Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cheers to you, Ryan Holowaty

This will be my last post in "Seize the Day." I can't believe it's been over a year since I began this journey - and what a year it's been. I can recall Ryan's funeral like it was yesterday. I remember sitting dumbfounded in the church, staring at pictures of our friend, our friend who was so alive, yet was no longer living. At the time, I had no idea what I felt. The events of that tragic day were so fresh in my mind that, looking back now, I believe I was still in shock, not quite comprehending how we went from a beautiful river float to Ryan's funeral. Although I was overcome with sadness, I felt empty and flat, asking myself, "What is the point? This is NOT fair. Life is NOT fair." I was awakened from those feelings of dread and hopelessness by the words of Ryan's Minister, "Use Ryan's life to inspire your own."

That's when it occurred to me that I could keep Ryan's spirit alive inside of me. I desperately wanted to honour him in some way and show him that I learned from him - to show him that he inspired me and everyone around him. When I look back at this blog now, I can see that it began as my way of keeping Ryan alive while grieving his loss - but it turned into so much more than that. Through this experience, not only have I learned how to step outside my comfort zone and "go for it," but I've also learned so much about myself and the life that I want to live.

I still miss Ryan like crazy. We all do. He was such a unique, spirited individual. A true adventurer, he had no fear and most definitely lived his life to the fullest. As I landed my first trick on the longboard, swam with sharks, and cranked out Pearl Jam on the flute, I could hear his high-pitched voice squeal with delight, "Right on, Kirst!" with each skill/experience, I really felt like he was right there with me.  I look back on each adventure with unbelievable fondness and pride. There is something so exhilarating about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. I fully intend to live, as best as I can, adhering to this philosophy.

Although I expected to learn fabulous new skills and "seize the day," I never expected to learn so much about myself as a person and the life that I want to live. Like most people (I assume), I've struggled throughout my life to figure out who I am and who I want to be. With social networks all the rage, it's much too easy to portray yourself as the person you think you should be...the person society wants you to be. I've found myself clicking through classmates Facebook pages and feeling like I'm not meeting "life's" expectations. I'm 33! I SHOULD have this. I SHOULD be this. I SHOULD be that. I SHOULD be like this person. Why do we do this to ourselves? Upon reflecting on Ryan's life philosophy as well as meeting so many unique people throughout the year - individuals who simply live out their passions without apology (think Randy and his love of the longboard and Nancy and her commitment to her dogs), I've realized how important it is to simply be "me."

Ryan contributed so much to this world - but most of all, he contributed "Ryan." There most certainly is and never will be another "Ryan." There was good, there was bad, there was ugly, but no matter what, Ryan never pretended to be someone he wasn't. You were guaranteed to get 100% genuine, "Ryan." That was his gift to us.

I've learned that this is how I want to live my life. When I was contemplating that oh so difficult "mindfulness" question, "Who are you?" and began re-reading all my blog entries over the past year, it suddenly occurred to me - each and every entry in this blog is 100% me. Sometimes good (how awesome was that longboard video?), sometimes bad (the flute was a struggle) and sometimes ugly (wow, I was a real riot after knee surgery). It was 100% Kirstie. I wrote directly from my mind and my heart and stopped worrying about how I SHOULD be or how I wanted to be perceived by others. It's just me. That makes me feel proud.  I intend to keep searching for the best version of "Kirstie" and live out my unique life story, without apologies - without worrying if I'm meeting these imaginary "Facebook" expectations. When I leave this world, I want people to feel like they really knew me - like they really connected to me in some way.

So, Ryan, thank you. Thank you for this year. Thank you for this insight. Thank you for sharing your true self with us for 31 years. The world is not the same without you. We miss you more than words can express. You will live forever in our hearts and in all the fantastic "Ryan" memories that we will carry with us forever. Thanks for the ride. Peace.



New blog: www.ifoundthishumerus@blogspot.com


Monday, September 24, 2012

A totally made up story about a couple who lie at the US Border


I completely overestimated my awesomeness and am recovering at a much slower rate than I had anticipated. Given that there were no holes chipped out of my bone with an ice pick, I assumed that I would be up and about and perhaps even back at work by now. But it's only been a week and fatigue and pain are interfering with my ability to "test" this knee out. So I will try to remain patient. I have no doubt that someday my knee will realize how awesome I really am and will finally live up to my expectations. 

