Friday, September 02, 2011

August gone

I've always been a bit superstitious about the month of August. I think it began when I was in early grade school and the month seemed to rush toward the end of freedom (and beginning of school) while at the same time lingering in hot, suffocating, too often boring days. I had this birthday that was too close to the end of summer (and mad rush of vacations) for anyone to remember, and the oppressive heat seemed to make the rest of the unremarkable month creep along like a river of lava. But for however superficial my reasons were, as I child I decided that August was a bad luck month, and that sentiment has weirdly stuck through too many years when I should have already known better.

And so it's been this August. Every time another little hit came down, I'd look at the calendar and think "six more days. I can deal for six more days." My August countdown came to a head on the 31st, when I was most sick with stomach flu and could do little more than stick close by the toilet and surf WebMD. I obsessed about minor health symptoms and convinced myself I had wound infection, gangrene, maybe the plague. I had to have Beat talk me down from placing a frantic hypochondriac call to my nurse sister in Utah or general practitioner at midnight. Then the calendar clicked over to September 1, and I fell asleep.

I woke up Thursday morning feeling remarkably better than I had the day before. I even attempted another run — well, four-mile jog. I was racked with stomach cramps and couldn't take in any water. My flu definitely already broke, but my stomach was still too raw from a couple days of purging, and my energy level was low. Smart, healthy people will tell me I'm trying too hard, and they would be right. I'm not even under the delusion that I'm holding onto fitness here. I've only been running slowly for three weeks now. Fitness has already slipped away. But I so miss that feeling, the feeling of being drenched in sweat and the warm sunset hues and blissfully tired, of just being healthy and alive in the outdoors. I continue to believe that I'm close enough to go after it. I'm not going to become more injured or more sick just by trying (unless, of course, I fall again.) If I was "actually" injured or "actually" sick, it might be different, and I'd just rest and not feel so compelled to go on "mental health" outings. I don't know. In my mind, I keep blaming August. A cop-out, I know. But it helps.

As for the arm, I am planning to attempt my first bike ride in more than three weeks this afternoon. Just a simple commuter ride on the bike path. I don't believe I have gangrene anymore, although I do still wonder if the continued pain indicates that I possibly nicked a tendon. But either way, it has improved a lot, and it's time to at least start rebuilding strength just above the pain threshold. I'm not gaining anything my holding my arm limply at my side. Onward and Forward, into September.