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The Saga Continues

When the day of surgery finally rolled around, it was a long and stressful day.  It lasted almost six hours, and when the surgeon came out to discuss how it went I was the only one in the waiting room.  There I was a terrified 16 year-old trying to understand what this doctor was telling me, when all I really heard was “He lost a lot of blood”.  He made it out of surgery though, with screws and metal plates making up his newly constructed hip.  The following weeks were hard on both of us, and the subsequent year brought things no one was expecting.

The days following The German’s surgery, I was up and at the hospital when visiting hours started and stayed until they were over.  It meant paying for city parking every day and sprinting through the streets alone at night to get back to my car to drive home, but there was no way to make me go anywhere else.  He slept most of the time, and when he was awake he was in pain and angry and depressed.  As hard as it was for him to lay there not able to do anything, including get up to go to the bathroom, for me it was horrible to see my big, strong, boyfriend, who always promised to take care of me no matter what, laying there unable to take care of himself.  Our relationship took a 180 and all of a sudden it was up to me to be the strong one.

The worst days were when the nurses and doctors tried to get him out of bed and walking.  I always had to leave the room for those moments, there were some things that The German just didn’t want me to see.  At the end of the first week, it was time for The German to move from the hospital in the city to one closer to home where he would begin rehab.  This was the summer before my Senior year of high school, and as it happened my SAT Prep class began during the second week of The German’s hospital stay.  I still sat there with him every minute I wasn’t learning how to decipher analogies and math problems, but it’s safe to say I was always completely distracted during class.

After two full weeks, The German was sent home from the hospital with a pair of crutches, a shower seat, and a wicked scar.  He’d also lost about 15 lbs (UPDATED: I’ve been informed by The German that it was in fact 40 lbs and not 15!), together we must have looked like a cracked out couple looking for our next hit, as I was also under weight at that point in time.  Before I knew it, August was coming to a close and it was time to start field hockey try-outs and practice.  The German was making progress, slowly regaining the use of his leg, and every day vowing that he was going to get better sooner than everyone expected.  Most of the doctors and physical therapists predicted it would be a year before he would have full use of his leg again.  This accident derailed his college plans for the upcoming year, and that was probably the only good thing that came out of it.  The two of us got an extra year together before heading off to college.

Senior year started for me and was a whirlwind of sports practices, SAT Prep, college essays, working, and still trying to be there for The German who was home all day.  I felt so guilty going around living my life normally, when I knew he was still in so much pain and suffering through rehab every day.  I was being pulled in so many different directions, and it was only a matter of time before I was pulled into the guidance counselors office because friends, teachers, and coaches had expressed their concern for me.  I protested that I was fine, and continued on through the fall feeling like I needed five more of me just to get through the day.

last field hockey home game

The day finally came when The German abandoned his crutches, went back to work, and started to feel like himself again, and I felt like I could breath.  He was walking with a huge limp, still experiencing pain, but at least he was walking on his own.  That October, The German and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary and our relationship felt even stronger after all we’d gone through that summer.  Towards the end of the fall, I totaled my car driving to school one morning, and nearly went through my windshield as my car drove head on into a tree.  Thankfully, I only cracked it with my elbow and a nice man stopped to pull me out of my destroyed car and called an ambulance.  With me rushed to the hospital and The German driving to meet me, our roles were reversed.  My injuries were no where near as serious, I had some burns on my face from the airbags, and had to wear my arm in a sling for a few weeks, but some of the nurses remembered The German and remarked on how well he was doing.

one year

The holidays came and went, and before I knew it I was trying to make a decision about where to attend college in the fall and getting ready for Senior Prom.  Ohio State had offered me a scholarship, and its close proximity to Wisconsin put it high on my list, UCONN, and JMU both followed closely behind.  After a visit to the JMU campus in April, I decided it was the place for me and my college decision was made.  Also, the realization that come August The German and I would be 13 hours away from each other.  We both ignored it all we could, and agreed to deal with it when the time to leave came.

Senior year wasn’t all perfect.  We still would fight, a lot.  The German had a lot of free time since he wasn’t in school, and would want to go out at night, and hang out with other people that weren’t in school.  One of our biggest fights actually took place after the prom.  He didn’t want to go to the after prom party with my friends, he just wanted to go home, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t do this for me.  In the end, we ended up going home and driving to the shore by ourselves the next morning.  Throughout the spring, our relationship continued to feel strained and I began to wonder if it was a mistake to continue.  There were a lot of conversations that started with “I don’t know if I want to do this anymore,” but a full break-up never happened.  As I always used to say, I would rather fight with him then not fight with anyone else so together we stayed.  Soon it was my turn to graduate and our last summer home was upon us.

senior prom

up next, a broken heart, followed by a proposal…

Once Upon a Time

(no, Alex and I are not engaged don’t get excited)

Seven years ago however, I was 18, in love, and engaged to my high school boyfriend.  He was a senior, ex football player, smoker, and drinker bad boy from the public school.  I was a junior non-drinker, very anti-smoking, three season athlete, Catholic school girl since the 4th grade, goody-goody.  It was our own version of Grease, with me as Sandy and him as Danny, but without the fun musical numbers.

