I have gotten over a lot of my leg ailments that afflicted me during the time my mother was sick and dying. I think it was stress. Oddly enough, She-who-must-be-obeyed has had hip and arthritic knee problems and experienced an IT band problem in late August while holding our granddaughter at the home of the in-laws.
I think this is what happened to me in November. I always have aches and pains and knee glitches and have had for years, but one Friday when I had run, by the end of the day I could barely move my legs. Everything felt stretched to the limit, and if I were to squat or kneel, it felt as if the tendons that held my legs together would snap, and I would probably keel over tipsily in pain.
I did not run for 8 weeks.
Both of us were very limited in our activities. My wife did visit doctors and did therapy, but I was too busy with my mother to engage in the flim-flam of the medical trade. (More on this later.)
The idea of being incapacitated was unnerving.
All my agile life I had made snide comments about grab-bars and elevated toilet seats and commodes to support people just above the biffy (actually my mother and I referred to my brother's contraption as the "Norden Bombsight" - a World War II invention that improved bombing raids... and you would have to have seen a few pictures of raids over Tokyo or Dresden or Hamburg to get an idea of why this was a satirical description).
So here I was barely able to get out of bed. I dreamed that my upper body strength would have to improve enormously to heft my useless gams about. I used my mother's wheelchair and imagined Ralph Bellamy in Sunrise at Campobello...
So we drove the 500 plus miles in February to celebrate our granddaughter's First Birthday(!), stopping every two hours to stretch the set of four legs and try to prevent blood clots. When I was there I developed what I called a "mini-cold"; it had all the symptoms of a cold, only they were sort of small: the sore throat was sore, but not too awful; the headaches were minor, the congestion was loose, the coughing was desultory.
Yet one Sunday I entered the phase I called "the weak joint phase". I discovered afterwards the people I know call it "the achy joint phase", but mine don't seem achy, they seem weak and rubbery and I think that is the way they have always felt with "buggy" situations: not achy but weak.
I rose early and went down the long stairway. There is a landing halfway down where the previous owners installed a massive bit of antiquity from France - something I call a "guichet" (ticket window) where one - if one were a France "type" (guy) - would purchase a "billet" (ticket) for the afternoon train to n'importe ou. It is like a set design from the film Hugo:
Bunch of Guichets in Valencia
I always pictured it falling down on me. Now since I can't run away it would most decidedly crush me and put me out of my tableau vivant of misery.
I watched some Amazon Firestick-stuff. Then I went back to bed, my legs weaker than ever.
When I woke up 2 hours later, my legs were no longer stiff. The other aches and pains were still there, but the stiff tendons and fascia were loose. I could walk down the stairs! I have since asked people about a virus cure for IT Band problems, but have been stared at and googled at and generally neglected... as well I should have. I mean, things like this indicate the old "back to the laboratory!" and get the Petri dishes going.
I decided just before this happened to start running again. I had run four times before the birthday party; four times in two weeks. I had decided that if the gams were to be useless sticks, I would find out for sure and they could break in two for all I cared! If I am to be disabled, then by Jiminy I will be really disabled!
I not only ran, but did leg lifts, front and back, on a Nautilus bench. Again, the theory was that if the legs were dysfunctional, let's make them really, really screwed up!
Well, things got better.
I still think the virus cured the IT thing, but the running and exercise - I also do knee exercises: compress a ball between the legs and pull apart on a band - and things are back to the good old-timey aches and pains of before the wheelchairs and the thinking wistfully of elevated toilet seats.
(Sometimes - I suddenly realize! - I think whistfully... but only about card games.)
This was all intro to running and praying. How do you like that runners' prayer at the top of the page? Pretty appalling I should think. What we have here is a formula of tripe applied to any and all situations that come along. I can easily envisage a Cook's Prayer along similar lines: give strength to my chopping arm, give keenness to my blade, let me hit the wastebasket straight each and every time I throw a used bouquet garni into it!
A Cook's Prayer
I have always thought about the divine and how it relates to intelligent entities ("intelligent entities" = us, for the most part).
I have spent a lot of time studying Judaism and Islam.
I spent some time with Buddhism, but lately they have been throwing stones at me since I have a small fluency in Arabic. (Mostly blokes from Myanmar.)
I returned to the Catholicism of my youth, for the Powers that intervene between God and Man are for me images and icons of Christianity. Also I believe we are entering an era which might quite well be termed The Long Night of the Long Knives....
and we had better be clear who's got our backs.
and we had better be clear who's got our backs.
Hey! Where Ya Been?!
(note: We have a great divide on whether God be chatty or whether He be silent. A lot of us are constantly talking with God or with Jesus or whomever.
However, then we ponder Martin Scorsese's film Silence which deals with the seeming distance of God from the suffering of mankind. Certainly we can see Sophie's Choice as a tale of disturbing silence about the Holocaust.)
So I do the rosary when I run.
I do my own version. When I was going to rosary every Thursday with my mom in her independent living homestead, the people in charge - they who had the rosary under their control! - had their own version, which was much padded out with a couple of repeated entreaties to Our Lady of Fatima and some stand-alone aspirations to the same Lady and some blithering calls to angels!
Can you imagine!
So I cleaned it up, got it back to basics. I do not recite it while running. I can't do anything but run. If I try to multi-task as they used to say I invariably fall down or twist a knee. I can't watch TV or listen to radios when I run. It is most like the loneliness of the long distance runner.
I sing the rosary - silently - according to a way we used to have in grade school. I can't duplicate it for you here, nor do I know if there were a name for the singing. Each line corresponds to my breathing, so I try to do it as slowly as possible so as not to gasp for breath.
The words situate themselves in my body, mostly the knees and legs, but also the heart, lungs, and what not. In fact, every part of the body is open to God, since God created us in His image. However, some holy types disagree on this for the "shameful" parts. That's fine. That's their opinion.
The words are sung, they are in the body, not in the mind. If you don't quite get this, it took me a while to do it. Furthermore, this is the type of talk that in conversation makes people go all funny and blurry-eyed and change the subject. But you have been reading my blog, so you have a bit of an idea what to expect, so I feel confident you're OK with it.
God is a big deal, not formulaic nonsense. God is remote from our world because we act like numbskulls, and we find that acceptable. Prayer is not something on Etsy.