I busted my thumb during basketball on Thursday night. It was the start of the second half and I tried to intercept a pass being hurled through the key. The ball crashed into the top of my thumb, making a "thwock" noise. It was the same injury that Shaq suffered earlier this year when Big Baby Davis hit him when he was shooting.
This, I thought, was ironic (the injury, not the Shaq coincidence). I'd come into the game expecting pain in my shoulder that was at the time engulfed with a yellowing bruise that spread from my bicep to my chest. The shoulder I hurt in September... I watched the rest of the game from the sidelines where the Dee Brown's Pumps went on to win quite comfortably without me. And now I've had to endure yet another weekend of limited functionality, more being anchored to an ice-pack. I keep adding to the count of days where I feel like I'm just waiting to heal. It's demoralising! If I was a major road with a sign saying "X days without an accident" it wouldn't ever go into double figures.
Of course, as these thoughts colonised my mind I took hold of my mental arm, led myself outside and sat myself down for a stern talking to. Of course I was overreacting. I'm not the only person in the world to get injuries. Many people suffer worse than me. And many aren't able to go to SportsMed and work on their x-ray collection and have their parts wrapped in sports tape either. I need to stop complaining, rest, ice, compress, elevate, medicate, stretch, ice some more, stretch some more. I needed to stop being melodramatic, be patient and things will be better.
Then I thought, you know what? Maybe I'm going the wrong way with this. My pattern of injuries has to be something more than bad luck. A conspiracy!? It's not the first time I've decided that my misfortune is the result of some seedy collusion. I sat down and tried to be as paranoid as possible as I reflected over the past two years of injuries. Start with my wrist, the result of an unavoidable collision with the floor during a game of basketball. Or was it...? I wore the cast for so long that the theory became the accepted summary of events. However, I never noticed pain until the next day: September 11. Crap! What happened to me that night?
Next was the knee injury, the ITBS that refused to be exorcised. This is where things become interesting. My knee pain was its worst a year ago, the exact same time my wrist reconstruction was starting to come good. Both my legs have an iliotibial band, but only one developed any symptoms. And it was the exact one that would then need to be stretched multiple times a day by my bad wrist. So at a time when I might otherwise have been pushing myself too early to play sport with my delicate wrist I was instead stuck with a bad knee that I had to pull and hold with my left hand many times per day. My last wrist check-up revealed my grip strength in my bad wrist was just as strong as my writing hand. Maybe the universe was, in a way, looking out for me. Helping by hurting, that sort of thing.
Still, months passed and despite my wrist graduating to new levels of activity, I was still suffering from knee pain. Then, one night playing basketball I rolled my ankle. No big deal, I'm an uncoordinated tall guy; I'd roll them all the time. It would just be a few days of icing and elevation and then it'd be like it never happened. Except, this ankle took three weeks to heal. Which ankle did I sprain? The one just below my bad knee. I barely used that leg for three weeks and afterwards - you guessed it - my knee was feeling better. Was this a second serendipitous injury, or just a coincidence?
Then, a month or so later the shoulder pain started. As usual a physiotherapist said it would only last a few days, and that was six weeks ago. The first time my shoulder was treated the physio grabbed my wrist and pulled it in all directions to test the shoulder's structural integrity. There wasn't any consideration given to my wrist's fragility and I was unbelievably clenched during the whole process. At first I wasn't sure where this one fit in. Then, on my most recent visit to SportsMed to confirm that my thumb wasn't fractured the doctor decided to check my shoulder again and I was relaxed, now actually owning some confidence in my wrist's strength. I think that's what my thumb sprain has been about, the universe's way of forcing me to do everything with my weaker hand for a week. Also, I have been opening a lot of doors and turning on taps right handed using my middle and index finger. It's only been three days, but I've already noticed an increase in strength for these two digits. Actually, wait, I just worked it out! The point of all these injuries was to set up a chain of events which would lead to me giving myself the strongest two-fingered salute possible.*
* This is not the actual conclusion, which is that I obviously should just stop playing basketball.