Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Diesel Jeans, Gucci Bag, Waxed Eyebrows (and a Thrasher shirt)

I was in line at a café. A mundane afternoon. Then I noticed the guy in front of me. Introspection followed.

He was wearing shinny, opulent shoes. Diesel jeans. A black Gucci bag dangled from his bent wrist, which was adorned with several loose fitting gold and silver bracelets. Obviously gay. He had short, neatly trimmed facial hair, vaguely resembling George Michael. Freshly waxed eyebrows. A few streaks of platinum-blonde were dyed into his otherwise dark locks, which were slicked back. A ghastly toxic cloud of too much cologne hung in a 3’ fallout radius around him. He was wearing a black sweatshirt that was torn around the head opening, in some garish type of Vogue/GQ sanctioned manner. More gaudy, loose fitting gold jewelry hung around his neck. The logo on the sweatshirt? “Thrasher Magazine.”

I wanted to talk to him. Not to be an asshole, but because I was genuinely curious. I wanted to ask him why he chose to wear that sweatshirt. I wanted to know what it meant to him. I wanted to ask him if he’s ever picked-up a single issue of Thrasher magazine, or if he’s ever ridden a skateboard. I wanted to ask if he was willing to bleed, tear ligaments, shatter bones, and destroy parts of his body for something he loved. I’d like to ask what he thinks skateboarding means to skateboarders. I’d like to ask how he thinks people perceive him wearing that garment. I’d like to ask him if he cares about those perceptions. I’d also like him to know what it all means to me.

I’d like to show him my scars. Show him my inability to walk correctly, and how much trouble I have with stairs. Show him my x-rays, before and after surgery. Show him my deformed ankle. Show him the places my skin and blood has been left behind on rough asphalt. Show him the medical bills. Show him the tears when I realized it would be long time, if ever, before I could skate a 1/2-pipe again. Show him the nightmares that keep me awake at night when I think about life without skateboarding.

Of course, I did none of things. Nor would I ever. Calling-out some random stranger is more obnoxious and pretentious than wearing a Thrasher shirt when you can’t even name a single pro skateboarder. Instead, I thought of the irony. He had no idea who he was standing next to. In fact, neither did I. I was acutely aware that this entire situation revealed far more about the content of my own consciousness than it did about anyone around me, including him.

Skateboarding has changed. Perception of skateboarding has changed. We used to get beaten-up, shunned, and ostracized for skateboarding. Now we are fashion icons, and profit demographics for multinational corporations. No news there. I can’t change any of that. I’m not sure I’d even want to.

That said, it always stirs deep emotion when something I have dedicated my life to, and destroyed my body for, is reduced to mere “fashion accessory” for those who have never known the same passion. I would never wear something just because it “looks cool” without some sort of horse in that race. I am forever bewildered by those can.  

To be clear, there is no point, moral, or social edict to this story. Do not look for one. I am simply sharing an experience I had at a café.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Recovery Edit #1 (Learning to Ollie, Again)

Sat 8/31. Fourth time back on the board since breaking my leg in May.


A cynic might say, “Wow, your skating has been reduced to that?” I’ll take the opposite view. This is what its RISEN to. Six weeks ago I couldn’t walk w/o crutches, let alone stand on skateboard. I won’t lie. It’s very frustrating to loose so much (and not know if it will EVER come back), but the situation is what it is. At least I’m rolling.

Right now It would be a miracle if could ever again (1) do any kind of flip trick, (2) 50/50 a bench, (3) ride a ramp 3’ or taller, (4) be able to run/jog.

It is hard to ollie up a small curb right now. Pushing is difficult. I still walk with an acute limp. The fakie ollies in the clip were a real struggle. The b/s blunt was a big. Tried one the other day and just collapsed to the ground in pain. Too much sudden weight on my front foot, and I just drop like Whitney Houston in a hotel bathroom (hence the pads, which I’ll be rocking for the foreseeable future). I’m also bringing back the ‘80s “ankle pad” look. That’s right where the break/surgery/metal plate/scar tissue was/is. The scar is still super sensitive. That spot is very prone for board wacks, and I definitely don’t want a direct hit to the hardware in my leg. That would be bad.

So, that’s where I’m at with everything. Hopefully the future “Recovery Edits” will show some meaningful improvement. Again, thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement. I’ve come pretty far, but there is still a long road ahead of me.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Is This The End?

Today is August 25, 2019. I broke my fibula with ligament damage on May 21, 2019. Surgery was two days later on May 23, 2019. Almost exactly three months later, where are we now? To be honest, things look a bleak. Two days ago the orthopedic surgeon said the fracture was completely healed. While that is great news, there is another, much bigger problem—my ankle.

There are two problems with my ankle. The first is swelling. The second is flexibility. My ankle has dramatically lost its range of motion. Because of that I am still limping. Going down stairs is hard, and skateboarding is like try tying to play the piano while wearing oven mitts—you know what to do, but there is a physical barrier. To make matters worse, the orthopedic doctor said he “usually tells people at three months they are seeing 75% of what they are going to get back.” That is simply horrifying. Another 25% is not going to enable me to run, or skateboard. I need more than that. A lot more. Things in my ankle still hurt.

