Friday, March 03, 2006

Just Listen

Happy March Madness! I can't wait until I can start running, probably on the 15th. I originally had a tibia stress fracture in mid-October, then 50 days later reinjured my leg when it was almost completely better when I landed on my bad leg after coming down from a dunk. It was an extremely stupid stunt and let it be a lesson to you: always follow doctor's orders. If he tells you no running, jumping, or pounding, that settles it. The reinjury was horrible; I got edema in and around my tibia that was more painful than the original stress fracture; 9/10 on the pain scale vs. 8/10. Why did I get a stress fracture to begin with? Probably because of too much work, too much pounding while running fast for long distances on the road and other surfaces. The cause of stress fractures are often enigmatic, although the good news is that upon full recovery the bone will be stronger and fuller than it was before the injury. I walked around with a pronounced limp for about 30 days, thinking I had just a calf strain, and it was only after that time that I went to an orthopedist and found out it was a stress fracture. If you feel sharp pain, etc., get it checked out right away, and try not to move the injured area (e.g. don't walk unassisted if you have a stress fracture in your leg). I played basketball, just shooting around, for the month before the diagnosis without jumping, and I played knockout. I ran a 7:36 mile the day of varsity basketball tryouts, and worked hard until the coaches told me to stop and sit out because my limp was so bad. Any opportunity I had to be on varsity this past winter season was destroyed when I did the stupid dunk which I hated myself for doing for a few days; the regret was so profound. When I landed there was an amazing shockwave in my leg and after taking another step I collapsed. My leg immediately swelled up with edema, and I called home thinking I needed surgery and apologizing profusely for my extremely poor judgment. I was ashamed in front of my teammates, and frustrated at them when they were right to ask "Why'd you do that? Why'd you even try? That was so stupid. You're a stupid ..." I didn't have an answer so I just cursed repeatedly. I felt outside of my body, and the surprise of the situation overshadowed the injury in that I didn't feel the worst of the pain for several hours. After a visit to the doctor, I was given regular Tylenol, but that didn't do jack, so a week or so later I was given codeine which was highly effective. I will never forget this experience or the lessons I learned from it.

The point is, listen to your conscience, listen to your body, and listen to your doctor.