I have started back to work on my final blog post for "Seize the Day." This post has been difficult to compose and I want to ensure that I clearly communicate just how much this year has meant to me and what I've learned from our friend, Ryan. Yesterday while sitting on our deck, overlooking beautiful Candle Lake, I was finally able to put into words what I have learned over the course of this year. It's almost complete and I have decided that my next post will be the conclusion to this enlightening experiment. I do have plans in the works for another blog, as I am 100% addicted to this!

In the meantime, I have one last hockey tale to share with you on "Seize the Day." As per usual, I can just picture Ryan sitting at our kitchen table, Corona in hand, eagerly taking in every word of this story (He loved Ev's hockey stories!)

After conferring with Lawyer about this one, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that this is a fictitious tale about a fictitious couple.  Any similarities to real people are simply coincidental.  As the couple in this story most definitely broke the law, I would like to reiterate that this story is most certainly fiction. 

Let me set this up for you: Kristy and Evan Kevin were on their way down to Florida (via Jeep) for an upcoming hockey season in Pensacola. Although the work permit for Kevin had not been processed yet, the team assured Kevin that he could easily cross the border as a "vacationer," and his visa would be processed by the time he reached Pensacola. Kevin and Kristy naively agreed to this. This is how it went down.


This is Kristy. She's smart, hot and loves to surf.

This is Kevin. He's super hot and loves to go shirtless.


A totally made up story about a fictitious couple who lie at the US Border Crossing

“Purpose of trip?”

“Just a vacation”

“For a whole month?”

“Yes”

“Please pull over sir . We’d like to speak to you and your wife inside.”

Shit. Shit. Shit. They were on to us. My stomach churned with a feeling of dread. We would never make it to Florida.

Kevin pulled the Jeep into the Border Patrol automobile searching area.
“What do we do with Biloxi Peaches?”, I asked shakily as I frantically grabbed my purse and the 3 Christmas oranges, while glancing at the giant orange cat meowing angrily from his cat carrier. 

“Leave him…let’s go.”

I glanced quickly at Kev. His sure, steady voice was slightly high in pitch. He was anxious. My rock. The man who maintained a steady pulse when faced with a 90 mile per hour shot was crumbling under the pressure of US Border Patrol. Shit.

We walked briskly inside the tiny building filled with official looking border patrol agents. They bustled about, likely preventing hard criminals (like ourselves) from endangering their beloved country.

“Passports?”

The well-fed, follically challenged gentleman reached for our passports. I could smell the fear in this border patrol hell. Did I smell of fear? I inconspicuously lifted my left arm and took a rapid sniff. Lady Speed Stick baby powder. Surely it wasn’t  me that wreaked of fear.

As the gentleman leafed through our passports, I realized that this was as good as time as any to pull out the “innocent/na├»ve” card.

“Sir, I just realized that we have 3 christmas oranges in our car. I understand that we are not to bring fruit into your country. Should I leave them with you?” I smiled sweetly and pulled the oranges out of my purse.This was a peace offering. Oranges for our freedom. I was sure we had an understanding.

To my dismay, the now perspiring, over-fed gentleman did not flinch, but simply grabbed the oranges off the desk.

“I’ll have to confiscate these ma’am.”

Shit. This dude was a hard-ass. I glanced at Kevin who looked bewildered with my attempt to bargain for freedom. He shook his head in disbelief, as if to say, “Do you have no shame?”

“Sir, you’ll need to come with me.”

The gentleman led Kevin through a set of bullet-proof doors. I watched him walk away. Would I ever see him again? Why the h did he choose this day to wear his “I lost my ass in Atlantic City” T-shirt today? We would never make it to Florida.

My thoughts shifted to the lie that we had prepared. “We are on vacation. One month in Pensacola,” I repeatedly told myself. I couldn’t believe that I was about to lie to immigration officers. Surely we would get caught. 

