Thursday, April 29, 2010

save my hip, please

I found a new physical therapist and I think she's FANTASTIC!

Kelsey at Water & Sports Physical Therapy, Inc.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


On December 31, 2007, I was rushing frantically through a mall, looking for something-anything-decent to wear for a New Year's party that night. I remember this day because it was the day that I sustained a mysterious hip injury that has changed my life in many significant ways.

I took one wrong step and my left hip felt torn. I chalked it up to the misstep and ignored the pain. I thought the small injury would disappear within a few days.

It didn't.

Three years have passed. I've visited a multitude of doctors and physical therapists and even an acupuncturist. I've paid quite a pretty penny for xrays that show swelling and anti-inflammatory medicine that just masks the symptoms. Still, the cause and the cure remains elusive.

The pain is constant and alternates between deep, dull ache to tearing flesh. As a result, I am inactive and flabby. Once in awhile, for a couple of weeks, the pain will lift and I will try to reinstate myself into the world of the physically active. However, I can't run or jump or hike or do anything physical without backpedaling and thinking about the inevitable aggravation that occurs. The pain sets in, increases, becomes unbearable. Right now, because I've been hiking for several consecutive weeks, the pain follows me around like a second shadow. It lies with me in bed and taps me awake at night and sits with me at work and joins me during happy hours with my friends. I've learned that a comfortable position does not exist.

Two years ago, I read Philip Roth's novel, The Anatomy Lesson. Zuckerman, the main character, is a writer who suffers from a mysterious ailment that begins to take over his life. The corpus of his work, like his body, suffers tremendously. Although others believe his symptoms are psychosomatic (and he does seem to agree occasionally), the pain he feels is so prevalent that he cannot sit, type, or even hold a book without each movement becoming an ordeal. He turns to orthopedic pillows, mistresses, heavy booze, and a kaleidoscope of drugs and pills in order to cope. In the end, he concocts a crazy scheme to enter medical school.

Sometimes, when I feel impending panic ("What if I can never jump again? What if I will always have this pain?"), I think about Zuckerman stumbling around Chicago, hoarding his pain medication and dreaming up alter egos. I can't laugh.

Monday, April 19, 2010

now say that three times fast

Lately, I've been going on a literary binge. I am toting books everywhere and reading voraciously, on the sly: reading in my stationary car and reading in bed and reading while waiting my turn at the court records office. It is as though all these years of legalese have given way and the literary gods are calling out to me again. I can read and write about feelings, beauty, whatever I want! I can write in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS or smoosheverythingtogether and sometimes I even let

my words
in the air
like this -

or cut them off mid-sentence -


Legalese means slicing off fatty, extraneous words; adding conjunctions to cover your bases; utilizing crisp, staccato language; scrutinizing each nuance and punctuation. The objective is always clarity and precision and protection. It means throwing up firewalls and Chinese Walls and Berlin Walls and any other kind of wall. It means almost as much what you don't say as what you do. It is analyze, analyze, analyze.

So, there are the two sides at play. The head-in-the-clouds vs. the feet-firmly-on-the-ground. So how do I reconcile my aspirations of becoming a writer with my chosen profession? How do I remember to turn off the legalese, firmly, when I'm out of the office? How do I console the muse when I've been ignoring her all day?

Over the years, I've fueled this small ember of writer-ly hope by jotting down my thoughts or flipping through my subscription of Poets & Writers. Still, there was no substance, no tangible evidence behind my dreams. All I had were small piles of trash and my little blog.

Admittedly, I am a person prone to distraction and extremes and restlessness. Passion without discipline, I've learned, is a dangerous thing. At the very least, passion without discipline accomplishes nothing. It is like my well-intentioned but long-abandoned regimen of situps.

This is where the reconciliation fits in. I have finally developed the discipline to sit and write for hours on end. I can stomach the rejection. I can work myself out of funks and sadness and badness.

I used to believe that growing older meant giving up on childhood dreams. Now I think that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. If I hadn't attended law school, I would have never cultivated the ability to continue reading even after my eyes singed red and raw. If I hadn't struggled a bit during my childhood and adolescence, I never would have learned to appreciate adulthood. If I hadn't fought my way out of bad bouts, medical and otherwise, I would have never learned to persevere. If I hadn't experienced the sheer devastation of heartbreak, I would have never challenged myself to feel differently. If I hadn't stayed in California, I would have missed out on a lot of good times.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where is a tissue when you need one?

As a general rule, I never allow myself to cry at movie theaters. Still, there are always exceptions to rules. I cried once while watching the Disney movie "Mulan", during the scene where Mulan's father tucks a flower in her hair. I thought of my poor old dad and tears started streaming down my face. It was really embarrassing.

Today, I watched the DreamWorks Animation movie "How To Train Your Dragon". I could see the ending coming from a mile away (which still shouldn't stop you from watching it - I thought it was a fantastic movie!!!) and I still cried. In fact, the only reason I refrained from sobbing outright was because Alessa and Daniel were sitting next to me, snickering at my tears. I think I am turning soft.