Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beautiful Bruise

The Muses

A very long time ago, back in my youth, (y'know... when the earth was still new), I was ice skating with friends and family. We were playing a fast paced game of tag. As I lurched toward my intended victim, I twirled, lost my footing and hit the ice with an audible WHAP!, landing on my right thigh and butt cheek. I remember sitting against the snowbank (to whence I'd slid), and feeling slightly stunned. But, kids being the resilient bundles of energy that they are, I jumped back up and into the game. I didn't think of the fall again until later when I saw that I had a bruise the size and color of a Texas sunrise, a bruise that would stay with me for a good two weeks. I didn't mind. Every time I saw that bruise I was reminded that we'd had a blast that day on the ice. It was a beautiful bruise.

I have a gimpy left leg. Yes, for all you Politically Correct, Overly Concerned, Uptight Wankers out there... gimpy. Having lived with a paraplegic for 9 years, and having my own mobility issues, I've earned the right to say the word gimp if I want to. Stand down. Lighten up.

Anyway. I have a gimpy left leg. It's something I've had to deal with to some degree since I was 17 years old. I had some minor surgery that turned into a major infection that turned into a life long (well, until I was 45 at least) ulceration, that turned into several more surgeries and a whole hell of a lot of nerve damage. The leg is as fixed as it is ever going to get. Thankfully, I haven't had any more ulceration issues since 2005. Even more thankfully, I got to keep my leg, and there was a serious threat that I might not get to. I have a huge, gnarled scar on my left calf that looks as though I got bit by a shark. Really, there's a chunk missing. Indeed, this is what I tell people (who don't know me) who are rude enough to inquire, or say something completely uncouth like, "Oh my god... your leg!" "Oh," I say glibly. "I was bit by a shark."

The nerve damage has left most of my lower left leg completely numb, or in some spots, only kind of sort of numb. Along with that is the strange throbbing, tingly sensation, much like you'd feel if your entire leg fell asleep. I've learned to live with it. It also gets very achy and even painful if I'm on it too long, particularly if I have to stand still for very long. The worst part of it all is that the completely numb part encompasses my entire foot, along with the nerves and muscles that operate my foot. So, I have to be careful when I walk. I have to be conscious about how I place my foot. Altered terrain makes me nervous. I don't go up or down steps without holding the railing.

Even so, it's my leg. It still works. All the agony I went through, and sometimes still tolerate, reminds me that I'm still here, walking under my own steam. It reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful for. In it's own way, it's a beautiful bruise. It is an admonition to be cautious, but to not give up; to be aware, but not ungrateful. The reminder in the rainbow of a bruise, in the black, blue, violet, ochre and green, is: You're still here. Get back up and get on the ice.

I'm wondering... can I still ice skate?


  1. Freakin' awesome. i love your posts.

  2. I love that you tell people you were bit by a shark! :) And I bet you could ice skate too.

  3. I wasn't as brave as you, I covered a scar I have with a tattoo.

  4. I can't stop grinning. You, my friend, are the biggest breath of fresh air I've inhaled in ages. Beautifully written, and oh-so-true. :-)

  5. Gosh! I just noticed you're wearing my bling, too. Thank you so much!!


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