Running out of excuses…

Well, I’m on the list. 

So, now I have to get back up to speed on skates.  I’ve been up a couple of times in the garage, which is kind of a joke.  I just haven’t had the guts to go out “in public” and skate again. 

One of the derby girls Ruthie, works at my gym and has been so encouraging.  She keeps offering to come skate with me; and if I weren’t being such a wuss, I’d do it.

It sounds almost like an excuse, and I know that people are going to laugh at me about this; but, I think that I need to change out my wheels. 

The wheels on my skates are really slick.  I thought it was all in my imagination until I talked to Ruthie.  Slick wheels don’t grab onto the floor, making it harder to push off.  I’ve decided this is why it’s so hard to get any sort of momentum.

Well, that and the fact that I’m not nearly as good a skater in real life as I am in my head.

After talking to Ruthie the other day, she did say that I could get softer wheels.  Supposedly, real derby dames don’t like them, because they’re for outdoor skating.  But, they’re good to get started with.

For now, I think that I’m going to try them.  I am going to make a run out to Tempe, to a shop that specializes in derby gear.  It’s run by a couple of guys that skate in a men’s league.  They know their stuff, and according to Ruthie, are great at working with all levels of skater.  I’m hoping to get some pointers and one more reason to do this.

The elbow is back at 100%.  The only time it ever bothers me is when I rest my arm on the window of my car.

I’ve got to get this figured out.  The end of May is coming fast, and I have to be at least upright ON SKATES before I go to the first training sessions.  It’s put up or shut up time.

image credit

We can rebuild her!

Seven weeks, post-break. 

We can rebuild her!

There hasn’t been much to report over the past several weeks.  I’d been going to physical therapy a couple of times a week, right up until last Tuesday.  During my last therapy appointment, I complained of additional soreness on the spot above and over from my funny bone.  Increased stress, whether with exercises that I’ve been doing, pressure on the spot or ultra-sound in that area all caused my arm to really ache.

The weekend prior to that, I’d absent-mindedly picked up my little cousin, to put her in my lap.  She weighs about thirty pounds, and it wouldn’t be unusual for me to just swing her up.  The moment that I lifted her, I knew something wasn’t right.  From that point, my arm really hurt.

When I saw my PT, he decided to suspend therapy until I had been back to my doctor.  He was worried that perhaps there was a hairline fracture or something that had been missed with the initial x-rays.

Today, I went back for my follow-up with my doctor.  They took new x-rays, and thankfully, I was able to extend my arm and bend it so that they could get good pictures.  Dr. R. reviewed the films, and then came in to meet with me.  She spent a lot of time manipulating the elbow, checking strength and pressure points.

The good news is that there are no additional breaks, and the radial head fracture has healed nicely.  The pain that I have been feeling in my wrist and up through my arm is normal, and to be expected when there’s been trauma to the elbow.  The ligaments take longer to heal & recover.

She decided that the soreness on the inside of my elbow is probably due to tendonitis.  To deal with it, she ordered a steroid injection.  She left the room, and the nurse came in to set up for the shot.  I KNOW that shots aren’t a big deal; but, sitting there, waiting for the doctor to come back in, staring at the needle and the big bottle of numbing spray made me really anxious.  By the time the doctor came back in, and figured out the angle that she needed to have me in to do the injection, I was sweating…a LOT.  The only thing remotely comforting was the bottle of numbing spray.

The next thing that I knew, she was swabbing my arm with alcohol, pinching my arm and saying, “You’ll feel a poke, a pinch and then a burn.”

Um, hello???  What happened to the numbing spray?

It was over faster than it took me to type that, and yes…I’m a huge baby about shots; but, really.  I guess she figured if I’m tough enough for derby, I should be able to handle a little shot.

We talked about skating, and how I should proceed.  She wants me to see how the steroid does.  I can start PT again, and can do some training at the gym; but, she wants to see me in a month.  If things aren’t better by then, she’ll order an MRI.  If my elbow is improving, I can start skating again…WITH pads.

