The Pain

Life is different now. Every day I get up and consider my options. Wait. First, the getting up.

I unfolded, testing my weight. Today, I could not raise myself by resting and pushing on my right arm because last night I ran the full weight of my body into a metal pole with my elbow. Sitting up, I twisted to place my feet on the floor. The pain in my lower back made me careful. As I stood, I shifted my weight to my left foot because the largest toe on my right foot will not bear weight, having been slammed into a steel bar yesterday morning. As I ease out of my pajamas, I take mental note of the bruises scattered across both legs – random across the thighs, concentrated behind the knees and down the lower calves – and my abdomen just above my pelvic bone and across my hip bones. I raise my arms to ease off my tank top and the wing of my left shoulder aches and then sends out a stab of pain over the top of the shoulder, through my chest and down my arm. I wince as the spandex scrapes lightly along the swollen scrapes on both forearms.

When I get dressed, I have two alternatives: jeans and a T-shirt or another day in a leotard and trainers. I take a breath, trying to infuse my muscles with some enthusiasm for what’s ahead. They flip me off and I pull on the gentler leotard. Jeans means belts and belts mean pressure on the bruises on my stomach. I wash my face and don’t shower. There’s no point. Within an hour, I’ll need another one. I pull my hair back into a ponytail.

As with most sports, you’re shooting for grace and smooth execution on the trapeze. The cost of that is hours and hours of conditioning and mornings like this one. I sprained my toe kicking up over a static trapeze yesterday morning. Last night, swinging back to land on the platform from the flying trapeze, I was late sweeping my shoulder around and drove my elbow into the support pole of the platform. My back still hurts from compressing my lower spine last week on the trampoline when I landed flat on my face. Twice. I have a tear in the palm of my right hand the size of a dime that I didn’t notice when I did it because my palms are so calloused that the rips only take off the top layer of skin and I don’t bleed.

Last night was no different than most nights. I soaked my hands in ice water and hot water alternately to reduce the swelling. I iced my shoulder. After about an hour, my body relaxed and was shocked to discover that it had been damaged. My skin went cold, my hands started to throb, the open wound on my hand whimpered at the touch of its bandage, my back stiffened and my chest and shoulder pounded. I put on warm clothes and lay down on the couch where I couldn’t find a position that didn’t hurt. In bed, I couldn’t lie on my stomach because rotating a shoulder northward to place an arm under my pillow was too painful. I couldn’t lie on my back because it flattens the arch in my spine and irritates the injury. I lay on my side, the least injured right side, compressing the hurt elbow into a fixed position where it could rest.

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Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany


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