Saturday, December 15, 2012

Basketball Jones

After my last marathon, I decided it was time to get a little more balance in my life. Play some basketball, focus on my career a little bit, and not obsess so much about logging miles on the road and treadmill. Life has a funny way of giving us what we ask for--I think God has a sense of humor.

Image Credit
Two days after I turned 30, I went to the YMCA for my morning workout. I was sick of swimming, so I decided to embarrass myself at a pickup game of basketball. I walked up the stairs to the gym of the Edina YMCA and asked the cake-eaters if I could join their game. They said I could, but after I told them I hadn't played basketball in two years, one of the resident gym rats told me, "then don't shoot."

Great, I thought to myself, day one of basketball, and I'm back in 11th grade ,where the point guard puts up 40 shots and hits 13 of them, but if I go in and miss one shot, I'm back on the bench.

So did what I did in high school: I kept my mouth shut and started playing. My ball handling skills were gone, my shot was iffy, but I still had decent court vision, and I still knew how to get rebounds and pass. By the third game, I was finding my stride. I stole a pass and took off down the floor for a layup. I went up to the hoop, rolled the ball off my finger tips and onto the glass.

Before I could brace myself for a soft landing, I felt a body impact me. My vestibule sense was thrown off-kilter, and I headed down to the ground. My left leg straightened in front of me, and when I hit the ground I felt a jolt in my knee. I rolled to the ground, holding my knee.

"Sorry, sorry," the player who fouled me said. He was in his late 30s or early 40s, and was quick enough to have caught me from behind to challenge my layup. The layup had fallen through--the first shot I'd made of the morning.

"It's fine," I said. "Good hustle, you're just playing hard." So hard you knocked me over and hurt my knee to stop a layup in a pickup basketball game.

I stood up and walked around. My knee hurt, but I could walk on it. I wasn't tired enough to be done with my workout, so I jogged back and forth on the sideline to see how I felt. I felt OK, so I picked it up again. It didn't hurt too bad, so I tried making some cuts.

"OUCH!" my knee screamed. OK, I thought. It looks like cutting is out of the question.

I played a couple more games, running up and down the floor, but not playing much defense. My team let me guard someone a little slower. By the end of the second game, my knee was throbbing. I asked for ice at the front desk, and the nice lady gave me one of those instant cold packs.

The ice pack wasn't so instant, however, because no matter how many times I shook it, smacked it, or twisted it, it wouldn't get cold. I had to settle for turning on the cold shower directly onto my knee.

This blog post is getting a little to long-winded, so I'll cut to the chase. I broke my leg. Not a bone-snapping kind of break. Rather, an impaction fracture of the femur and tibia. Apparently those to bones can smack into each other if you land just right. I'm not radiologist, and I'm also terrible at MS Paint (I haven't practiced since junior high), but I did spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to label my MRI for the blog. If you cant's read it, it says, "lots of fluid," and, "Ouch! My bone!"

An MRI of my knee
On my follow-up appointment, Dr. Voigt showed me where there were itty-bitty cracks in my femur and my tibia, and a little 4mm piece of blood (or bone) hanging out in there. There was also a crap-ton of fluid in the picture, which made sense as I woke up the day after with a knee the size of a grapefruit.

Oh, and the really fun part in all of this was that Laura was out of town doing a presentation at a National Association of Early Childhood Educators Convention in Atlanta, so I stayed with our friends Brit and Jared. They were sports. Brittany was pregnant with twins, so Jared got to help us both out. It was almost as good as having Laura wait on me hand-and-foot, though Jared didn't hug me quite as much.

It's been over a month since the injury, and next week I start physical therapy. My right quadriceps muscles have atrophied 4 cm, and the doc says the bone still needs time to heal, so no running for now. It's been really cold and snowy, so I haven't gone completely crazy without running yet.

I'm guessing I might not be playing basketball when I come back. I don't seem to have good luck with ball sports.

Happy Running!


Michelle (The Runner's Plate) said...

Bummer! I didn't know your bones could crack like that.

I haven't gotten back to running as much as I want. I run here and there, but something is still wrong with my glute.

Willie said...

Oh No! I knew something bad happened as you described the fall, but had no idea that was the outcome! I also go to Dr. Voight for my injuries now so you are in good hands coming back. As for ball sports, we have a set of juggling balls that you are welcome to come over to try. Don't need your legs and no one in my house will knock you flat.

Take care and heal up!