, foggy and bitchy over scared for the life of my child any day.
This is where you can find me contemplating my disorganization, the fitness that I’m losing, and my gratitude for a healthy baby boy.
Thank God for the gift of perspective.