“Come on in,” says the x-ray technician. He is maybe twenty-five, and he looks like he’d rather be pumping iron. On the beach. While drinking beer. And listening to crappy club music. “What about your foot brings you here today?”
“It hurts,” I said.
His shoulders sag in response. I guess when you spend all day oiling your biceps, you don’t learn to appreciate the wry humor of pasty lady English teachers.
“Any possibility you’re pregnant?”
“Ha! I mean, I’m sorry. No.”
I didn’t think it was possible for Jock X-Ray Technician to look more miserable, but he does. Now I just feel sorry for him. I hope, for his sake, the next patient they send him is a slim, single Italian girl with a tan. Who cooks. And doesn’t have jokes.
I immediately stop feeling sorry for JXT when he slaps what must be a 300-lb lead apron against my abdomen, and tells me to “feed the strap around back to the other side.” I must be too much of a wide load for him to reach his arms around me.
Once I’m in the examination room, a similarly young, similarly jock-y doctor whips into the room and shakes my hand. “Hi! I’m Dr. White. Are you Jen? Great! Sorry about your foot! How is it? Are you a runner? Is running your thing?”
“Uh,” I say. Trudging is my thing. “I’m not sure I have a – thing.” At least not when I’m in an office full of people who probably run a marathon before breakfast and one after dinner.
“How far do you run? How often?”
“Just between three and five miles.” Which I guess is too far, because I had to hobble into your office making the stabbyfoot face.
Jock Doc takes my bare foot in his hands (yeah, it’s sweaty and smelly, and yeah, this doctor is a little adorable) and bends and pokes and twists my foot in an apparent attempt to ruin my foot forever. He then proceeds to use a lot of Latinate foot terminology, all while poking my bare foot on his knee for emphasis.
“Oh, you’ve got an inflamed fascia,” he says, but of course all I can do is giggle.
Hee. I’ve got an inflamed fascist. In my foot. Foot Fascist.
The giddiness is, perhaps, aided by the fact that Jock Doc’s emphatic gestures are tickling my foot. Anyway, here’s my translation:
I leave Jock Doc’s office with an instructional worksheet of stretches and a tube of anti-inflammatory gel that warns me to reconsider using it while using seven different drugs, one of which I’m on. One of the stretches involves freezing a can of something and rolling my foot on it, which sounds like it will feel pretty good, so I find a can of expired Jyoti Indian Chickpeas in my cabinet and toss it in the freezer.
While I wait for it to freeze, I look up places to eat. I find this:
Is it a carnivorous attempt to describe a meat-eater’s menu, or a herbivorous attempt to scare away people who have forgotten where meat comes from? I appreciate both motives.
Thirty minutes later, I roll my foot on a can of frozen Indian food, and it’s simultaneously the worst and best feeling ever. I stop when a muscle in my foot makes an audible crunching sound against the can. I limp angrily to the kitchen, where I fling the chickpeas back into the icy tundra of bagged, sliced mangoes and Weight Watcher ice cream bars.
I’m too angry at Indian food to eat it, so Josh and I decide to eat its cousin, Thai food. On the way back from dinner, we hear “Diane Young” by Vampire Weekend, which has been my favorite running song since I first heard it on Alt. Nation.
Two things happen: I remember listening to that song and air-drumming as I happily sprinted up the hellish hill on Pequest Road at the end of my run on Tuesday, and I remember Jock Doc explaining that foot injuries usually happen when runners go too fast or uphill.
The weather had been so nice, though, and it had been almost a week since I’d been able to run. I’d felt so good. When I first started trudging up hills, I’d gotten dizzy and breathless halfway up. Now I can increase my pace going uphill.
Or at least I could, before I busted my foot.
But looking out the window while we drove home, this stubby-legged, always-picked-last-for-gym-class English nerd just wondered when I could get out for a run again.
So I guess, maybe, running (or jogging, or trudging) is one of my “things” now.
But if you’re a jock, pretend you didn’t read that.