I got a call this week from the surgery scheduler at The Steadman Clinic in Vail. It was followed by an email from the rehabilitation specialist who attached an eight (eight!) page document outlining my pre- and post-surgical PT approach.
This can only mean one thing: ten months of waiting for Dr. Philippon is nearly over. Hip surgery is lingering, staring me down from its place on my calendar just five weeks away.
So I cracked. And cried. More than a few nights.
I’m no stranger to big surgeries. My spinal fusion at L5-S1 was three years ago last August. I had to relearn how to walk, but I came back stronger than ever, and with a pain tolerance no one can touch.
But even that tolerance couldn’t keep my degenerative hip up to the task of running, so I quit about five months ago. Better to stick with the forms of exercise that don’t aggravate my already precipitous condition.
But I cracked, yet again. All because of a business trip.
I landed in Orange County yesterday and, these days, I jump on just about any alone-time to bust out a sweat-inducing something. The first thing I unpacked was my workout gear.
I was planning to hit the hotel gym, but 65 degree temps and blue skies beckoned. (Wasn’t it my sister who just wondered yesterday what it must be like to live someplace like Southern California where the weather is mild year-round?)
Well, gauging by the number of cars on the road here, it rocks. No way, after coming from Colorado in January, that I could let this opportunity slip. The words were out of my mouth before I could even stop them.
“Excuse me,” I asked the girl at the front desk. ”Does there happen to be any place around here to go for a run?”
An hour later, running shoes laced, I was trekking down Main Street in Irvine, sprinting between palm trees, sun shining in my face, the smell of fresh-cut grass hitting me at every turn. Total bliss!
I actually found myself shedding a few more tears, but of the feel-good variety this time.
I hung a right on the Mountain to Sea Trail along the San Diego Creek. I didn’t make it all the way to the sea, but I did make it 5.5 miles roundtrip.
Not bad for a sport I gave up five months ago. I attribute it all to the copious amounts of oxygen here of course. Okay, and maybe some pent-up stress over this impending surgery thing.
Of course, I’m limping considerably now, my body clearly not up to the task with which I challenged it. But my mind and soul? Glowing.
I’m sure the glow will wear off as I continue this roller coaster ride of emotions leading up to my time in Vail. But sometimes, despite the consequences, we have to heed that inner call, whatever it may be. I’m paying for it now, but my run was totally worth it. I may not get another in for 5 months or more, and certainly not under palm trees.
When that rehabilitative specialist puts me through my pre-op baseline strength tests on February 22, at least I’ll know – in my body, mind and soul – where I stand on the running part.
My goal of course will be to work back up to 5.5 miles. I just need to get through his eight pages of instructions first.