Good grief.  What a joke this has become!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been up and down.  Part of me sees that things take longer to heal, and that I have to seriously consider the risks of derby.  And then, I see pictures on Facebook from the Desert Dolls sight, and I could kick myself for not being there for the January start.  The new class is a month in, and from what I can tell, having a great time.

I just have to get to the point where I can put my skates on again, get over the fear and try this again.

Damaged goods #postaweek2012

Broken Derby Girl

It’s been roughly three and a half weeks since I broke my arm.  In that time, the new Cherry Posse has started training, I’ve had to lay off working out at the gym, and I’ve been suffering from a crisis of confidence.

Last week, the Desert Dolls posted a photo of the new Cherries on their Facebook wall.  I’ll admit, I did shed a tear or two out of pure disappointment.  To know that I was so close, had talked about going out, written about it and then blown the opportunity with a bad decision, I was kicking myself.

As more time has gone by and my arm is still hurting, I’m starting to doubt myself.  I worry that maybe I don’t really have what it takes to be a derby dame.  Knowing how unsteady I was, combined with the real consequences of an injury, I’m afraid.  I have to constantly convince myself that I can do it; but, there’s a little voice inside me, whispering that I’m way too old for this shit (to quote Danny Glover.)

The teasing that I’ve endured hasn’t helped.  I realize that this whole derby thing appears to be pretty ridiculous to some.  Even my mother will occasionally ask, “Are you SURE you want to do this?”  That’s usually after I’ve been whining about my arm hurting.  It’s also been suggested that there are plenty of hobbies better suited to someone my age…knitting being the most popular.

A broken arm and a sling make great props for insurance open enrollment meetings, though.  Standing in front of a group of employees, serving as a real life Show and Tell example of how things like urgent care visits, x-rays, durable medical equipment and physical therapy sessions are covered, I provide a better understanding of their benefits.  My partner loves to have me explain how I broke my arm.  I know she gets a kick out of the idea of me on skates.

This morning, I had my first physical therapy appointment.  After a pile of paperwork, full of redundant forms, I spent about an hour with the therapist.  He moved my arm around a lot, took measurements to determine loss of range of motion and had me do several exercised.  He also used ultrasound therapy.  He reassured me that my wrist is probably not fractured, based on how it felt during the ultrasound and with movement.  He gave me a list of exercised to do twice a day, and cleared me to start going to the gym to work on cardio.

For now, I’m going to work on healing, conditioning, and my bruised self-confidence.  As soon as I get cleared to skate again, I’m going to have to put them on (along with my pads & helmet) and try again.  Maybe if I don’t think about things too much, May will get here and I’ll just get myself to the next Cherry Posse start-up and make this happen.

And then, the wheels fell off of the wagon… #postaweek2012

I was comtemplating a couple of posts before Christmas.  One had to do with the fun I’d had with my cousins, Rachael & Lisa.  We’d gone to a Desert Dolls bout and had a great time.  I had talke to more people with the league and had gotten contact info for sign-ups.  Lisa had customized t-shirts with our derby names.

The next post was going to be full of excitement.  I had emailed the league, and put myself on the list for the Cherry Posse training.  A response had come back and I was in!

With the holidays, and trying to keep up with reverb11 posts, I didn’t get either one written.  Christmas morning dawned, and Ben had adhered to our strict “Don’t wake us up before 6:00 a.m.” rule.  In the pile of presents was a brand new pair of sleek black quad skates!

You realize, of course, that I still hadn’t been up on skates in the entire six months since deciding to become a derby dame.  I figured that it would be just like riding a bike…I’d always been able to skate, so I’d have no trouble.

I was itching to skate, and I knew that the January 11th start date for training was looming.  I had the Tuesday after Christmas off, so Ben and I decided to head off to the skating rink next to the kids’ old daycare center.

