A few years ago, Theresa Venus and I spent a girls day cross-country skiing on what Tahoe locals affectionately call "Sierra Cement". This cement is a stage well past fluffy light powder, when sunny days cause the snow to melt and freezing nights turn the meltwater to a crust of ice. Skiing on it is challenging. Stopping is almost impossible, especially on a decline.
After we had "yard saled" at the bottom of yet another hill. Theresa looked up from her butt plant and said "You know, we have to be careful. When we were younger, we just bounced; now we could break."
Ah yes, Menopause, the Big M, gives birth to a lot of little m’s like mortality, midlife, maladies, more changes. One of those changes is that we are more susceptible to injury. So it is that I find myself with a mild tear in my rotator cuff – a common enough sports ailment that makes it painful to move my shoulder or even to let my arm hang from it normally.
The snow was to blame for my breakage, as predicted by Theresa. Except I wasn’t skiing; I just went down the steps when a light dusting of snow made them slick as snot. I caught myself falling backwards with my arms and the rest is history. Except I didn’t really pay attention to the injury until it got so bad I couldn’t sleep at night. (Denial – it ain’t just a river in Egypt!)
So I am getting massage to loosen tightened muscles around the joint and I received an immobilizer from my MD. When she gave it to me, she admonished me to be sure and keep moving my shoulder so it doesn’t "freeze".
"You’re kidding, right?" I looked at her. "I’ll wear this thing at night so I don’t over rotate it, but I’m a WOMAN! I still have laundry to do, cleaning, meals to prepare, blogging and writing commitments. Believe me when I say – that will never be the problem; that I won’t move my shoulder!" Then I followed with, "Just think of what you would do in my place." A menopausal goddess herself, she laughed, "You’re right, what was I thinking? Let me rephrase that to don’t overdo."
And I’ll surely try not to. The biggest challenge, besides the immutable fact that we heal more slowly as we age, is that we feel YOUNG inside. I still feel like I could paddle a canoe through whitewater or windsurf 20 knot winds or hike through quicksand in the hot stinkin’ desert to camp at the base of a Navajo ruin. Maybe I can still do these things, but certainly not with the aplomb of my 30’s. And some things I may not need or wish to try again.
My husband was talking with one of his compadres about things his friend could no longer do and how sad that was. Dewitt rejoined with, "Yes but I look at the gnarly ski hill with the black diamond and realize with gratitude that I don’t ever have to ski those moguls again." Yep, there’s a snow white pony in there somewhere. I think I’ll name it "Acceptance."