Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beckham on Ellen

I like Beckham and Ellen even more now....please watch.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You're So Vein

I am in the patient area of the hospital, waiting for my knee surgery. I am wearing two thin blue bathrobes, one forwards and one backwards, with papery blue shower caps on my feet-- and nothing else. At least 7 other people in here are already dressed this way, and we are reading free metro newspapers while the TV is playing, inexplicably, 100 Huntley Street. I definitely feel a little vulnerable dressed like this, with nothing to hold up my naughty bits--to strap me in, as it were-- but I suppose the gowns aren’t exactly form fitting, and most of us in this room are in the same predicament. I find myself bending my knee a lot while I sit there, because I can. I know soon I won’t be able to. I am a long way from the soccer field now.

After I get settled into my hospital bed, a young anaesthetist comes over to set up my IV. I explain to him that last time I had an operation, they didn’t have the easiest time with this part. We look at my hands and arms and he agrees – I don’t have a lot of visible veins. I can tell he’s a student, since he’s so thorough – he listens to my heart, and my breathing, and then he asks me to open my mouth to see how wide it can open. (Is it just me, or does that last request seem a bit dodgy?)

As he messes around with his needles and tubes and things, he smiles and holds my hand and asks, looking into my eyes, “If you weren’t here, what would you be doing today?”

I am a busy married woman of a certain age. No one ever holds my hand and gazes at me, asking me questions like this. We start chatting a lot about the Sutton Place Hotel, where I used to work – and to someone else, it would probably appear that he and I are having a ‘moment’. He’s holding my hand and rubbing my wrist, and saying how he recently went to the chocoholic buffet there at the hotel. More gentle wrist rubbing. Why does it feel like we should be sitting across from each other at a romantic candlelit restaurant? I’m wishing I had my wedding ring back on.....and then wham – suddenly there’s a big needle in my wrist, and beside the needle, a tube is being inserted. What was all that talk about chocolate? Dang, he was totally playing me. I can hear him now, telling the other students -- dude-- the older women - talk to them about chocolate, you should see the dreamy look they get in their eyes. Then you’re free and clear to jab them. He walks away and makes notes on my chart and walks past without smiling. I guess our little moment is over.

His boss comes over a few minutes later to check on my IV and says it is fine. He also asks me to open my mouth as wide as I can. What’s with these guys? He explains, unprompted, that they need to know how wide I can open my mouth because they’re going to be putting an anaesthesia tube down my throat. Oh. The boss also asks, less suggestively, if I have any loose teeth.

“Uh, no.” Apparently they don’t want to knock any of those out with the anaesthesia tube either. Wait. Just how hard are they jamming the tube down there?

He tells me I look nervous. I want to tell him that it could be because they are going to put me under and then attack me with a tooth-busting tube, but instead I say “I’m about to have knee surgery, you know.” I say it behind my hand, confidentially, and he plays along with “Oh, you don’t say?” and we all have a laugh. It isn’t funny at all, of course. I guess I am nervous.

Eventually as my bed is wheeled into the operating room, a nurse introduces himself as Brett. He comes out and grabs my hand—and I decide I am not falling for anything this time, I am watching this one-- but I don’t see him holding any sharp objects to poke me with. Brett speaks in the exact same accent as the character Chase on House. It makes me glad he is the hand-holding nurse. The room is impossibly bright, way, way too bright – and there are at least 8 people in there.

I ask Brett, “Are all of you going to be working on me?”

“Of course! And there’s a student watching. ” The student waves, but I can’t wave back. My anaesthetist chocoholic buffet guy and his boss are there, and they are now holding my other hand and worrying about my IV input spot.

The next thing I know I am waking up shuddering and shaking like a junkie in the recovery room and my knee really hurts, and my operation is finished. How did that all happen so fast? Apparently the operation took 2 hours, but it felt like less than a minute. Anaesthesia is crazy powerful.

Once I finish my anaesthesia comedown, I start to take stock of things. First thing: oh good, they did the correct leg. Whew! Second thing: my IV spot is no longer where it used to be, but instead, there is the beginning of an enormous Oreo cookie-sized black bruise beginning to form there. I check the other arm – there is dark bruising and a hole on the back of my hand there too – but still, no bandage – and finally in the crook of my other arm, I see it – the remnants of a third IV spot, the one they actually used. They had to move it twice during surgery.

Damn chocoholic buffet guy. Shouldn’t he have been studying instead of skipping class and visiting expensive hotel dessert bars?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That week with the shoe

Starting Thursday I’ll be on crutches for two weeks. Ever done this? I have and I must tell you, I am not super excited. To put myself in the crutching frame of mind, I googled pictures of people on crutches and found all sorts of crazy stuff:

- I found a picture of a teenage girl on crutches, on her skateboard. She had her bandaged leg on the skateboard, steadied herself with her crutches, and pushed with her good leg.

- I found more than one picture of a stripper, stripping while on crutches.

- I found pictures of Jessica Alba, Baby Spice, and Lady Gaga on crutches.

- And I found tons and tons of pictures of soccer players on crutches. Beckham in particular. Did the guy stay at home at all when he was hurt, or just crutch around for the paparazzi?

