Lately I have heard a disturbing amount of first-, second-, and third-hand reports of devastating injuries, injuries that said individuals sustained while doing something that is so-called “healthy,” like exercise. Several incidents claw their way to the forefront of my brain, so let’s examine them more closely.
Incident 1: The Husband. A few years back, he decided it was part of his “bucket list” to run a marathon. He trained carefully and intentionally for close to a year, with no injuries or problems. The day of the race, he chanted his mantra Drink water, drink water, drink water, and proceeded to over-hydrate himself to a dangerous level. He finished the race, came home, then had me call 911 to retrieve his listless and waterlogged body. One ambulance, four paramedics, one overnight hospital stay, and five saline IV bags later, the doctor signed his release papers and told him he was forbidden from ever running another marathon.
Incident 2: The Neighbor. One of my neighbors (like me, she also writes a blog), a life-long runner, was training for a marathon. She blew her knee out while training, to the point that not only could she not participate in the race, she was forced to have surgery.
Incident 3: The Brother-In-Law. He was riding his bike (he wore a helmet), something he does every day of his life, in a dense neighborhood in San Francisco. A driver of a parked car opened her car door without looking and, yes, brother-in-law crashed right into it, breaking his arm. It was not a clean break, and it took months of rehab to regain use of it.
Incident 4: The Friend. Blew out her ankle coaching her kid’s basketball team. Surgery is scheduled.
Incident 5: The Friend’s Husband (yes, same friend as above). Blew out his knee playing a pick-up game of basketball with his friends. Surgery is scheduled.
Incident 6: The Husband’s Co-Worker. Fell four stories onto a concrete floor while fake rock-climbing in a gym (her gear malfunctioned). She was wearing a helmet, which saved her life. She broke her back in three places, which surgeons repaired, and they told her she is lucky she will be able to walk again.
Incident 7: My Dad’s Friend. Dropped dead of a heart attack while playing racquet ball. He was 58, and was playing against his best friend (who happened to be a paramedic). A defibrillator was on site (they were at a gym), and his paramedic friend used it on him, to no avail. The ambulance was there in three minutes. Nothing helped.
Incident 8: My Mom’s Employee. She was jumping on a trampoline with her kids, felt something weird with her back, and collapsed. The ER doctors told her she broke her vertebrae. As this just happened a few days ago, she is currently in the hospital awaiting surgery, and in the meantime has developed a blood clot.
Incident 9: The Co-Worker’s Daughter. One of my co-workers just told me how her daughter was smashed in the face with a baseball bat by another team member (this was unintentional), and she ended up having to have her jaw wired shut to make sure her teeth were okay.
Incident 10: The Child. My younger son, Short, broke his arm last summer while at the playground sliding down the slide. His neon orange (waterproof/ swim-worthy) cast was on for six weeks.
I am strangely absent from this gruesome injury list. I do not like ambulances, hospitals, doctors, and dialogues that begin with “not sure about your recovery process.” I cringe when I accidentally nick my leg while shaving, and I pop a Tylenol if I have a particularly painful hangnail.
So instead I sink into my very comfortable couch, inhaling yet another sleeve of Girl Scout cookies while watching House Hunters, and marvel at my genius approach to fitness.