Hours passed (or perhaps 15 minutes). Kevin emerged, apparently unscathed, although  the tension in his face was apparent. He quietly brushed my arm in passing. I could feel his anxiety. Although he did not speak aloud, I could hear his determination “don’t let them break you.” We were a team. I would not let him down.

I entered the “interrogation” room. The perspiring, well-fed gentleman (let’s call him fat sweaty guy) was now joined by a tall skinny man donning a mustache and a CBP mesh-back hat (Canadian border patrol?).

 “Ma’am, please remove your jacket –arms out.”

I did as told, feeling my knees shaking beneath me.

Fat, sweaty guy proceeded to pat me down. Due to a recent stress-induced weightless, my jeans no longer sat snugly on my hips. As fat sweaty guy patted me down, my “Luckies” ($70 jeans on sale!) fell off my bony frame, revealing the waistband of my lime green thong. Fat sweaty guy continued feeling my back pockets, side pockets, pant legs…all the while, getting a good view of the bright green underwear. I silently promised myself that if we got through this horrendous ordeal, I would put on that extra 10 pounds so these damn jeans stayed put.

This whole frisking thing was making me slightly uncomfortable; however, I reassured myself that Evan also endured this inappropriate touching – and water torture, for that matter.

After my “frisking”, I proceeded to respond to the barrage of questions.

“What do you do for a living?” 
"Unemployed."
“what does your husband do?” 
"Unemployed."
“What will you do in florida?” 
"hang out."

The questions came fast and furious. I handled these men like a pro. They were putty in my hands. I actually started to believe my own lies, thinking how pathetic and sad our lives must look to these very important CBP’s. Lie after lie emerged from my lips. I giggled, I flirted, my lime green thong still peeking shamelessly out of my jeans.

“You own a house?”

“Yes.”

“How much are your mortgage payments?”

Shit. Um…..As I frantically replayed the “budget talks” my husband made me endure, I suddenly wished that I had paid attention. I could see Kevin’s lips moving, sternly explaining our budget and the monthly payments we were required to pay. Why didn’t I listen? Eyes glazed over, I fantasized about new purses, sunning on the beach, anything but that damn budget. I mentally resolved to actively participate in our finances in 2007.

“You don’t know how much your mortgage payments are?” Fat, sweaty, and now post-frisk PERVERTED guy questioned me with disgust.

“Um, my husband is in charge of our finances. I don’t usually get involved with that kind of stuff,” I smiled sweetly and tossed my long blonde hair to the side. Yes, I was now playing the dumb blonde card. Everyone knows the dumb blonde is not a threat to the nation.

“Okay then, we’re done. You can join your husband in the waiting room. We’ll just need to search your vehicle”

I was flooded with relief. I was secretly quite impressed with my cool response under intense interrogation. I envisioned Horatio from CSI tossing his sunglasses on the table in frustration. “She can’t be broken”. Heh.

Taking a chair next to Kevin, I sighed and slumped lower in my seat. I was almost beginning to relax. The vehicle was clean. Other than that hockey bag…but it could be explained. Rec hockey. I looked to Kevin for reassurance. Kevin, on the other hand, sat bold upright, arms crossed, brow furrowed. My confidence subsided.

“The contract,” he whispered out of the corner of his mouth, “I left it in my bag”

What? The only piece of evidence tying us to employment in the US? The fricken hockey contract was sitting loose in his duffel bag? The duffel bag that was currently being searched by our fat, sweaty friend? Shit. Vacation my ass. Soon, these officers would discover that Kev had signed a contact…and no visa in sight. This was bad.

Mind swirling, I envisioned the consequences of this new piece of information. A hefty fine? Incarceration? Perhaps we could turn back now, claiming this was all a ridiculous misunderstanding. “Oh, silly us, we thought we were crossing into Manitoba. Haha”
In a state of panic and desperation, I began to concoct a tale that would play me off as the innocent victim. “Sir, my husband, if you can call him that, ensured me that we were going on a vacation. I knew nothing of such a contract. Do not punish me for this man’s actions.”

Waves of guilt rippled through me. “For better or for worse” I could hear my Baba’s Ukrainian accent scolding me, “You took those vows in front of God. You stand by them”

No, Baba was right. I was going to stand by my man.

