Yesterday I walked right into a reality show. I was out shooting video for a documentary in our town when my knee gave a jolt and bam, I was transported to a place that I never like to go.
You may be familiar with Injury Island. It’s that location in the universe where time stands still and it’s impossible to get off until you find a cure for what ails you.
I should have known it was coming. Yesterday morning while doing some male grooming I put my Harry’s razor behind my ear to make sure there were no secretly long hairs growing there that had escaped the clippers. This is based on a prior experience in which I discovered with a degree of horror that my habitual manner of buzzing my skull with electric clips somehow missed an entire grove of silvery hairs behind my ear.
This I found out while adjusting my sunglasses on the way home from a ride, and I went, “What the hell?” And the minute I walked in the door that morning I walked straight upstairs and mowed the Back 40. Because unkempt silver hair is not a good look on men. Ever.
So to make sure that I wasn’t walking around with a scene from Apocalypse Now from going on behind my ear, I put the razor back there and gave it a short swipe. And Lordy I cut myself good. The sting was immediate, and blood started to flow. I grabbed some toilet paper and jammed it behind my ear. It’s amazing how bright red blood looks when it is transferred to a bright white sheet of toilet paper. “That came out of me?”
After a dab of Neosporin to coat the wound, I somehow got a bandage on the back of my ear. It looked just like a hearing aid. Necessity demands all sorts of inconveniences in life, especially when you’re about to enter the alternate universe of Injury Island. After all, it wasn’t like I was dying exactly, or the victim of gun violence like the poor soul in the photo above.
Because later that morning while walking around doing the documentary, my knee gave an ugly little yank and the pain along the inside of the left knee was profound. This has been on the horizon some time now. Just two weeks ago I went to the ortho for a diagnosis. Then I visited with the PT specialist, and she basically told me to go home and do knee bends. Here we are in the 21st Century, playing Back to the Future with exercises from the past.
But doing knee bends won’t help me get off Injury Island anytime soon. Like the characters in the television miniseries Lost*, I want to escape and at the same time realize the present gives me an opportunity to fix past mistakes.
So I did a Messenger appointment with my ortho friend and said, “I want a PLAN. Not just suggestions.”
That means there’s an MRI in the near future. Because this knee actually hurts now. The medial collateral ligament has been popping on me for more than a year now, but this is reality. It’s time to figure out what’s really, really wrong.
The history is there. No ACL in the left knee. I’ve been getting away with it for fifteen years now. But instability adds up to bad things.
In the meantime, I bought a brace that wraps just below the knee. $9.99 on Amazon. That’s allowed me to put a false smile on my face for a few days. Next comes the MRI. Then the Reality of what I’m really facing.
I may be on Injury Island for a while. Always hard to tell. In my long career as an endurance athlete, I’ve been through broken clavicles and plantar fasciitus, sore hamstrings, shin splints and blue balls, to name a few of the conditions one can face on Injury Island.
It’s not a fun place to be. But you have to play the game in order to get off. We all hope it doesn’t turn into Hotel California: “You can check out any time you like…but you can never leave…”
Racing isn’t looking like a probability at the end of October. Not when the knee is so unpredictable. Who wants to race when you can’t tell if your knee will turn into a test of reality?
It can hard to get off Injury Island. Only time will tell.
* From a description of the show Lost: “Moments later, Desmond met Jack Shephard, while training at the same stadium. During their short conversation, Desmond suggested that Jack is running the stadium stairs because of frustration having to do with a woman
Note: but actually, Jack was running off steam from the frustration of having lost a patient on the operating table. Thus life is never quite what it seems. Desmond was projecting his own worries onto another human being. It’s a quite common theme in this world. Or another.