Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Watching the bruises come out has been a little like watching the colours of the a sunset spread slowly across the sky.  At first, there was nothing, just incredible swelling, but the bruises appeared around the ankle the next day — so far, so much expected.  After a couple of days, a weird pale yellow and purple shadowing stretched from my instep across the whole foot, around to the outer heel, and even across a bit of the sole of my foot.

But I was surprised at the end of the week to see new purple bruises coming out boldly over the top of the foot behind the toes.  And then on Sunday — a week after my fall — angry dark bands appeared around the three smallest toes, as though I were wearing subcutaneous toe-rings, wrapping 360° around.

And today, fully nine days later, the bruising has begun to bloom up and across my shin.  It’s been quite incredible to watch it all come out, so slowly… so angrily.  All I can think is, that damage must have really gone deep for the bruising to be rising to the surface only now.

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“The good news is…”  I could see from the x-rays up on the lighted board that there was no break.  “…that I don’t see a break or a fracture.  The bad news is that’s about as bad a sprain as you could have done.  It’s going to take a long time to heal.”  The doctor scrunched up his nose in hard-luck sympathy and his wire-rimmed glasses rose up a bit above the level of his eyes.

“We have a few options.  We could put you in a traditional cast, which would hold everything still and help you to heal the fastest — but it’s not that nice for you.  Or we could just leave it alone and let you walk on it, but that’s pretty painful and you’d end up not being very mobile.  Or, I could give you an airboot, which is a middle ground between the two.”

He held it up — a huge great ugly cross between a ski-boot and something a StarWars Storm Trooper might wear.  I pulled a resigned smile, “Sooooooo, I get the big dorky boot then…”

“It’s not dorky!” he defended.  “They’re quite good really…”  He looked down, turned it over in his hands.  Focusing on the medicine, he missed that I was thinking of my vanity.  “You’ll need to wear it most of the time, to start.  It will be a while before you drive.  And expect it to take four to six weeks before your ankle is fully healed.”  Four to six weeks!  For one moment of stupidity!!!

After the doctor left, the nurse gave me a resistance band and showed me a few exercises.  The he put my foot in the boot and explained how to put it on, how to inflate the sides so it supported my ankle.

“Where are your shoes?” he asked, looking around the room.  I pointed to my Dansko clogs in the corner.  He looked alarmed and spoke sharply,  “You need to stop wearing those!”  And, shaking his head, he added, ” They’re death-traps!”  I knew he was right but, to be fair, they were the only shoes I could fit my swollen foot into that morning.

When we were finished, he walked me back down the hallway to reception.  The doctor was right — the airboot was quite good really.  I was hardly a picture of grace, hobbling as I did, with my right foot clomping loudly with each step, but my ankle hurt an awful lot less with the support of the boot, and this had been a walk I had barely been able to make just an hour before.  I suddenly felt a surge of excitement.  I could get around again! I had my autonomy back!

Vanity may be over-rated.

— a walk I had barely been able to make before

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Yeah, I know, it’s so typical…  the calendar changes to the new year and everyone goes on a diet.  Everyone jumps on that bandwagon.  But, boy, I tell you…  this year, my diet has been really effective.  I lost 10 lbs in four days.

How’s that for sick?

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I keep telling myself the pain is going away, but it’s not. It’s much much less than what it was — I am no longer rolling on the floor in agony — but it still comes every day, and it is like a repeatedly stabbing needle: still quite painful. When it comes, it makes me irritable and short-tempered and, if it comes at night, completely unable to sleep. Time to face facts: it’s hit a plateau and it’s not been getting any better.

When it came yesterday, the stabbing made even the littlest irritation too much to bear and, to my shame, I found myself barking at the girls and at my mother. I was suddenly tired of being this person — tired of being someone whose personality was pulled and pushed around by pointless pain. Surely the soy milk should be out of my system by now! What on earth was making it hold on?

I had a sudden revelation: other foods I am eating must contain soy — enough soy to maintain the pain at this lower level. Of course! My mother and I started reading through ingredient lists on the packets in the fridge and the pantry… and there it was — in my rice milk! Silly me — because the rice milk was sitting on the supermarket shelf as alternative to soy milk, I’d bought it and drank it and just assumed it would contain no soy. Why else would it be available but for people who don’t want soy milk? But there it was, staring back at me — the fifth ingredient.

I am not drinking milk and am avoiding dairy because of E2’s dairy allergy; I am not eating soy because of the incredible pain it causes me; I am avoiding high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on principle and out of indignation. What on earth can I eat?

Half-asleep and on auto-pilot, I started to make myself a bowl of cereal this morning, and then remembered yesterday’s discovery… sigh… I would have to eat my cereal dry. Now curious, I read through the ingredients on the Special K box: HFCS played a starring role (I’m sure that wasn’t the case in the UK…?). I put it back on the shelf. “Toast!” I thought. I stopped for a moment to check the ingredients — the fact that our bread contained HFCS didn’t surprise me, but the soy certainly did! It went back in the breadbox. Why on earth are these things added to my bread? I don’t need them when I make my own bread, so why does store-bought bread need them?

Now on a mission, I opened the cupboard door and began grabbing tins and packets like a mad woman. HFCS in nearly everything — I knew that would be the case — but soy products were nearly as bad. Soy in my milk, soy in my bread, soy in my Campbell’s soup, soy in my meatloaf, soy in my tortillas, soy in my Club crackers… The list of foods that might be adding to this continuing pain was growing as long as my arm, and the foods that I felt safe eating were diminishing rapidly. I made myself a cup of tea with no milk, and had some oatmeal (made from scratch — no packets, thank you) topped with cinnamon and blueberries. I wondered what on earth I’d have when I got hungry for lunch…

I am deeply concerned by this. Almost without exception, it was the American products that contained the never-ending HFCS and that insidious added soy. The imported European foods that I’d treated myself to — real pesto, English cheese biscuits, Italian bruschetta — contained none of it. What is America doing to itself? Grocery shopping should not be like running an obstacle course; food is best when it is simple and honest. You are what you eat — you are. And if you stuff your food with needless junk and fillers — turning it into something that fills your stomach instead of nourishing your body — then your body (and your mind) will return the compliment.

It is nearing lunchtime and I am at a loss what to eat. Bananas… avocados… more oatmeal?… Perhaps I have to look the bright side — if I have next to nothing I can eat, I might, at long last, lose this baby weight. If I don’t look at it positively, this inability to do something as simple as feed myself in this new and strange country may truly send me round the twist.

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My mother says she thinks I’ve lost weight. I don’t know if I have.

Sometimes my mother asks if I’ve gained weight. I’m usually well enough aware already.

I know she’s only trying to compliment me, or lovingly commiserate.

I wish… she wouldn’t mention it at all.

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I was overcome by a momentary urge to get back in shape and decided to do some crunches with the baby on board, as I vaguely recalled seeing in some magazine or another.

I now realise you’re supposed to do them like this:

But I did them with her lying flat on my chest.


It’s really hard to focus on your abs when there’s drool rolling slowly down your neck.

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