Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rocking the 2010WWRC

Even when I'm not dealing with a hip re-replacement, I am still the Commander-In-Chief of AwkwardLand. I mean, if someone's going to accidentally light their hair on fire or fall and headbutt someone while trying to give them a hug, it's going to be me. When you add crutches, 16-hour work days, sleep deprivation, alcohol, a diet composed nearly entirely of coffee and the world's largest ass cushion into the equation, I basically become the Ultimate Grand Supreme Champion of Awkwardness and General Ridiculousity.

That was me at the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, where I've been for the past few weeks working on the communications team. I've extolled the virtues of wheelchair rugby on this blog before and it's hard to describe the 2010WWRC with any other word but "awesome." Awesome rugby. Awesome people. Awesome event. Oh, and free Starbucks. Sweet, sweet Starbucks.

But while I'm a huge fan of wheelchair rugby, I can't say that my Freaky Cyborg Hip was too terribly impressed. The most painful part of recovery is clearly over, but the hip replacement provided endless opportunities for annoyance. It doesn't help that I have the patience of a sugar-high toddler or that I'd spent the past 6 weeks in bed eating frozen grapes and was not exactly used to being out and about.

The really strange part of having a hip replacement is that there are certain things that you physically could do (bending, twisting, crossing legs, etc), but you're not allowed to do them for fear of dislocation. After a few 16-hour work days and (let's be honest) a beer or two, the list of what you are and are not allowed to do becomes a little fuzzy around the edges and you can barely remember your name, let alone whether your air guitar rendition of "Living on a Prayer" is hip-replacement kosher or where you left your damn ass cushion.

Mostly, however, the problem was less pain and more annoyance. Annoyance at trying to balance crutches, an ass cushion and a tray full of Starbucks. Annoyance at having to call my friend C. to come pull my car out of the parking lot after some douche-kabob in an SUV parked so close to me that I couldn't open my door enough to get my left leg in. Annoyance at having to cruise the parking lot for a corner spot to prevent people from parking too close, being unable to find one, and having to park in the wheelchair parking and endure major side-eye from quadriplegics (and rightfully so). Annoyance at every well-intentioned volunteer or passerby or hotel staff who used the phrase "Gosh, you're really good on those there crutches! Bet you could beat me in a race!" or "What did you do to yourself? Sprain your ankle?" Annoyance at having to install a raised toilet seat in our hotel room, thereby turning the bathroom into a death trap for my poor roommate Shelley. Annoyance at trying to "dance" (translation: "moving my knee roughly in time to the music while waving my hands as if trying to put out a fire") on crutches.

That said, I think the trial-by-fire of the 2010WWRC ended up being good for the hip. Every day, the swelling actually reduced and the pain got less. It's also hard to remember you're in pain when you're having such a good time and when you have awesome friends who fly all the way from Illinois to party at the 2010WWRC and who generally rock your world. Besides, am I really going to complain about a semi-detached ass in a room full of quadriplegics?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

I have just four words to describe my first post-surgical outing to the PNE:

Okay, I would have to step down as the Crown Princess of Verbosity if that was my entire post, but luckily there's a lot more to say on the subject. I'm not sure what lead me to think, "Gee, I have been in bed for a month straight and have had major surgery, so I should really ease myself back in to the land of the living by going to Vancouver's largest summer fair on a long weekend along with thousands of other people who would shank your mother for the last mini-donut....for 8 hours."

Actually, that particular thought process was caused by a few key factors:
1) I'm kind of a moron when it comes to gauging my tolerance for things.
2) I heard the siren song of the funnel cake in all its deep-fried, powdered-sugary-y seductiveness. Also: the siren song of the cotton candy, the poutine, the fresh-squeezed lemonade, the donairs, and (of course) the deep-fried oreos. It was a veritable siren-song doo-wop group.
3) It was a chance to spend time with several of the friends I still have in Vancouver. Plus, sometimes you've just got to give your hip a little pat and say, "Okay, hip. You've been in the driver's seat for the past month, but now it's time to scootch over to the passenger's seat and buckle up tight because I'm about to rev the engine."

The problem with going places post-hip-replacement is not the walking, though granted that sucks quite a bit. No, the real issue is sitting. There are many different shows at the PNE (the horse jumping....the Chinese acrobats...the SuperDogs...the random guy in a booth who spray-paints a Hummer about 8 million times a day then cleans it with some special cleaning product and progressively gets more loopy as the spray paint fumes get to him) and all of these shows require sitting on hip-precaution-breaking seats. I therefore had to travel with a chaperone: my huge-ass hip replacement cushion.

I thought I was being crafty by shoving the hip-replacement cushion into a backpack. The problem: getting it in and out of the backpack was harder than squeezing my ass into skinny jeans. It was literally a two-person job. Maybe my hip-replacement cushion had also been snacking on some deep-fried oreos, because as the day progressed, it got harder and harder to wrestle it into the bag. Worse: the person who ended up helping me was Shira and Jeff's friend C., who I barely know, and whose system has not built up a tolerance to my usual level of ridiculousness. (He was, thankfully, very nice about the whole thing). Nothing like the phrase "Hi, nice to meet you. Want to spend part of your relaxing weekend help me shove an ass cushion roughly the width of your grandma's Laz-E-Boy into this backpack 8 or 10 times a day?" to really make an impression. Really good way to meet people in Vancouver.

Still, it's good to know that I'm easing my way back into the saddle (the metaphorical saddle...the literal saddle would break hip precautions). Giddyup!