Sunday, January 26, 2014

What's Worse? A Broken Heart or a Broken Ankle?

Okay, so I'm officially the worst blogger in the world. Can you really say that you have a blog if you only write, say....once a year? I don't think so. I enjoy doing this, and even though probably only two people read it, I'd like to utilize this outlet more often than I have in the past. Want some updates? Here goes nothing...

SPOILER ALERT! So I'm currently in NH dealing with a broken ankle. My boyfriend thought it would be a good idea sometime this past year to sign us up for the Spartan Sprint in Malibu. I don't know if any of you have done triathalons, mud runs, 5Ks, what have you, but this thing looked challenging but like a good milestone to have. The idea was to do this "towards the end of our weight loss journeys." Uh huh. Yeah, right. Of course, when it came right down to it, my boyfriend was out of town. There was the first problem. This obstacle course race was SO far out of my comfort zone I couldn't really imagine doing it by myself...yet I had already paid my $65 to do it and on the video there's a dude with no legs doing with that in mind and my aunt's convincing I decided to say f*ck it and do it anyway. I had a few work friends who told me they'd do it, but you know how that always goes... if I've learned anything since becoming a real life adult, at the end of the day you can't truly count on anyone but yourself. So my hope was growing slim as the days were counting down to the race but one of my best friends, Sarah, decided to do it with me not even a week out! I was beyond excited. Now, at least I'd have someone laughing WITH me instead of AT me when I fell on my ass a bunch of times...or maybe still "AT" me anyway...

So Sarah and I get to Calabasas, CA at what felt like the ass crack of dawn (probably around 7) on Sunday, December 8th. It's freezing I seriously felt like I was in NH. Not cool, California, not cool. I was wearing a t-shirt and capri workout pants and Sarah wore short shorts. I knew we were at least going to have to tussle with some mud and I think Sarah regretted the shorts as soon as we left the car. We then got on a shuttle bus to get to the race in Malibu (about 20 minutes away), which was located right by the Biggest Loser Resort. We got our timing chips and bracelets and all that good stuff and signed some stupid waiver that said something along the lines of "THERE IS A VERY GOOD CHANCE YOU MAY DIE TODAY," which really should have been a sign right at the beginning. There was a small fire pit that Sarah and I huddled around along with a bunch of other freezing cold Californians until it was just about 9:00 AM, which was when our heat began. Of course we missed our heat but we waited in line for the 9:15 AM heat. Before you even START the race, there's a tall-ish wall you have to jump over. My heart leapt into my throat.  The little voice in my head was saying "Elizabeth, what the f*ck were you thinking? You're so NOT in shape enough for this, and you can't even jump over the stupid wall before the starting line of this godforsaken race!" However, I saw a woman put her foot on a piece of wood that attached the wall to the ground about halfway up and thought "Ahhh...well maybe I can do that too!" And I was successfully  able to get over the wall. The first part of the race is running uphill. If you aren't aware of how out of shape you are, you'll realize it once you are out of breath after, oh, not even a minute? Ha. And I thought the running would be the easy part (and perhaps it was). The first obstacle is a very large netting attached to the ground by metal. You go hand over hand, foot over foot and the hardest/scariest part is getting yourself over the top, especially if you're afraid of heights (like Sarah). There are a mixture of obstacles throughout the race, and if you can't do something you're supposed to do 30 burpees. If you don't know what a burpee is, then...maybe keep it that way. They were basically invented by the devil himself.

Anyway, so we were actually able to do most of the obstacles, even though we definitely needed some help from a few strong men (and one woman!) along the way. The most difficult obstacles (in my mind, anyway) were the monkey bars (very little upper arm strength coupled with a large body to haul). However, the strong woman I mentioned hoisted my fat ass up to the top of the monkey bars so I could place my legs over the top and use my hands and knees to propel me to the other side (NOT EASY. I NEEDED THIS WONDERFUL LADY'S CONSTANT ENCOURAGEMENT AND ALSO MY OWN MIND OVER MATTER TO MAKE IT TO THE OTHER SIDE). Once I was finished with that obstacle, I felt SO accomplished. Granted, I did help, yet I was able to succeed. I was very proud of myself. Some of the more difficult obstacles included a wall with tiny blocks for your feet (caked with mud) which were so slippery I couldn't stay up. Also the most painful obstacle (Obviously except for the one I'm getting to where my injury happened) was the barbed wire crawl. Okay so crawling in mud isn't bad right? It's soft. It's cushiony. People use it for face masks. Great. But this sh*t wasn't just was muddy rocks. Under low barbed wire. For what felt like a mile. It was awful and I don't think one person left without scabby knees that day. Some even left missing some of the hair they started the day with. Blame the barbed wire. And the muddy rocks.