I met my rebel without a cause, we’ll just call him The German, when I was just 15 and starting to work at our local grocery store the summer before my Junior year of high school.  He was a veteran there, and everybody knew him, especially the ladies.  I had a boyfriend at the time who I’d been dating almost a year and a half by then, we were from the same side of the tracks and had gone to school together since the 4th grade.  To say the two boys were polar opposites was an understatement.  As is the case with most good girls, I fell for this bad boy almost immediately.  His cocky attitude, and constant flirting swept me off my feet.  Every time we worked together he would ask me out on a date, but I had a boyfriend and was a good girl, and he made me nervous.  A few months into working at the grocery store, my relationship ended and I finally gave in to The German’s ever persistent date requests.  Under one condition though, that he give up smoking.  He agreed to try, and we had our first date, dinner and a movie at his house I believe.

With us seeing each other multiple times a week at work, and every weekend our relationship progressed quickly.  I was smitten, and I think within a month we had exchanged the L-word.  Unfortunately, my parents were not as happy with my new boyfriend as I was.  “He’s from the public school,” my mom said.  “We don’t even know his family!”  My dad just didn’t like him, plain and simple.  Still, our relationship continued.  We went to my winter formal, junior prom, and I attended his high school graduation.

Our relationship wasn’t perfect though, we could fight with the best of them, and I spent a lot of time throwing my cell phone at the wall in a crying rage.  We always made up though, and with The German set to head off to college in Wisconsin at the end of the summer we were trying to make the most of our time together, well I was anyway.  My family was heading on vacation for a week in Ocean City, NJ and The German had to work but had promised to come down for some of it.  The middle of the week rolled around, and he wasn’t answering my phone calls (I didn’t have texting yet) so naturally I was furious at him.  My cousin and I were out with some other friends I had down the shore that week when I got a phone call from my mom to come home immediately.  She sounded serious, so we did, except no one was home when we got there.  There was a message on the house answering machine, so I played it and as I listened my world fell apart.  It was from my boyfriends dad.  “Kelly, The German was in a pretty serious car accident, he’s been airlifted to the hospital and is in intensive care.”  I’m not sure if there was more to the message, because after I heard that I immediately collapsed onto the floor in tears.  I remember my cousin hugging me as I cried, packing my suitcase, and my mom having to drug me with a Valium to keep me from driving home to PA that night.

First thing the next morning I was up and in the car driving to Philadelphia where The German was in ICU.  When I arrived and saw him laying there, I almost started crying again, until he told me he’d kick me out of his room if I did.  The driver of a van had run a red light, t-boning his car as he went to make a left turn completely smashing the driver side of the car and shattering The German’s left hip in the process.  Paramedics on the scene told him he would have died if he’d been wearing his seat belt.  The fact that he was able to be thrown to the passenger side of the car saved his life.  Those first few days before surgery, he had a bar inserted above the knee with a weight hanging on it to keep his leg out of the hip socket.  He couldn’t get out of bed and couldn’t move without pain.  He had a Morphine drip that kept him only semi-conscious and was still in ICU.

When the day of surgery finally rolled around, it was a long and stressful day.  It lasted almost six hours, and when the surgeon came out to discuss how it went I was the only one in the waiting room.  There I was a terrified 16 year-old trying to understand what this doctor was telling me, when all I really heard was “He lost a lot of blood”.  He made it out of surgery though, with screws and metal plates making up his newly constructed hip.  The following weeks were hard on both of us, and the subsequent year brought things no one was expecting.

