This morning I woke up with excruciating pain in my right foot. I could not put any weight on it; if I tried to set my foot flat on the ground, I felt burning shots of fire run up my heel. After texting my best friends about it and changing into short shorts, I hopped on my left foot to the elevator of my apartment and then into an Uber that took me to a local hospital.
The doctor and nurse informed me that luckily, I did not rupture my Achilles tendon – I had just inflamed it. They gave me a Motrin, crutches, and an order not to jog or run for a week or more. “Thanks so much,” I said to all the hospital staff who wished me a smooth recovery as I hobbled on my crutches out the door. I can’t believe I’m attracted to men *and* I have to suffer physical pain, like wtf, I thought to myself as I lifted my entire weight on the crutches, sweat gliding down my neck, the consequence of me literally never working out my arms for 27 years.
I already miss jogging. I had planned from 11am to 1pm today to jog to “Shut Down” by BlackPink and then cool down by walking to a podcast. Instead, I clumsily trapesed across Cambridge on my crutches, back to my apartment, while wondering if this injury is my karma for over relying on paper plates (sorry @ the environment I know I’m trash). When I saw people jogging – even walking, even standing still on both of their feet without a foot brace thingy – I felt a sense of sadness and nostalgia. Just yesterday I had run up and down the Charles River to “Shut Down” while poorly executing the choreo mid-stride.
I think honoring my feelings of grief and sadness have been instrumental during my time in Cambridge so far. Every time I do anything, whether that’s randomly shriek while playing tennis in my gay tennis league or roast a mediocre memoir at my Asian book club, I think to myself “wow, depending on where/if I land an academic job, I could have to say bye to this by the middle of next year.” When I first let the grief emotion in, it sometimes feels overwhelming, like a cool sensation that runs across my whole chest until slowly, at a pace of its own will, it fades. At this stage of my life, when I feel like I’ve grieved many great losses – my grandmother, the end of my relationship with my first long-term therapist L – I know that the grief means that I cared about something enough to matter, which is a beautiful feat even if it hurts.
One of many reassuring constants despite this period of uncertainty in my life: my best friends. One visited me a couple of weeks ago and the other is visiting this upcoming weekend. I texted both of them throughout this ordeal – “Ugh not my potential amputation era” I messaged one of them dramatically as a doctor wheeled me into the X-ray room. “How’s your pain?” the other best friend texted me while I wrote this post. It’s great to know that if I do end up moving again next year, they’ll come to visit. And, wherever I move, I’ll still have the characteristics that make me, me: my values, this blog, the music I enjoy bopping along to, and more.
Okay it has been awhile! How have you coped when you’ve sustained physical injuries? What strategies do you use to care for yourself in the face of grief and uncertainty? On a scale of 1 (not unfair at all) to 10 (so so unfair like horribly unfair) how unfair is it that I am both attracted to men *and* have an inflamed Achilles tendon? Anyway, I’ve been doing clinical stuff, research, applying to so many jobs, etc. so it’s been busy though not too stressful. Until next post!