Thursday, April 26, 2007

Snap out of it

So, apparently, one of the unexpected side-effects of injury is insomnia. Never struggled with it before, but its been about six weeks since I've been able to ... you know ... sleep ... much. There's the issue of night pains, but even beyond that, there's the notion of using physical fatigue as a sleep aid. Back in the day, when I could throw down some four-hour mornings on the bike, make lunch, juggle a nine-hour stress fest at work, eat, blog, go to bed ... well ... I was always out before I hit the pillow. My co-workers may even argue I was out hours before. But now, I'm up in the morning ... I'm up late at night ... I'm up in the day ... and out of it.

I keep thinking that one of these early early mornings, I'm going to roll out of bed and be 100% fine. It's easy for me to carry this delusion because something similar happened to Geoff and his IT bands last year. Six weeks of searing pain ... and then, one day, he was just fine. I also like to tell the story of my cat, who one day hobbled home to my apartment in Idaho Falls with a huge cut on her right hind leg. The vet did a few tests (no kitty MRIs, but decent tests) and informed me that she had severed her Achilles tendon. The vet told me a $900 surgery would give her a 50-percent chance of partial recovery - granted she receive the requisite physical therapy (how do you get a cat to do physical therapy?). But in all likelihood, the vet said, she would never walk on that leg again. I struggled with the surgery decision for some time ... weighing the expense, researching the success rate, calling up specialty vets in Boise and Salt Lake, and watching my cat live a relatively happy life as a tripod. I decided against the surgery. I am a guilty pet owner.

Months went by like that. During that time, I was injured for several weeks and we were both awkwardly mobile together (something my landlord commented on constantly). Then, one day, I came home from a long weekend away - she had been inside on her own the whole time - and she was walking. Not tripoding. Not limping. She was walking. I never even saw the transition. And, to this day, I've never seen any hints of the injury. She can outsprint dogs in a heartbeat. And she's an active little kitty when she wants to be.

So the most likely scenario is that the vet misdiagnosed her and she recovered from what was probably just a bad cut with some tissue damage. But I like to think of it as a miracle cure. The way she just snapped out of it so quickly after so long ... I like to think that skill runs in the family.


  1. Cute kittie. Calico?

    I'm hoping we both wake up someday next week with not a hint of pain, full mobility and with all of our endurance.

  2. I love you blog, I live vacariously through your adventures, I really enjoy your pictures, I admire your strength, fortitude, and spirit but I LOVE your occasionally kitty update. Complete with photo!!

  3. This is the 3rd time that I am trying to post a comment - the 1st time a fairly lengthy one about my years in AK in the bush, and about the stress injury that I am trying to deal with. But anyway, I want to see if this will post. It's as though E Blogger is a new and more difficult blog site, after being gone from it for 5 months...

  4. Poor kitty...and poor's hoping for some feline recovery

  5. Jill, I love your writing, humor and now decision making. Great decision to not spend $900. Hope you heal soon and get a good night's rest. Jim

  6. I got down the sequence needed to post, which is using the "New Google Acct" to be able to post...
    So I'd like to say how nice your blog site is. As a long time AK resident (23 yrs, mostly in the bush @ Anaktuvuk Pass, St Lawrence Island, Eagle and Tok), as well as Homer and Fairbanks, I can really relate to your life as a new Alaskan, who now has the vast AK regions as domicile. So much landscape to explore as an athlete and people, flora and fauna to learn and write about as a journalist! I sure hope that you stick in the state for a good long time.
    My daughter Kate just graduated in Journalism from U of MN in the Twin Cities and talks about moving back to Alaska again. She just flew from MN to Seattle for a long weekend and the Cascades are calling her back to the mountainous terrain and salt water of the Great Land.
    My wife Lynn and I met in Alaska 30 years ago. It has been a grand odyssey for us, with lives that have been pretty unique for the end of the 20th century. I remember "old timers" telling me, when I was young and a cheechako, that theirs was a time of adventure, and it was all gone with Alaska changed forever. I understand now that the world has always been changing; that the Alaska they knew WAS gone. Their times were over for them, but mine were just beginning!
    Alaska is still fresh and free, and unique for all those who see it with fresh vision. It is truly a place for the young (at heart).

    But I wanted to commiserate with you on your injury. In the winter I am a guide on dog team trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This entails that I ski in front of the Inuit Sledge dogs. They follow me as though I was a lead dog ("Ancient Order of Those Chased by Sled Dogs"). The small sub-culture of Nordic ski guides have been changing over from back country ski gear to skate skiing as it is faster and more efficient when the snow conditions allow it. This spring I seem to have developed through skate skiing a very bad strain in my left leg and hip (piraformis syndrome?) that has put me into the x-ray room as well as, for the last 2 weeks, in physical therapy. I have constant debilitating pain from the sciatic nerve, wake up in the early morning hours with pain that I can't seem to get comfortable enough with to go back to sleep. My family Dr. wants to do an MRI. He thinks that all of my problems are due to disc narrowing. My PT is having a difficult time with determining why I'm not responding more rapidly to her treatment. She thinks, after 2 spine manipulations that it is a muscle problem, not a spine thing. Lynn is telling me to get a 3rd opinion.
    I really need to be ready by late May for full-on guiding of sea kayak trips. I am having a hard time being able to accomplish any projects at home or doing any training. It is driving me crazy being inactive because of the pain. So enough of the commiseration...
    Your MRI seems to have been a good thing; not a senseless waste of money. I guess that it wouldn't hurt anything other than my pocketbook.

    I will be following your blogs as I try to mend. My advice to you would be to give healing a chance... maybe I just need to follow my own advice!
    Happy (healing) Trails,

  7. First, let me just say that following your race prep, race reports, and all your rehab efforts has been incredibly motivating. Thanks for putting together such a fantastic blog!

    With that said,

    Don't give up! I went through the same thing. I was a sleep deprived zombie for weeks before I finally just ignored doctor's orders and hit the weight room, being super careful with my knee. It got me motivated again, and fixed the insomnia like magic. Remember: every injury is different, and every body is different. An effective rehab program is a collaborative effort between you and your doctors. The more motivated and involved you are in finding a program that works, the quicker you'll be back doing what you love. After all your training and racing and rehab, you know your body's signals. Use them! They'll help show you the way! Good luck!


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