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14 May 2012

Down On My Knees

Chicken pox kept me away from school for a month. I was only 6 then and I remember hating it. I'd always been a healthy kid. It felt like I was being punished for never having fallen sick and I was making up for the all earlier years in one shot. I hated missing school more than anything else.

Decades later, the chicken pox had relegated to dark corners of my mind. While I sympathized with others who fell sick or got injured, I stayed away from anything remotely requiring medical attention. How I managed it is beyond me but I took it for granted. I had abused my body with junk food, no food, erratic workouts for years and all I needed to fix myself up was 2 days in bed, recharging. It is amazing how self-healing the human body is.

Cut to 2012.

It all started with a back-ache that I ignored for as long as I could. It was just sleeping on the couch. Or maybe the bad posture at work. It was going to be fine. I just needed to stop doing those things. I would. It went on this way until I landed flat on my back, on the carpet one fine Sunday morning, unable to perform normal physical activities like getting up, sitting or standing without my back complaining. With much reluctance and driven by panic, I saw a doctor. "Weak muscles", he rued. He was happy to prescribe medicines but I brushed it off saying I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. He wrote me a letter to get a core strength assessment by a physio and handed me a sheet detailing some stretches I could do, to strengthen the lower back muscles.

Once I started the stretches and the back was beginning to feel OK, I forgot all about the doctor and his physio recommendation. I ignored the niggly sensation in my knees for weeks and waved off the protests during my Krav Maga kicks. I continued to ignore it even after I started to feel like I was going to buckle whenever I walked. I should have at least hooked up to the internet to see if it needed attention but I didn't. I was in denial. It was going to be ok. That was until I carried a heavy bag and walked for about 3 kilometres one evening, while on holidays. Soon, the happy vacation turned into a series of stretches, ice-packs, ultrasound and I was pretty much under house-arrest.

By now I had been suffering all sorts of aches for 2 months and I was aware of my weak muscles. The least I could offer my body was a little rest. For someone who has mis-treated the body for over 30 years, it was a concept hard to grasp. Two weeks into the treatment, throwing all caution to the wind, I headed back overseas and started work. Over the next 2 weeks, I was brought down by my knees once again. It was back to square one. Ice-packs, taped knees, ultrasound, rest. The works. Serves me right for not doing the "rest" thing the first time around. Lesson learned. Right?

I'm just back from another horribly expensive physio session (that my insurance barely covers) and feeling better. All thanks to the massage, ultra-sound and knee-taping (ugh) by my Kiwi physio, who told me she had her first physio appointment at the age of 8. The restlessness that comes with feeling slightly more mobile is back. I want to be out and about, doing all the things I would normally be doing. The only thing that is stopping me from caving in, is knowing how crippled I have been over the weekend... after I had started to walk a little just the week before.

The chicken pox phase jumps to the forefront, from the dark hollows of my mind. It's like a headless villain stepping out of the shadows, in a long black cape. Yet again, is this life making me pay for the score and something years of good health I have had? It's been over 3 months since the first signs of the weak muscles appeared and started giving me grief. I can't wait to feel "normal" again!

I feel exactly like I did when I was 6 years old. I was forced to stay in the bedroom so I would not spread the germs around, only being allowed to get out if I needed to use the bathroom. Mum brought me food and water but I was kept away from the outside world. This time, I'm older and the room is a house, but the feeling is all the same. I am counting down minutes to get back to the outside world... to run and to dance... to kick some groin in Krav class... and to grab that elusive P3 patch... and do all those crazy things on my list...

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