To be continued…

Brush Your Shoulders Off

So I don’t know if ya’ll know this about me, but I used to be kind of a big deal back in grade school and high school.  I know I’ve mentioned before that I was a member of the track team, and I was actually pretty damn good.  My running career started in the 4th grade when I joined my grade school track team.  From 4th-8th grade I excelled in events like the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 4x100m relay.  I even ran at the Penn Relays as the anchor (read fastest) member of the team for two years.  When I started 7th grade, I was somehow convinced to join the cross-country team in order to be more prepared for the spring track season.  I HATED cross-country. I liked to run fast, not for long periods of time.  Every Sunday at the meets, which were held in Fairmont Park, I would run up the first big hill and down it into the woods and once I was out of sight start to walk.  I made it through the season, but come the spring when my coach tried to put me in the 800 m, I put my foot down.  I said nuh uh, no way, no how, I’m never running anything more that a 400 and I didn’t even do that willingly.  To me the 400 m race was the most painful thing out there, a full sprint for one lap around the track.  I always got so nervous I’d throw up before it, you would think I would have purposely lost so I wouldn’t be put in it anymore.  No, I’m too competitive for that.  So I kept winning, and kept getting put in it, but my hatred of it never faded.  My 8th grade year was a repeat of the one before, cross-country in the fall followed by track in the spring, and more 400 m races.

2000 team champ plaque, 2001 3rd place plaques for triple jump and high jump

Moving on to high school, I decided to try out for the field hockey team and only run cross-country if I didn’t make it.  You bet your ass I came home from tryouts every day hoping and praying to not get cut so I wouldn’t have to join the cross-country team.  Luckily, I made the field hockey team and spent the next four falls on the field in a skirt and not in the woods in running flats.  High school brought another thing besides playing a sport in a skirt that I was unaccustomed to, indoor track.  I joined winter track my freshman year after getting cut from the basketball team (devastating at the time but now I’m glad it worked out that way) and was thrown into the world of high school running.  I still remember my first practice and our assistant coach, Sean, asking me if I could run for 25 minutes.  “Oh yeah, definitely,” I said.  Haha, wrong.  I think we got about 10-15 minutes into the run before I wanted to die.  Unfortunately for me, my coach’s saw a distance runner in me.  I was 5’8″ and skinny, about 25 lbs thinner than I currently am, and built like a distance runner.  Damn you long legs!  I held my ground though, and maintained I was a sprinter, through and through, but with high school came more competition and the 28 second 200s and 65 second 400s that were winning me championships in 7th and 8th grade were barely good enough for 4th in high school.  I did manage to drop my 200 time by about 1 second and 400 by about 5 by the end of high school, but those races were not meant for me.

various medals for triple jump, long jump, and high jump

I went through the options with my coach’s, still vehemently denying anything remotely resembling a distance run because I hated it so much and made me want to throw up and cry at the same time.  We moved towards a new path, something else a tall, skinny, relatively fast girl could be could at.  Field events.  I tackled learning them with a passion I never knew I could have for track.  I learned how to triple jump, better long jump form, and the most fun thing of all, high jump.  These three events became my forte, and before I knew it I was winning medals and championships again, with an occasional 400 m race thrown in for torture.  The best part of excelling in these events?  My daily runs never exceeded 20-25 minutes, yes it was truly the best place for me and I was happy there.

Indoor season medals for tj, lj, and hj

What is the point of this long and rambly post, you ask?  I just think it’s funny.  If you were to go back to any of my coach’s now and tell them I was willingly running 5 miles a few times a week, they would laugh in your face.  Tell them I voluntarily signed up for a half-marathon they might die of shock.  If you had told high school me this is what I’d be doing 1o years later (oh god has it really been that long?) I’d have called you a moron, flipped my hair over my shoulder, and turned on my heel and stomped away.  Funny how much things have changed, isn’t it, although I do have that same attitude.

my favorite

Anywhoooo, last night in accordance with my training plan I tackled a 5 mile tempo run and it was fabulous!  I accidentally stuffed my face full of chicken tenders and french fries at lunch, and it was still sitting heavy in my belly at 4:30 when I got to the gym so it was anyones guess how my run was going to go.  Thankfully it was delightful.  I did a mile warm-up at 10 min/mile pace, 3 miles at 8:34 pace, and a mile cool-down at 10 min pace.  The run was over before I knew it, and 8:34 for three miles actually felt comfortable.  Hooray!

Dinner was some of the tortellini I made Tuesday night, only served cold with Italian dressing instead of hot with marinara sauce.  Twas delightful.  Then I enjoyed some more Pinot on the couch watching the Yankees/Rays game (omg the suspense) and Hellcats because I’m a sucker for anything that involves any sort of tumbling.  While I was at home in sweats, Alex was at a pre-screening event in NYC for the movie The Town with Ben Affleck.  I think he liked it, his exact words were, “If you ever lived in Boston, you will love The Town.  Its like Good Will Hunting mixed with Heat.”  Alright since this is by far the longest post I’ve ever written I’m going to wrap it up.  Have a great Thursday everyone, only 1.5 more days of work for me!