We fidgeted restlessly while we awaited the verdict. Our destiny was now in the hands of the CBP.

Suddenly, we could hear loud beeping from the parking lot, indicating that our wonky car alarm was on the fritz again. 

After 10 minutes of straight car alarm beeping, the aggravating noise ceased. Kevin and I held our breath as we heard fat sweaty guy converse with another border patrol agent, "I can't get in that vehicle - the alarm is messed up."

"Just forget about it then. Let them go," replied the border agent. 

Hearts racing, Kevin and I looked up expectantly as fat, sweaty guy appeared, looking sweatier than ever. 

“Okay, here’s your keys. Passports. Have a safe trip. Sorry for the wait.”

Well, yes, they should be sorry for that wait. What gave them the right to treat two lovely Canadians like hard criminals? Haha.

And that was that. On the inside, I screamed with delight. On the outside, I smiled graciously, “Great, have a nice day.” Suckers.

Kev and I sauntered coolly through the building, glancing at the poor saps awaiting their fate. Crazy terrorists.

As we approached the now rearranged Jeep, I noticed a little jump in Evan’s step. A little cockiness in his hop.

Peaches sat silently in his carry box, not a hair touched, not a whisker disturbed. Good cat. He did not talk. He was in on the conspiracy as well and knew to play the “cute helpless cat” card.

Kevin and I did not say a word. We silently exited Border Patrol Hell and passed through the American border. The Jeep vibrated with anticipation. Breaking the silence, Kevin jubilantly erupted in his best Braveheart impersonation,

“Freeeeeeeeedom!”

We turned to each and high-fived, celebrating our successful border scheme.
  
Kev took my hand and squeezed it tight as he pushed the petal, speeding the Jeep up to 70 miles per hour.

I gazed out into the beautiful (where the hell were we?) North Point, North Dakota sky. The sun shone brightly above us. I closed my eyes and could feel the Pensacola sand beneath my toes, the sound of the Florida waves crashing on shore. Not a care in the world. Our future was bright. Kev and I had done it. Together. Team Canada. Us against the world. We made it. Nothing could stop us now. We would make it to Pensacola. I felt giddy with my newfound optimism.

“Hey what did you think of the frisking?” I laughed and patted Kevin playfully on the knee.

“Frisking? What are you talking about?”

"They didn't frisk you?" I replied. 

Oh shitty. Envisioning fat sweaty guy’s inappropriate touching, I silently thanked the lime green thong and our crappy car alarm for our freedom.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Surgery minus happy drugs equals horror movie

When I arrived to the hospital for my surgery, Dr. M escorted me to a computer so that we could take a look at my MRI.

He pointed out the obvious unidentifiable objects floating aimlessly throughout my knee (where the h are they are going?)

He then showed me the site of my last surgery - the microfractures in the bone and the fact that I had grown some sweet ass cartilage (can I get a whoot whoot!)

"I knew I grew cartilage!" I exclaimed proudly, "I could hear it!" (recall those dark days when I listened intently for cartilage growth?)

"Yes. All your blood, sweat, and tears paid off!" he responded, "But see how close that floating object is to ruining everything you've grown. We have to get it out right away."

"Shit. That evil UFO is trying to ruin all my hard work? Damnit, let's blow it to bits! " I thought, envisioning Will Smith in Independence Day.  "Um...Dr. M...where did all those chunks of floaters come from?" I asked.

"Yes, this is the problem," he responded, "It looks like it's cartilage that is now breaking off on the anterior side - the other side of your knee."

We made eye contact briefly and I saw the concern in his eyes.

"Oh no. Why is my cartilage ripping? Do you have to do another microfracture surgery on the other side of my knee now?"

"We might. We will make a decision once we see how bad it is in there. You need to be clear for surgery - no sedation - so you can make a decision."

"I can't go through another 3 months of recovery," I responded pitifully, picturing the puking, the inability to drive, bathe, and care for myself independently.

"Let's just wait and see," he responded.

30 minutes later I was strapped down to a table in the OR shaking like a leaf, no feeling below the waist and no fricken happy drugs. Like a crack whore, I quietly began negotiating with the Anesthesiologist, "Just slip me a little somethin' somethin' huh? Just a little..."