My next appointment with the physical therapist is this week. I am going to ask her if I should get a second opinion about my ankle. They put a screw in my leg, which the orthopedic doctor said, if removed, would not make any difference in flexibility. Others have seemed to indicate the exact opposite. I don’t know what to think right now. I just want my ankle to move again.  The idea of not really being able to skate again is horribly depressing.  

In related news, wearing a sock feel really weird over the surgery area. I am not sure if that is from the scar tissue, or from being able to feel the plate in my leg. It feels really weird, and I don’t like it. Second, since I haven’t been able to do any exercise in the last three months I’ve gained like 10 pounds, and I feel really gross/disgusting. Apparently I need to go on the first diet of my life. Third, due to swelling my foot, I can’t yet comfortable put on my hockey skates. God knows how long it will be until I am back on the ice, and what mental factors I will have to overcome learning to ice skate again, of it I'll even be physically able to do so. 

That is the physical stuff. Mentally, I am pretty depressed right now. I had a lot of hope to up and running again (pun intended) by the fall.  Now, all I have is medical professionals indicating that things are not going to improve much beyond what they currently are. If they are correct, where does one turn when hope is gone? 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

One Crutch!

Big break through today. I am now able to walk with only ONE crutch. This is huge, because it means I can now carry things, like a cup a coffee.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Six Weeks Later

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

It is the six-week follow-up for my broken leg. The doctors originally said that I’d probably be weight-bearing around the six-week mark. I might be able to lose the crutches, and walk again on my own. That will be huge when it happens. It could mean resuming regular work hours, starting PT, carrying coffee on own, and hopefully beginning some light dry-land hockey practice. I will not be skateboarding for quite some time (or be back on the ice for real hockey).

Of course, there is also the chance that I may not be ready for any of this yet, and will still be confined to the crutches for some time. My ankle area is feeling stronger, but there still some serious stiffness, feeling is not totally back yet, leg muscles are atrophied, and my foot is still swollen (bruising is almost 100% gone, however)…so there, is still quite a ways to go before I am back to normal. I don’t know if it’s better to hope for the best, or expect the worst for tomorrow.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Existential Vacuum

Life as I know it is “on hold” right now. I am literally just sitting around and waiting for things to “start” again. It’s beginning to weigh on me. Skateboarding, hockey, bicycling, urban/woodland exploration, and my job. These are all things I can’t do right now. They are the things that give my life real passion, meaning, and purpose. For now, they are all gone. For better or worse, they are what constitutes my “life,” and they are all on hold.

While I have a follow-up visit in two weeks, and they might clear me to be (partially) weight-bearing, it’s still going to be awhile before I can get back to those activities  (and that’s even assuming I fully heal-up). An existential vacuum opens when the things you care about suddenly collapse, and vanish.

Life is very different right now, and will be for quite awhile. I am a firm believer that life is more about how you respond to what happens to you, than what actually happens to you. That said, I haven’t quite figured out how to respond to this situation yet. I’m bored as fuck. I can’t be “active.” I can’t even walk without crutches right now. I need to find something meaningful to occupy my time and life with until I can return to the world I once knew.

It’s time to adapt.   

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Four Weeks Later

I broke my leg four weeks ago yesterday. Absent major developments, I’m going to aim for blog updates every two weeks to track recovery.

Leg & Foot Condition: It’s still swollen and bruised, but not as much as it was two weeks ago. Feeling is still blunted in my foot…but maybe not as much as it was? It’s hard to tell with gradual changes. I can move my toes and ankle a bit more, but it’s still really limited. Ankle area (ligaments??) feel really stiff, and sore. Toes feel kind of stiff, too. I am more concerned about pain in ankle area now than I am about hurting the break. My calf and foot are no longer really sore when I go from laying down (or keeping foot up) to standing up-right. Hands, wrist, elbows, and shoulders get a little sore from the crutches, too. My leg must be getting really weak from non-use. PT should be interesting.

Housing: I am still at my parents’ place, and will be here at least until I am weight bearing. Maybe longer. TBA. Taking a shower is a pain in the ass. Life is definitely easier here than it would be at my apartment in the city.

Mental State: I’m bored as hell. I was bouncing around with Joe during the day when he was here, but he left the area last week. Now I’m on my own.  I need to find things to occupy myself with. At night I can go some pretty dark places when in bed/can’t sleep. The future can be a scary place. I need to stay in the moment as much as I can.

Skateboarding: This is a long way off. I’ll certainly be doing dry-land hockey stuff long before I am skateboarding again.

Hockey: I got a really nice stick (for ice). I’ll be able to use it for stick handling / shooting once I am weight-bearing. I also want to get a new pair of gloves, and a shooting pad/board for once I get cleared for all that. It’s something short-terms (before full recovery) to look forward to. 

: I am worried I’m going to get fat while being totally inactive. I need to watch what I am eating.

Next Visit: They claim I could be weight-bearing (50%?? 100%??) at six-weeks. My exact six-week date falls on the week of July 4th. I couldn’t get an appointment until July 11th, so technically that will be a SEVEN week follow-up. I am kind of bummed about having to wait an additional week for that visit, but it is what it is. Right now I am a bit skeptical that there will be much of change in my foot in the next three weeks. I’ll just have to wait, see, and hope.