Recovering from Injury! (Stage 6 — which may be optional — and Stage 7)

Here. Have a lollie.

WEATHER: Warm and sunny and delightful — 72 degrees and not humid.

MILES: 9.5


WHERE TO: Back into Mojo-land.

MOOD: Cautiously optimistic.


First, let me say that I HAVE MY MOJO BACK!  Did I do 23 miles yesterday?  Yes.  Did I receive several facefuls/eyefuls of gnats?  Yes.  Is my chest slightly abraded from carrying Gu packets in my sports bra?  Oh, you better believe it.  Is life back to normal?  <punches air>  Helllls yes!

Anyway.  On to the important stuff: getting over your injury.  You’ve cross-trained, you feel yourself getting stronger, etc., and yet — and yet.

And yet.

The injury isn’t better-better.  It’s just sort of half-assed improving.  And you, as the world’s greatest super happy fun time run run runnerperson ever, do not do anything that isn’t at the very least 90-percent-assed.  But you also don’t need no stinking doctor.  Also, you were sick that day in college where they taught you how to be an adult and how health insurance works, so words like “deductible” and “copay” and “HMO” and “doctor” are still a little mystifying to you.

So you, in your infinite wisdom, may find yourself in

Stage 6: Drastic measures.

…by which I clearly mean “buying Vibram Five-Fingers.”  The reason why I consider this stage “optional” is that you may have already purchased VFFs.  They may be the reason you are injured in the first place.  You may have now sworn off the things and burned them in an angry rage, along with your photos of LeBron James, Lance Bass, and the housemate who ate the rest of your Chinese food ON THE NIGHT WHEN YOU CAME HOME DRUNK AND REALLY NEEDED IT.  You people!  How could you?  You have all betrayed me — every last one of you! — and now you are dead to me!  <sob>

Or maybe you just overdo the cross-training and like tear a rotator cuff or fall off your bike into a shrubbery.  Either way, holy hell, you look like shit, my friend.  Now you really MUST enter…

Stage 7: Seeking Medical Advice

Now, here’s the deal: the doctor’s office is a freaking minefield.  Allow me to navigate you around the various obstacles that you can and most certainly will encounter there.

(A) Picking a doctor

Once you find the 3 doctors in the tri-state area who accept your insurance (and even then, only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 2:00 and 2:43 PM, Mountain Time), you have some deciding to do.  You don’t want to have the following conversation:

“My foot hurts.”

<not looking up from his clipboard> “Do you have a sense of what you did to it?”

“It’s a running injury.”

<still not looking up> “Stop running, then.”


<finally looks up> “……”

Some doctors are too logical.  You do not want these people. Ask the nice lady on the appointment line if you can have a doctor who runs.  I’m sure she’ll accommodate you.

“…no, you don’t get it.  I want a doctor who runs.  In her free time, you know?”

“You don’t get to pick that, honey.”

“You let me pick if I have a lady gyno!”

“Uh-huh.  Well, you know what?  It looks like next week’s 2:24 PM Thursday slot just closed.  We don’t have another opening until, oh…Christmas 2014.”

“Oh, come on.”

“Or you can go to our satellite location.  It’s halfway out to Richmond, off that abandoned road, between the crack house and the sewage treatment plant.”


“Damn straight.”


(B) Paperwork.

Does your uncle have heart disease?  Did any of your maternal ancestors have herpes?  Have you ever been exposed to the Ebola virus?  If you have a modicum of normalcy, you do not know these things.  And if Martha Stewart were here, she would tell you that the best way to deal with the paperwork is to simply write out all of this medical history information ahead of time, print it on a small, business-size card, laminate it, scent it with lavender or cedar oil (your choice), and put it in your wallet.  Now you can carry that information on you all the time, where it is handy-dandy and accessible at all of your medical visits, and also anytime you get mugged.  Now that ass-hat thug who stole your wallet has your credit cards and important CVS receipts, but he also has to read the painstaking description of the strangely pungent mole that Aunt Beatrice had on her inner thigh.  You’re welcome, ass-hat mugger.


(C) The scale.

What? you say. Shouldn’t a liberated, possibly-militant feminist like yours truly be, like, totally O-V-E-R that shit?  Whatever, man.  You don’t know me.  Maybe a scale shot my pa and killed my dog.  You don’t know.  And anyway, if you close your eyes, flap your hands, and sing “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music at the top of your lungs through the whole procedure. the nurse just might give up and leave you be.  Trust me.  It’s happened before.  And either way, you will be vindicated through…


(D) Blood pressure.

Yeah.  You’re a runner.  So when your BP comes up as 63/11, the nurse will blink and shake her head and do it over again, only to see that this time, you are now 60/9.  But you feel fiiiine, sister.  Shrug and smile.  But don’t stand up, because doing it too fast gives you the dizzies.


(E) The Doctor

“So, what seems to be the problem?” she says.

Now, hold on.  You probably have an overuse injury — a nagging, perhaps sharp but comparatively small pain in some relatively non-vital part of your body.  So let’s not go overboard with the truth here, because this is the big, bad city, my dear.  This doctor has seen it all.  In this town, three-year-olds spit razor blades and urban yuppie jog-strollers come pre-equipped with assault-rifle holsters.  So you might want to oversell the injury a bit, or she’ll tell you to just walk it off, you ungrateful little wretch, because she sees 20 child cases of diabetes and 9 heart attacks and 4 shootings and legions of crack-addicted squirrels just on the way to work every morning.

INCORRECT: “The pain is manageable mostly, but around mile 5 it starts to really smart, and then at mile 7 I develop a definite limp.”

BETTER: “It’s a sort of stabbing pain that shoots through my leg and into my spine with every torturous step I take.  It radiates throughout my body and into my migraine-ridden head, reminding me that every step I take is one closer to the grave.”  (Very poetic.  I like.)

BEST: “I have Ebola.  Also, my leg hurts.”  Guess which one of those she knows how to fix.  BOOM.  Done.


(F) Physical Therapy

Doc is likely going to hook you up with a physical therapist, which is awesome.  Why?  (1) Physical therapists are, like everyone named “Ryan” and the workers down at Pacers, always super-attractive.  (2) A physical therapist will take your aching limbs into his/her hands, pull them around a bit, and then in short order tell you that your injury is totally understandable.  Because one leg is way longer than the other, or one foot is way too big, or you are, oh, shall we say, running with the worst form ever.  It’s OK!  We can fix these things!

“Yeah, I hope so,” you say.  “Actually, I was wondering if it might help that I have a pair of these Vibram Five-”

“Oh those are AWESOME,” she says, a little too enthusiastically.  “You should definitely wear those for every run.”

Huh.  So that settles it.  VFFs are still OK.

(Either that, or all the stress-fractured Christopher-McDougall-wannabe saps like you who have been streaming in for the last 12 months just bought ol’ physical-therapist-hot-lady her third yacht.)

(Actually, that’s probably it.)

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mom on May 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    The ‘Oh, you better believe it’ line sounds very familiar.


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