"I hear that," replied Dr. M, "If you get drugs, then I get them too."

Damnit. I desperately needed something to take the edge off. This was not fun. Just a nice little shiraz in the IV? Something? Don't you know that I'm a fricken riot in surgery on the happy drugs? Why are you denying me (and all the OR staff) of this experience?

Help. This is NOT fun.
As I shook uncontrollably, I watched Dr. M retrieve large pieces of cartilage in and around my knee on the screen in front of me. It was kind of like watching a horror movie. I could feel the pressure as he used suction and little terrifying sharp tools to retrieve the pieces. He removed the chunk that was dangerously close to ruining the cartilage I had so lovingly grown over the past four months. He showed me the fabulous cartilage I grew and then broke into song, "Oh Oh sometimes....I get a good feelin'....yeah! You okay, Kirstie?"

"Fine. Keep singing," I responded. There was something oddly soothing and Grey's Anatomy-ish about my Orthopaedic Surgeon channelling Flo Rida whilst performing surgery on  my knee.

He then showed me the anterior side of my knee where the cartilage had broken off.
Decision-making time.

"Hmmm....there's certainly tearing here that didn't exist 4 months ago. But...it's not on a weight-bearing region and it really shouldn't be causing you pain. I'm going to help you make this decision. I don't think we need to do the microfracture surgery."

Thank goodness. "I agree!" I exclaimed, much too enthusiastically for someone who would have crapped her pants had she'd been able to feel her nether regions.

Relieved, I settled down and watched Dr. M remove my leg from the restraints and prepare it to be sewn up.

And then, the unimaginable happened. As Dr. M lifted my lifeless leg straight up in the air, something (leg juice??) began spraying directly out of one of the holes in my knee. With force. I shit you not.

"AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!" I screamed, "Make it stop. Make it stop. Happy drugs! Happy drugs! I would totally take an MRI right now!"

"It's fine," the nurse reassured me. "Look away."

Holy hell. Traumatizing experience but decent outcome.

I will be spending the next 2 weeks recovering. My fabulous mother is at my side and she will be lovingly providing me with happy drugs on request.



I couldn't find a shirt that said, "I watched leg juice squirt out of holes in my knee"


Saturday, September 15, 2012

September Goal: survive an MRI and endure UFO surgery

I went for an MRI of my crappy knee this week. It scared the shit out of me. If you've ever had an MRI that scared the shit out of you, please feel free to comment and share. If your MRI was a super cool experience and you can't believe what a spazz I am, keep your comments to yourself.

Warning: This post was not censored. You need to get the full effect, profanity and all.

MRI Technician:  No problems with confined spaces or loud noises then?

Me:  Nope (seriously? I practically lived in a tanning bed my grade 12 year and I rode in a noisy combine with my dad until I was 13)

MRI Tech:  It's very loud. Here are some headphones. I'll turn on the radio for you. Here's a ball. Squeeze it if you need out ASAP. Don't move a muscle.

Me:  Sounds good (seriously? people actually squeeze that ball? How embarrassing - how hard can this be)

MRI Tech:  See you in 25 minutes!

Me:  Sure thing! (oh good, some "me" time to just chill)

Internal dialogue for next 25 minutes as follows:

Okay. Just gettin' an MRI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Cool. Here we go. Awesome. Ok.  It's on. Wow, that is loud! It's drowning out Adele. I think she's rolling in the deep, but I can't quite tell...haha. This is fine.

Wow - is someone firing machine guns at me? Is there a firing squad? Yikes. Focus on something else...something else...what does that word say? SIEMANS - that must be the manufacturing company that made this machine. I wonder how many words I can make out of SIEMANS? This should take about 25 minutes. 

MANS

AN

MA

A

SEM? That's not a word. Fuck this thing is so loud. 

Oh, thank god the firing squad has ceased fire. That was a bit much.

Holy Hell! - now the air raid sirens have been deployed. Thank god I'm not a Vet with Post traumatic stress disorder or I'd be freaking right out right now.

