Friday, April 1, 2011

Irrational Fears

It's 4:41 am and I've been awake for 41 minutes.  I'm somewhere between nervous and scared to walk my children to school today.  That seems really dumb to me.  I knew from past experience that dislocating my knee last month would result in one more activity added to my list of "Do Not Participate"s.  I assumed that activity would be cross country skiing, since that's what we were attempting to do that day.  Instead I find it to be walking down hill.  If you know where I live, you know that being afraid/nervous to walk downhill creates a few issues with life- one of those being walking to school.

Just to be clear, I have still added cross country skiing to my list- just like downhill skiing has always been on the list and I've never even been to a ski resort.  No injury involving that sport, just common sense that sliding down a hill at possibly great speeds with skis to act as levers to create extra torque on certain joints wouldn't be very smart for me.  It's also pretty easy to avoid tether ball or gymnastics since you tend to reach a point where those activities drop out of your life anyway.  I'd still occasionally play around with soccer or basketball a little, but nothing remotely intense or competitive at all.  I've never been nervous about something that's so much a part of everyday life. 

I've taken a few walks up and down my street since February 21 and my knee does fine.  Until this week, I couldn't bring myself to walk down the hill to church.  I'd stand at the top and look down the hill and move on.  The stupid thing is I'd continue to walk up to the top of the hill on my street and then turn around and walk back down to my house.  That hill doesn't bother me as much.  Maybe it's not as steep, I don't know.  That's part of the "irrational".

I don't like being scared of something so minor, so my goal on Monday was to walk to my friend, Lisa's, house and back.  That would require me to go down the steepest part of the hill but not be too far in case it was too much for my knee.  I wasn't going to visit or anything, just walk to her driveway and back.  Lisa must have been inspired because she called and asked if I wanted to go for a walk that morning.  I explained my fear and hesitation and she said she'd be happy meet me at the top to walk down the hill with me.  What a good friend!  I made it to the hill before she did and decided to bite the bullet and just go down.  Know what?  It was totally fine.  I met Lisa part way down, my knee felt great at the bottom and we ended up walking a good mile or more that morning.  It felt fabulous!  Exercise is so good for me in a lot of ways and I'd really missed it.

In the excitement of my success that morning, I promised Steven and Ryan after school on Monday that we could walk to school Friday morning.  It's supposed to be in the 70's today, no snow/rain to worry about, and nothing I really have to be in a rush for so we can take our time if needed.  I do have physical therapy this morning, but that was part of the plan.  I could go get a good dose of ultra sound, electric stem, and ice if the walking really bothered me.  I'm sure it won't, though.  I walk all the time.  That's the rational side of my brain.  The irrational side is coming up with all sorts of other possible scenarios.  I'm ignoring it, or at least trying to.  Hopefully it will fade away in time.

It's only been 4 days and I know I've walked down that hill once, but I'm still nervous.  I guess it's like most situations involving trust- the trust has to be earned.  I do feel a little "betrayed" by my knee since I wasn't doing anything very unusual when the injury occurred.  I am slowly allowing myself to trust it again, but I think it will just take time and experience.  It is feeling and performing much better than it was and every day it gets better.  My brain just needs to let go a little.  Like with people, I need to give my knee a chance to "prove" it's "trustworthy".  I think that's almost the hardest part.  Too bad there's not some ultrasound or electric stem for that!  All I've got is determination and the freedom to choose and I refuse to let something like this rule my life.  So, off to the shower and to face my day head on.  That way I'm ready for the rest of my day (rational) or at least I'll be clean when the paramedics come to scrape me off the sidewalk (irrational).  Should be an interesting morning!

Update:  The walk went well.  Yea!  Downhill was a little more tiring on the non-existent quad muscles.  The all downhill and then all uphill was a little more strenuous than flat, but it wasn't too bad.  I think things always look better in the morning.  Thinking about things in the dark always makes a much bigger mountain out of them than it really needs to be.  One step closer to normalcy!


spencer said...

Mom you will do fine, plus you will have Steven and Ryan to help you out.

Julie said...

Each step is a huge success, and I'm cheering you on with each one!

L. said...
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Lisa W said...

Oh Shannon, I so understand how you feel! I broke my ankle on my parents' stairs and after I was recovered, I avoided their stairs for about a year, even though I had been going up and down my own stairs just fine. It's amazing how much an injury can affect your thought processes. As you well know, it takes awhile for your brain to trust your body again. Good job on conquering the hill!

Linda said...

Congratulations, my friend. As we were taught again today, by small and simple things great things will be accomplished. To walk the hill was small and simple but you conquered over fear and exercised determination. yahoo!!

Joy For Your Journey said...

I totally get this. I have a bad back and there are a lot of things that scare me to do. Just thinking about them makes me terrified because I know how much pain I will be in if it doesn't work out. Still, living your life in fear isn't really living at all, but, it is hard to do otherwise.

But that said, I have been blessed to do a lot of things. I am sure you will be fine as well. Best of luck in your continued recovery.