Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ice Ice, Baby

Ice is nice.
It's cold to hold.
When it gets hotter.
It turns to water.

I stole that poem from my friend Annmarie who penned it as a child. It's been on my mind lately. Yes, I'm very cultured.

I do like ice, though. Especially the ice in the Angie's List Firehouse ice machine. I like it so much I go down four flights of stairs, up two and back again to get to that damn ice machine just about every day during the week.

But after spending all day yesterday and this morning with ice snuggled in tight around my right knee, I'm starting to reconsider.

I went zip lining at a place called Dagaz Acres Leadership Center Friday on a work trip.

Here's how much fun it was: I wrenched my knee on the first of about 7 zip line trips through parts of a southeastern Indiana forest. I heard this squishy pop and thought I'd been shot in the knee just as I stepped into thin air and was whisked across a small ravine. On the other side, I had the option of taking a footpath back to the shelter or toughing it out and flying some more.

I kept going.

It was stupid, I know. If I was smart or even responsible, I would have gone back. But it was a lot of fun to fly across that ravine, and most of the leg work (I thought) was behind me. Plus, my friend Betsy had a flask of expensive Irish whiskey and she kept me supplied with courage.

So, supported by the whiskey, great co-workers and a staff of great guys who kept a check on me, I hobbled through the forest, flying occasionally through the trees like a super spy.

I even made my landings -- one legged -- without ever once landing on my butt. I was less muddy than most of my team until we got to the "Burma bridge." The bridge is a cable that crossed a high ravine with a creek that ran with ice-cold water, twisting like an anaconda on the prowl at the bottom.

Betsy kept telling me that I could hop across the wire on my good leg. After a few more swigs, I considered it. While I should have considered whether Betsy's judgment was impaired by the whiskey, I'm pretty sure I had flashbacks to my childhood where if I didn't keep up with my siblings I would have been left in the woods to make my own way back. Or not.

I decided to brave the bridge. I took a step toward the cable and the screaming from my knee was finally loud enough to override the whispers of the whiskey, Betsy and my past. I started down the ravine on my feet but after a couple more steps where I thought my bones might be trying to find the light of day through my skin, I decided I wasn't too proud to slide on my butt through the leaves. Survival isn't always pretty.

I was covered in mud, but it was easier than either walking down or crossing the cable. Above me, my friend Michelle fell and was dangling from her safety rope like a fallen angel. I decided my slide wasn't the worst thing that could have happened to me.

When I had a signal on my phone again on the way back home, I called the doctor. The nurse who called me back quizzed me about the various sounds, sensations and pain level and prescribed rest, ice, and elevation over the weekend. If I'm not feeling better come Monday, I have to face the doctor.

The four flights of stairs that stand between me and my desk seem a little intimidating at the moment, though I am feeling better. Once you get past the pain of the ice, the numbness is actually kind of nice. I've actually graduated to two family sized bags of frozen peas. The ice kept leaking and the water wasn't at all hot.

I can't imagine how I'd ever convince myself to slip into an ice bath like athletes do, though. I'm not sure it's worth the millions they earn.

So Annmarie, I will agree with you that ice is nice. And it's definitely cold to hold. But it takes too damn long to get hotter and turn to water.

I would send you a photo of me looking pathetic and propped up with my ice pack. But the camera and the PC that lets me send it to you are both downstairs. And I'm not going down there.

I was actually more than half-way convinced that the ice/pea treatment had cured me until John and Lisa dropped by with horror stories of what happens to people who try to let their bodies heal themselves.

John has promised to ridicule me if I let it go and end up with a cane and access to those motorized shopping carts at Target. I think John might need a little leadership training...

In fairness to Dagaz, they did warn you not to go zip lining if you were having joint issues, and my knee has been giving me trouble for a couple of weeks. I highly recommend the place -- and zip lining in general. But if you go, here's something else I learned (in addition to how you should pay attention to warning):

Don't take a banana in your pocket if you go zip lining.

It was raining on and off during the whole trip so I was wearing my LL Bean rain jacket. Other than my butt and my feet from crossing the stream, I was bone dry. But when I got back and was packing my jacket in my backpack, it felt a little heavy on one side.

The banana that I'd put in there in case I got separated from my team and had to survive on my own (thought I was joking about my childhood and being left behind, didn't you?!) didn't survive the trip.

It had the consistency of gourmet baby food. The good news is my fancy rain jacket kept it confined to my pocket. Dragging it out wasn't pretty, but I guess I could have still survived on it in a worse case scenario.

So maybe you shouldn't skip the banana. But we may need to invent a banana flask. The whiskey did just fine...


I'm Cas. said...

Next time, let's be sure to pack braces for any type of joint injury. And maybe a granola bar instead of the banana... ;)

I'll go get ice for you tomorrow if your knee is still bumming.

Cheryl said...

Friends like you make me happy -- even through the pain... :)