We got a locker, and I stupidly put my elbow, knee & wrist pads in on top of my shoes.  I laced up my skates and stood up.  I was decidedly less graceful that I had expected.  I worked my way cautiously to the rink.  Because it was still Christmas vacation, there were a lot of little kids wobbling around the floor.

I successfully made it around the rink a couple of times, though I felt my confidence slipping.  I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t as easy to actually move as it was in my head.

As I came around toward the DJ booth, having successfully avoided a pile up of kids in front of the snack bar, a little girl fell in front of me.  I didn’t react correctly, and lost my balance.  I fell backwards, rather than to my knees, landing squarely on my left arm.   By the time I sat up, the little girl had popped back up and was merrily on her way.  The DJ came around from behind the counter and asked if I was all right.  “Yes,” I replied.  “Fine, except for my ego!”  He laughed and gave me a hand up.  I turned to make my way around to the seats.  I knew that something wasn’t right.

I met Ben over by the lockers…he wanted to change his skates.  I told him that I should probably sit down for a while.  He told me that he was fine with leaving, if I wanted to go.  We put our shoes on and walked out to the car.  The minute that I tried to pull the car door closed, I could tell that it was more than a bump.  Ben suggested that we go to urgent care.

We have a good urgent care office near our house.  With two active kids, and my susceptibility to pink eye, we’re well known there.

Taking x-rays turned out to be excruciating.  By the time we got to the x-ray room, it had been almost an hour and a half since I’d fallen.  I couldn’t extend my arm past a ninety degree angle, and my wrist and fingers had begun to swell.  The doctor mentioned to the nurse that they needed to get my wedding rings off, or else they would have to be cut off.  As soon as he left the room, I had Ben cover my hand in soap and help me pull the rings off.

The doctor showed me the x-rays.  The only fracture that he could see was at the top of my radius, just under the elbow.  It is a closed fracture, and the joint had filled with blood.  Because injuries like this can cause the elbow to freeze, they don’t put a cast or a splint on the arm.

I went home with a sling and a prescription for Tylenol 3.

Later that night, I emailed the Desert Dolls league president, Evol Starr.  I let her know what had happened and that I would need to be pulled from this round’s training team.  She was very nice about it, and said that she’d just bump me over to the May squad.  She also offered to let me come and meet the skaters and get to know the league.

I’ll admit…my confidence is shaken.  I’ve joked about broken bones, and tattoos in the shape of bruises.  I didn’t figure that it would happen this early in my journey.  I have learned a couple of important lessons, though.  I need to wear my pads.  Period.  If I’d been wearing my elbow and wrist guards, I might have come away with a bump or bruises…definitely a bruised ego, rather than a broken arm.  Also, I can’t quit…if, for no other reason, than to be able to say that I got hurt training for roller derby!

On the List! #postaweek2011

I’m supposed to be answering reverb11 prompts; but, I am completely distracted.  Yesterday, I took a deep breath, screwed up my courage and fired off an email to the Desert Dolls Roller Derby league.  The subject line?  “I Wanna Be a Desert Doll!

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and with crazy work days, time with family and Christmas bearing down on me like a truck, I promptly forgot about it.

This afternoon, I got a response.  It was simple…they’ll be sending out an informational email right after the first of the year, and I’m on the list.  I know.  I know.  That doesn’t mean anything more than that I’m “on the list.” To me, though, it’s a huge step.

Suddenly, this is more than just talking about it or writing blog posts about a pipe dream.  Now, it’s a matter of putting on the skates and doing it.

Derby has become a bit of an obsession with me.  I find myself daydreaming about it a lot…every part of it.  I wonder if I can actually be tough enough to take a hit, what I’d have to wear (fish nets DO seem to be a part of the uniform,) what I’ll call myself.  I wonder what it would be like standing up, conducting an enrollment meeting with a black eye or a cast on my leg.

Jesus.  What if I really do break a hip?