Am I freaking out? Maybe just a little. I'm going to meditate. Yes, that's a super idea.

breathe in - 1 - breathe out. Yes this is nice...so relaxing...

I wish the goddamn air raid sirens would stop. Is it cold in here, or is it just me? Why can't I stop shaking. Brrrrrr....Oh. The sirens have stopped. It's quiet. This quiet is nice, but it just means another horrible sound is about to erupt from the confines of my coffin. wait for it...wait for it...AGGGHHHH! Machine guns!!!!

Fuck I'm cold. I wonder if I'm in shock? Oh god, I think I'm one of those freaks who freaks out during MRI's! Shit, now there's loud clicking - it's like the firing squad is loading their guns. AGHHHH!!!! Get a hold of yourself, Kirstie. 

Breathe in - 2 - breathe out. I can't fucking meditate. It's not working!!! The magnets from the MRI are sucking away my heat and my common sense. Oh for God's sake, Kirstie. You are fine. You will be fine. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. My nuclei are rotating. No big deal. 

What did she tell me about my leg again? Keep it still? I can't keep it still - it won't stop shaking. Oh fuck, I am legitimately freaking out. AAAGGGHHHH the air raid sirens are back!!! Should I squeeze the ball? I'm gonna squeeze the ball. OH my god. I don't need these pictures - just cut off the knee and I will walk on my hands!

(Machine shuts off)

Oh thank god. 

MRI Tech: There, all done. Your pics are clear. You will have the results in a week. How was it?

Me: Yep, no big deal.  A little on the chilly side.

MRI Tech: Oh I should have gotten you a blanket. I hope it wasn't too horrible for you!

Me: (casual laughter). Oh no. It was just fine. Thank you.

Get. Me. Out. Of. Here.

Super experience.

As it turns out, the MRI was invaluable to my treatment plan. Last night I received a phone call from Dr. M,

"Kirstie, it's Dr. M. What are you doing this weekend?"

(Why the h is Dr. M calling me on a Friday night? Does he want to go to a movie or something?)

"Um...Hi, Dr. M. This weekend? Um, I'm probably taking painkillers because my knee is hurting like a mo' fo....and it's going numb now too. Is that bad?"

"I looked at your MRI and there's an unidentifiable object floating around in your knee."

"An unidentifiable floating object? Would that be a UFO then?"

"It's large. And it looks like it's a piece of bone that came off from the other side of your knee - the side we didn't operate on. Actually, the side we operated on looks good. You grew some cartilage! That floating chunk is doing some damage though. We need to get it out and see what's going on with the anterior side of your knee. How about surgery on Sunday? - unless you're busy taking your crutches surfing."

(So what you're saying is...I GREW CARTILAGE!!! YES!!!! I knew I could grow cartilage! I am a successful cartilage grower! whoot whoot!)

"No crutch surfing. Sure. What time do I need to be at the hospital?"

"What time do you want to stop drinking wine on Saturday night?"

"1 a.m?"

"Ok, drink until 1 a.m and then come in at 9 a.m for your surgery."

I'm not even joking. That's exactly how it went down (don't worry, I won't actually drink wine until 1 a.m - I'll stop at like 10 :) hehe).

So at 9am on Sunday while you're enjoying your weekend coffee with the fam, I will be roofied with the good drugs, entertaining the h out of Dr. M while he looks for my UFO. Wish me luck.




Monday, September 10, 2012

The Time that Evan ALMOST made World Juniors


As I wait in misery for an MRI that will likely confirm that whatever wasn’t previously shredded in my knee is now destroyed, I am grateful that I am not a professional hockey player.

You see, although I’m tired of explaining to my hospital co-workers that I’ve managed to eff the knee up even more, I’m quite certain that none of my colleagues are secretly hoping that I will never walk again - except for the Nurse who shook her finger at me and said, "Will you ever learn?" I’m sure most of my co-workers are rooting for me – why wouldn’t they? If I was a goalie, on the other hand, someone would be celebrating my injury.