Dear god, what am I doing? This is madness. Last time I had ACL surgery on my other knee I was 28. Back then my mom chastised me for recklessly playing soccer and hurting myself by saying “You’re not 18 anymore, you know.” Now I desperately wish I was that young, young, 28 year old again.

Plus I keep remembering this horrible week I had during my last ACL injury that I now think of as that week with the shoe. We were living in Victoria and Steve had just started going to SFU and was gone except for weekends. I worked full time in an office at a hotel with a pretty strict dress code. When I hurt my knee, getting ready for work and even crutching down to the car and driving myself to work was okay, but shoes were a huge issue. My knee hurt too much to bend it. My foot also swelled up to the size of a small football. One week, before he left for the ferry late on a Sunday night, Steve jammed a ballet flat on my foot and I slept with it on that night…..and then I kinda kept it on until he came back on Friday and he took it off.

I know.

I couldn’t take that damn shoe off for five days because I couldn’t reach it. And even if I had managed to pry it off with a crutch, how would I have jammed it back on to my gnarly foot by myself? I was not going to go to work in my office with bare feet. When I showered, I had to sit on a chair in the shower and stick my leg out of the curtain, so it wouldn’t get wet. The toe of the shoe got caught on the blankets all the time when I tried to sleep. At the end of a long day, taking off a suit while unable to bend my leg and wearing a shoe was not the most graceful thing. (No wonder that crutching stripper in the photo looks a little awkward.)

After it had happened and I could laugh about it, I told this story to some friends and co-workers who felt bad I hadn’t asked them for help. They said “Oh my god! I would have come and taken off your shoe for you– why didn’t you call me?” but really, think about this for a minute – you’ve wedged your sweaty swollen bare foot into a leather shoe for several days - would you want your friends to smell-- I mean see you like that? I think not.

It’s not going to be like that this time, right? Everything is going to be fine, right? I may have just the teensiest amount of pre-surgery jitters.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Battle with Transvestites

Once when I was practicing penalty kicks with Roger and I scored a particularly sweet swisher in the upper left corner, he asked “Cathy, how do you get so much power behind your kick? How can I teach the girls team I’m coaching to kick that hard?” My first reaction, which I did not express to Roger, was “um, have you looked at me?”

I am not exactly a delicate flower.

Of course, I’m not one of those scary soccer women I sometimes used to play against, the ones with full, thick moustaches who hork big mouthfuls of spit on the grass between plays. I wear makeup. Once or twice, I have watched Grey’s Anatomy. I know most of the words to the songs in the Sound of Music. But I also love sports and I have very big, powerful legs.

Now big strong legs are not good for very many things. They are not good for pool parties, days at the beach, looking hot in jeans, wearing shorts of any kind, kicky little summer dresses, trying on bathing suits, or pencil skirts, or being thought of as cute, or dainty or sweet. But they are good for kicking. Big feet – same thing. I have to do battle with transvestites to get any nice shoes in my size and routinely choose footwear that makes my feet look smaller, not because it is comfortable. But big feet can help you control the ball.

My screwed up physique is engineered so that I am supposed to play soccer, the way those tiny, thin little things are meant to be gymnasts or the way that lithe, long necked girls are meant to be ballerinas. That’s not to say that all the women on the soccer field are strong girls like me – we get those skinny types too.

They just can’t kick as hard. Sorry Roger.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Knee Scars

I’ve had ACL surgery once already, years ago. It was also from a soccer injury. I asked the kids to draw a picture of that knee now so you could see the scar: the big colourful one that makes my knee look like a centipede crawling on a 2 by 4 is Sophie’s and is not an exact rendering of my leg, but pretty close. Hannah’s is smaller and more detailed, and she has insinuated that not only do I have cankles, but also numerous rainbow and flower tattoos on my leg. I don’t. (Well, the cankles, maybe.) I bet she’d probably have drawn a unicorn on there if she had time. I didn’t want to put an actual photo of my leg up there. I don’t know if you can handle seeing it.

The reason my knee looks so gross is that it got infected. After the surgery, the doctor ignored my calls asking for more painkillers. For ten days. (It had to be re-operated on. This is why the scar is worse than other ACL scars.) He admitted later he should have listened to me, but said that doctors have to account for the ‘wimp factor’ and he thought I was just being cranky. He also offered to pay for plastic surgery to make it look nicer, but said that he didn’t think I seemed like I “was the type of girl who cared about stuff like that.” It took me a long time to realize how insulting a comment like that was.

It’s less than two weeks now til I get my other knee done. I wonder what the scar will look like? They’ve changed the operation in the last 13 years so it will probably be different. Maybe I’ll do something like what my mother in law did after her hip replacement – she got a tattoo nearby the scar. She was 68 at the time, I believe, and she said “I’m tired of people asking about my scar at the pool. Now they say ‘What’s that?!’” Her tattoo is of cherry blossoms. I think it’s so cool she had it done at that age. The only thing is that she says it hurt more than childbirth, and I am getting really bloody tired of having pain anywhere around my knees.

If I get one, mine will not be flowers or rainbows or unicorns. I kind of like what Becks has done. Look closely...