Then, I get past all of that and think about actually skating.  I’ve always loved sports…both watching and playing.  As a kid, I liked being part of a team.  I’m really looking forward to competing, cheering teammates on, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

This obsessive tendency isn’t new.  As a kid, I was really disgusted when I learned that girls couldn’t play for the Phoenix Suns.  (This was before the WNBA.)  I wore my Youth Basketball Association tee-shirt as many days a week as my mother would let me, carried my basketball everywhere and was always practicing “the perfect lay-up” in the driveway.  I was the only girl on the block, and you could always find me, pigtailed, freckle-faced and sweaty, playing guard with the boys.  We kept medical tape and clean popsicle sticks in a drawer in the kitchen for those times that I’d come running in with a jammed finger.

This year, I’m pretty sure that Santa is bringing new skates.  I asked for a pair that’s a recommended brand, but not the high-end skates.  I’ll save that for when I actually get drafted to a team.

I posted something on Facebook about the league email, and my mother’s reaction was, “Oh, my God!  This is happening!”  When I talked to her later in the day, she said that she gets a big grin on her face, as she sees that this is more than just talk.  I think that she’s excited.  She likes the idea of being a Roller Derby Mama.  Knowing my mother, I will have plenty of glitter and sparkles on any uniform that I end up in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s getting closer! #postaday2011

Hello!  Hello!  Hello!

It’s been awhile since I stopped in to update this blog.  I was resolved to spare you the dreary slog of getting into shape.  The last couple of months have had some highs and some not-so-highs.

Today was my first day back in the gym in weeks.  With holidays, wedding receptions and illness, I’ve found plenty of ways to slack off.  Ben got a bit of a break, too.  His fall football team made it as far as the first round of the playoffs.  Disappointing for the boys, but a bit of a relief for the parents.  Winter season starts on the 27th, so we’ll be busy again next week.

Since the last time that I checked in, I’ve had a bit of a redirection in my goal.  Before Thanksgiving, Ruthie, from our gym, invited us to see one of her bouts.  She’d just been drafted by the Shotgun Shirleys.  They are a flat track team with the Desert Dolls Roller Derby League.  When I started this blog, I was determined to try out with a banked track league.  Then, we went to see Ruthie’s team in action.

I thought that flat track wouldn’t be as exciting, and that it would be easier.  Boy, was I wrong!

What flat track lacks in the “show” aspect, it more than makes up for in speed, toughness and actual sport.  The rules are the same and you have the same number of skaters on the floor; however, the banked track pack moves mores slowly and there is a lot less hitting going on.  The jammer has to maneuver through the pack like a person squeezing from the back of a full elevator car to the door.  In flat track, the pack moves more quickly, and the blockers throw hits harder and more often.  Because the pack moves faster, and it’s hard to get through, points are precious.

During halftime, I talked to members of the Cherry Posse, the Fresh Meat rookie skaters, that were manning the merchandise tables.  Each one talked about their starting point and encouraged me to come out for the team.

On the way home, both Dave and Ben assured me that they thought that I could do this, and that they supported me 100%.

Last night, I went to another bout.  This time, I had my cousins, Rachael & Lisa, with me.  Initially, Lisa had the same preconceptions about flat track that I did.  From our seats, right on the track floor, those quickly changed.

Again, I went up and talked to the girls at the merchandise table.  The league had just held their drafts, but were gearing up for another training loop.  One of the girls handed me a slip of paper with the Desert Dolls email and I just have to show up.  There are no try outs.  The next class starts in mid-January, and I have to pass a set of skills tests to be considered for a team.  They prefer woman with little skating experience, so that they can teach from scratch.

It looks like it is time to move!  new skates are on my Christmas list and Ruthie keeps insisting that I’m ready to join.

Jill continues to work with me and we are tailoring my work-outs to target those skills I will need…getting up off of the floor being the most important!

I think the biggest factor in my decision to try flat track has to do with time.  I have a better chance of actually skating with this league, and skating sooner.  With banked track, I could be looking at a year before I actually get to try out for a team.  Watching the skaters as they prepared to take the track last night, I wanted to lace up skates and get started.

It looks like this could happen soon!