When Evan signed with the Montreal Canadiens, he immediately entered the Canadiens “depth chart.” The depth chart is a formal ranking system that places each team’s players in order of importance, subsequently, the order in which players will be called up from the minors to the NHL. At one point, Evan was ranked as the Montreal Canadiens 4th goaltender (they “owned” around 10 goalies). This meant that if 3 goalies ahead of him became injured, traded, or retired, Evan would become the starting goalie for the Canadiens. The natural human response is to secretly hope that something bad will happen to the 3 dudes ahead of you on the depth chart. Likewise, goalie number 5 was definitely watching Evan, quietly hoping for a career-ending groin pull. Sick, isn’t it? An injury to any player in the system also meant a move, which tended to make me nervous. I would finally purchase a ticket to visit Evan in insert name of random city here, only to watch Jeff Hackett sprain his ankle on Hockey Night in Canada, resulting in an immediate team shift for all the goalies in Montreal’s system. Your destiny as a professional hockey player is determined by much more than just your abilities.

My favorite tale of injury-wishing (and one that Ryan would ask Ev to tell over and over) occurred when Evan was invited to World Junior tryouts. Four goalies, including Evan, were battling it out for the 2 spots. One such goalie was Roberto Luongo. You may have heard of him - he’s currently the goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks and a shmallionaire.

Ev admits that as he watched a 17 year old Luongo in World Junior tryouts, it was apparent that Luongo was in a completely different league. He was very good. And he had fancy, expensive, and much larger equipment than Evan (huge pads are key whilst trying to stop the puck). Evan hated him, just a little bit. As Evan’s faithful girlfriend, I hated him too. Although I had never met the guy, I had convinced myself that he kicked puppies and pinched babies in his spare time.

Try-outs consisted of intersquad games, where the group was split into two teams. Evan was at one end. Luongo was at the other. Halfway through the game, Evan and Luongo would retire to the bench and the other 2 goalies would finish the game.

Ev played awesome. His team was up 2-1 and had been outshot 21-9. He was pumped. Midway through the game, as he and Luongo skated back to the bench, Luongo tilted back his mask, nodded, and in his thick French accent said, “good job,” making Ev dislike him just a bit more.

Sitting side-by-side on the bench, Evan and Luongo leaned over the boards and proceeded to watch the rest of the game. Suddenly, Evan could see that a defenseman was attempting to clear the puck and it was directed straight for Evan’s head. Evan swerved to avoid the puck, and it smacked Luongo right in the face. Boom.

Luongo fell to the ground, face bleeding. The game stopped and the trainer kneeled over Luongo, ensuring their prize goaltender was OK. Suddenly Evan’s future flashed before his eyes – could this possibly be his chance to play for the World Junior team? This could be his big break. Evan stood over a bleeding Luongo and quietly hoped, “Please don’t get up. Please don’t get up.”

Down boy. Down, I say!

Luongo got up. They stitched him up and he continued to play well.  Not only was he the super awesome goalie, but he was now the super awesome goalie that excelled through adversity.  He made the team. Evan did not.

The morale of the story is: if you wish ill upon someone else, someday you will be married to a woman with a shitty knee…or something like that.

ahahah (french laugh) H'Evan has wife with bad knee!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Worst dance ever.

I'm not gonna lie to you, after my triumphant return to wake surfing last week, I became a little cocky. I felt amazing after that surf. My knee felt great! I began walking with a little strut in my step (vs. the horrid limp). I started squatting just a bit lower in physio. I made comments like, "yep, should be on the longboard in a few weeks." Confidence was high...until that asshole crutch came back from the depths of Candle Lake to seek its revenge on my unsuspecting knee. (I'm fully aware that this is impossible; however, I feel it necessary to blame something right now. I choose the crutch).

It all started Thursday with a catch. Followed by a "click." Followed by horrendous seizing. As I simultaneously gripped my knee and screamed, "Oh shit! Oh shit!" (much to the dismay of the patient I was assessing), I knew that something had gone wrong. Again.

Dr. M agreed to see me immediately. As he walked through that examination door, I saw something on his face that I haven't yet seen - pity. Damnit. C'mon, Dr. M, tell me to "suck it up!" I needed his tough love - I had no idea how to react to his sympathy.

Mr. M's assessment technique was...well..unique to say the least.

