Seven years ago I ruptured my left Achilles’ tendon. More on that over here. Three weeks ago, I ruptured my right Achilles Tendon. Let’s compare and contrast.
It was a long winter. Every time I bring up this past winter to anyone, a dark cloud falls across their eyes. The never ending frozen and dreary weather was almost as oppressive as the political climate. Almost.
This was also the first winter I began working entirely from home. And right in the middle, our dog sustained a semi-serious foot wound that meant we couldn’t leave him home alone for over a month. By April, our normally cozy home began to feel awfully dungeon-like.
I desperately needed an outlet so I signed up to retake a class at The Improv Shop.
Two weeks ago I was good’n ready to head to the second class of the session when the tornado sirens starting blaring. In my pre-mom life, I wouldn’t have thought twice about jumping in my car as long as I could manage to keep a decent distance from the nearest funnel cloud. But now that I have a husband and a three-year-old, I find myself being a bit more cautious about such things. The thought of Mike spending life as a single dad crumples my heart in places I didn’t even know existed until I birthed our little bugger.
I wavered on the front porch for a bit trying to decide whether or not to go. Finally I jumped in the car because in St. Louis, if you take every siren seriously you’ll spend half the Spring in the basement.
Class was lovely. Near the end we started an exercise where one person performs a physical activity and his scene partner’s job is to help him in some way. In line waiting to perform my activity, I contemplated doing a handstand. “Nah. Don’t be pretentious, Julie,” my dumbass inner critic said. Unfortunately, I listened and decided to run a relay instead.
When my turn came I lunged a bit with my right foot behind me and reached my hand back as though I was waiting to grab a baton. I grabbed the invisible baton and pushed off with my right foot to run my leg of the relay.
Before I even took a step I was suddenly a little dizzy and confused and tingly and felt as though my whole body had just been twanged like a standup bass. Once the moment of confusion passed I thought, “I just broke my fucking Achille’s tendon.” I hopped down off the stage and sat down next to the teacher saying something like “I just really hurt myself.”
With my first Achilles’ tendon rupture (ATR for short) I wasn’t immediately sure of what had happened nor of the repercussions. I was able to process things slowly as they came.
This time, I knew exactly what happened so all of the implications hit me like a goddamn semi: You IDIOT you don’t have insurance you have a three-year-old and a house and a garden and two dogs you are self-employed and your job is physically demanding FUUUCKKKK.
I sat for a moment before hopping out of the room to call Mike. “Sooooo, I think I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon?” is never something you expect to hear when you pick up the phone, and poor Mike has now had that happen twice. When I first delivered this message about seven years ago, he didn’t believe me. I didn’t believe me that time because WHO RUPTURES THEIR ACHILLES’ TENDON. But this time as soon as I said those words, all of the blood immediately drained out of his head. My second sentence was an effort to reassure him that I didn’t need to get surgery, but he doesn’t even remember that. Class let out at that point and I told Mike I’d call him back once I had a plan for the immediate future.
I spent a good 10 minutes just repeating the word fuck before deciding it was probably best if someone else gave me a ride home. And by that I mean someone had to tell me it would be very bad of me to drive home.
NOTE: If you ever sustain a major injury, let someone nearby make every decision for you. I was honestly plotting to drive 25 minutes home, in the dark, in a storm, using my left foot while my right ankle flopped in the breeze.
Luckily the teacher of the class is also a good friend and he arranged for me to be escorted to his car. There just so happened to be a lively game of dungeons and dragons going on nearby and two of the players just so happened to be rather sturdy individuals who helped me hop hobble out to the car.
After mentally berating myself the whole car ride home, Mike was a beautiful sight even though I was sure he was going to be mad at me. Which is absurd. Stress is a strange beast.
As soon as I got settled on the couch, Mike said some lovely words, “Ok, so here’s what we’re going to do.” I love this man. When we were first bonding over beer pong, I had no idea I was falling in love with the dude Most Likely to Survive the Apocalypse. Which is convenient considering I just got an apocalypse notification from my Google Calendar the other day.
Once Mike started talking, the mental beration subsided. I wasn’t an idiot. I hadn’t ruined life. I apparently have weak Achilles’ tendons or a propensity push those tendons too hard or a little bit of both. I was going to need some (a lot) of help in the weeks to come. And that’s ok.