So as we're getting to the end, there's the part where you have to life a heavy rock-type object up with a rope and bring it down without splashing water. Of course we started with the men's weight one which was NOT happening. So we did the women's one, and even though you were supposed to do it as an individual, we did it together. So we bent the rules a few times. Who's going to be able to do 30 burpees several times and all the hard crap and not be crawling to the finish line? Not this girl! We did 5 burpees and called it a day when we couldn't do an obstacle, like the one where you pull yourself up a rope from a chest-deep pool of water and ring the bell at the top. Not strong enough for that yet. Then there was the spear-throwing. I'm sorry-I can catch a ball but I can't throw a spear. Nope. Not happening. Even if I WERE in tip top shape I'm STILL not sure I could throw a spear and have it stick in a bale of hay. Then the next obstacle we did was basically a few walls that you swim under and some water that you have to swim in. So once you get out of the water you're COMPLETELY drenched, muddy, dirty, slippery. The very last obstacle before the fire pit and the guys who hit you with large padded mallets is a tilted, slippery, muddy wall that you pull yourself up with a rope and then climb over the top. I pulled myself up almost to the top but wasn't strong enough to vault myself over. So I slid down. And I tried again (BIG MISTAKE- KNOW YOUR LIMITS, PEOPLE). Got myself almost to the top for a second time and held myself there, waiting for someone to help pull me over. Some dude finally was trying to help me but the two of us weren't strong enough to pull me over. So I slid down again, this time fast and furious and BLAM! Something cracked. And my leg went all wonky. And I made some sort of gutteral, animal moan-cry and that's when it was all over. I could SEE the finish line. It was probably not even 100 feet away. Stupid, stupid, stupid. A few medics lifted me to the side and two dudes helped me hobble over the finish line. At one point, I forgot my leg didnt work and I put some weight on it- don't know if I further injured myself then or not but not a good idea. They took me (DIRTY, HUNGRY, THIRSTY, FREEZING COLD) into the medic tent and my friend Sarah went to go get the car as they tried to "set" my ankle and put some ice on it. Sarah had to wait for the shuttle (10 mins) take the shuttle (20 mins) drive back (20 mins) and then we drove the 40 mins back to LA to go to Cedar's Sinai because I figured it would be closer to where I was staying. And I didn't want to take an ambulance, because I could already see the near future hospital bills adding up in my head.

So we get to the hospital, and thank god it probably didn't take even an hour for them to get me to a bed and give me some strong ass pain meds. While in the waiting room, my foot/ankle was starting to swell and the shock was starting wear off (PAIN, HERE WE COME!) so it was a good thing they were able to see me probably 10 minutes from when the pain started getting worse. The nurses and doctors and staff at Cedar's were all lovely...minus one nurse who came in to my room early in the morning, said nothing and started unbuttoning my gown to place sensors underneath and around my chest (EKG?). I sort of felt like I was in a bad movie. I mean, I left my modesty at the race, people...they cut off my shoes, I changed in the tent around other people...but not announcing yourself and what you're doing at a hospital? Weird. So I knew very shortly after seeing the ER doctor that I was going to need surgery...I had broken 3 bones in my ankle and dislocated it. I was hoping it was a sprain but had a feeling the sound it made when I fell was something else... I was joking with the staff and trying to keep the mood light. I sort of felt like...well, if this is what's happening, let's just do it and deal with what we have to deal with...there's no going back and "un-breaking" my ankle. So I stayed in the hospital for three days, had my surgery, peed in a bedpan (Nothing makes you feel 85 like wetting the bed while using a bedpan and using a walker), learned to use crutches, etc. Oh and one of the nurses had told me to take my "knickers" off pre-surgery so I did. When the surgical team went to flip me over to do my surgery (face down) the WHOLE room saw my bare ass. Thanks, nurse whatever-your-name-is. Everyone got a good laugh from that one.

My boyfriend was coming to spend the holidays with me later in the month, and he was able to change his ticket to come several weeks early and help me out while I was recuperating. He was a godsend, seriously. Because the truth is that anyone could have been paid to help me, but I wouldn't have trusted anyone else or felt as safe with anyone else helping me out. No girlfriend wants their boyfriend to have to help them wash their hair in the sink, or take a sponge bath or all the little things you normally do yourself when you AREN'T broken. But it was sort of out of my hands and he was so wonderful for helping me with everything. We wanted to have this nice break and instead he had to babysit me the whole time but I so appreciate him being there and changing his plans in a hearbeat for me.

I decided I'd go back to NH for the duration of my recuperation (That sounds like it could be a song from the 70s from Supertramp or something). Let me say that even though it's freaking cold here I think I've been needing some help for a while (besides the ankle) and I'm not sure I would have sought it out had I not needed to come home for further care. First of all, thank GOD for insurance because I would never, ever, ever have been able to pay the hospital bills myself. And I'm very glad my mom has agreed to help me with this process- not just the ankle rehab but I haven't been in a very good place for probably the last year plus. I've had a few jobs that have taken it all out of me and made me not a very nice person to be around. I've been pretty miserable and depressed for the last year and I apologize to anyone who got caught in the crossfire. I'm making changes in my life and learning to love myself again, which includes getting healthy, knowing when to get myself out of bad situations, regaining my self-esteem and self-worth, and doing the things I know are good for me. My mom's taken so many self-help books out of the library that I literally can't read them fast enough. I'm just learning what I can and taking small steps to reclaim my life. Breaking my ankle may have been the catalyst to all my issues coming to light, but many of them have been festering for a while and it was high time to take care of them. So even though I'd rather have NOT broken my ankle, I'm glad I have this time to un-break my heart, soul and mind. This is very difficult for me, but I need to find my way back to the person I was before I became angry at the world, depressed, unmotivated, etc.  I don't like change, but I'm learning to accept what I cannot change and deal with what I can and will change. Let the transformation begin!