"Put on your dancing shoes. Let's dance," he ordered, holding his hands out in front of him.

Wondering where the hell this was headed, I placed my hands in his.

"Now stand on your bad leg and do a little hop."

I followed orders and immediately felt that catch, followed by the "click," resulting in the seizing which (surprise surprise) caused me to almost fall to the ground (Dr. M held strong) whilst repeating, "Oh Shit! Oh Shit!"

"See what a jerk I am! You thought we were going to have a nice dance, but instead you almost fell on the ground!"

Yup - this guy is serious. Dr M smiled at me compassionately? and as much as I wanted to hate him - I didn't. I have no idea why. I suppose this man is growing on me. I do appreciate the time he takes to explain things to me and the speed at which he acts. He's just a little unconventional. I mean, only a unique individual would dedicate his life to bones. I'm beginning to become accustomed to his ways as I navigate this strange world of orthopaedics that I literally stumbled into.
This is exactly what it looked like. Nope. Not at all. 

Long story short, the "dancing" test indicates that something is torn. We're hopeful it's now the meniscus because that will require another surgery and we all know how fricken hilarious I am in the OR.

I'd be lying if I said that I'm not bummed out. I'm trying to remain calm, stay chipper,  and remind myself that this will get better (and it certainly could be a lot worse), but, honestly, at times, I feel defeated.

I had every intention of completing Ryan's video and sharing it with the world this week. This may be selfish of me, but I'm not able to finish it just yet. I'm struggling to complete it right now. I want to be in the right frame of mind when I write my final post on all the amazing things I've learned this year - all the things that Ryan has taught me....and right now, I feel like I'm in the middle of learning another life lesson. So...please be patient.

In the meantime, I'm focusing on all the positive things presently in my life...my supportive family and friends, the fact that my adorable nephew as finally pooped in the potty (Yay Mark!), sparkly lipgloss, a good laugh, and Full House re-runs (just to name a few). In addition, I am determined to make crutches the next must-have fall accessory. If you can't beat 'em (or drown them in Candle Lake), join 'em. So there.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Saying goodbye to the crutches - Kirstie style

Despite my anger/annoyance/disappointment with the Ortho appointment last week, I eventually sobered up ceased Shark Week celebration and went to work, pushing myself with my physio exercises. 

While most people have one Physio whom they see for therapy, I have several Physios. I have a fricken team, people. Working in the Therapies department certainly has its perks. Our staff consists of motivated, passionate, Type-A personalities - the brightest of the bright - all eager to assist with my rehabilitation. Sue was gentle and encouraging when I was disgruntled by the swelling that erupted after bending my knee for the first time in 8 weeks. Kelly provided me with the latest research on micro fracture surgery (there's hope for me!). Lisa created "Fun Geriatric Aquasize" for me to incorporate my exercises into my vacation and celebration of shark week at the lake (well, she didn't actually condone aquasize and drinking). John set me up on the TRX Suspension training - using bands/rings to improve my squats and lunges (love that thing). Steve provided ultrasound and kick-ass inspirational U-tube vids (check out Darryl Rose return to NBA after his knee injury - any video becomes inspirational with Eminem rapping in the background!) Even our Medical Office Assistants cheer me on a daily basis, "Show us your sexy walk, Kirstie!" (Thanks Deb and Linda!) I am surrounded by supportive, interested co-workers. I'm willing to bet that most work places would care less about an injured co-worker. How lucky am I?!

As I water-walked 1km a day, squatted like it's nobody's business (man I hope my ass makes a comeback), and iced and elevated my knee regularly, all I could picture was Dr. M's face and those dreaded words, "I guess you're not exceptional." Perhaps Dr. M knows exactly what he's doing because it is those words that motivated me to work harder. I'm not there yet. I have a long way to go, but I finally felt strong and confident enough to return to one of my favourite activities this week (after receiving permission from the Dr and Physio, of course).  I decided to pair my favourite activity with a sayonara ceremony for the asshole crutches. It felt good. Man, it felt sooooo good (and just before the lake freezes over!) I'm on my way.


Assholes! (that's my badass angry face)


uh oh. The crutch is gonna get it. 

i own you.
Take that you stupid crutch.