Listening More Closely to my Body

That was the hot chocolate: a bright spot in an already gorgeous date!

My husband and I went out on a beautiful date last weekend. We went out for brunch to a lovely place called The Little Lion in Old City here in Philadelphia. They do a yummy southern spin on brunch favorites. I had a version of eggs Benedict with rib meat, fried potatoes and a spicy Benedict sauce. Brad had a buffalo chicken version of biscuits and gravy. It was rib sticking food, heavy but so delicious. Needless to say, our plans to walk to Penn’s landing afterward were very fitting.

It was foggy and quiet, like we were in an old movie. Old City Philadelphia is of course the oldest part of the city where all the coolest stuff is: Independence Hall, Benjamin Franklin lived there and its filled with tiny quaint shops and brick streets. The buildings are some of the oldest in the country, and the traffic while tight can’t get too big because the streets are the same size they were when our country was founded. The best way to see old city is on foot because I would in no way park down there even if I had a car. I’ve ridden the bus through there, and the bus gets less than an inch away from the parked cars. That is how small it is. So it feel small town in the middle of Philadelphia. The big behemoth buildings where behind us, quaint shops next to us and the Delaware River in front of us. It was Sunday morning and almost no one was out.

It was about as close to a quiet day in Philadelphia as any person has a hope to have. It was bliss. The only downer is that it was foggy. Philadelphia fog, we found out later, is more like the air soaked. As if it rained and then someone just stopped time. You are walking through rain drops. It doesn’t really feel like it at the time, until you get home and you realize that your hair and clothes are drenched. So, Brad has been working with his boss who was sick all week, and after being soaked all day, Brad got a very bad cold, and then a sinus infection. His cough was extremely wet and gross. I thought he had walking pneumonia. Luckily it cleared up enough for him to go back to work today.

At the restaurant, I was really surprised because I was able to walk up the stairs with both knees and then down them with both legs. Usually I only use one leg to lift me down because my other knee isn’t strong enough to lift without pain or lower me down without pain. It isn’t something I have done on purpose. I didn’t think about it. I have just been using one leg to go up and down stairs. That’s what I do. Every time I do stairs I try a couple with both legs to see if it works but for years it hasn’t. This is how detached I have been from my body. I used it like a tool but didn’t maintain or listen to it. I don’t know how long I haven’t been using one of my knees on stairs. I didn’t think about the choice to stop other than in the moment I thought, “Oh that hurts, let’s just avoid that.”

That day, I walked up and down the stairs with both knees working and not hurting which really surprised me. I was over joyed. So over joyed that when we walked down to Penn’s Landing I walked down all the stairs and back up and there are a lot of stairs. The Art Museum steps are famous because of Rocky but there are more at Penn’s Landing. I must have over done because the next day I had an unbelievable pain from my knee up to my crotch, a shooting pain every few minutes.

I’ve always thought I learned things very slowly, but I have to chastise myself for not being concerned why I couldn’t use my knee all those years, and then once I got that use back immediately I over used it. I, of course, immediately emailed my saint of a physical therapist and told her what happened. She gave me some stretches and told me to take it easy and I stretched it out and it was better in a couple of days. I was back to doing my full yoga routine with full range of motion.

Alas, there is hope. If this pelvic pain that has been plaguing me is related to my knee, then maybe I can eventually fix it! I am pretty happy with that! I go to my physical therapist this week and I will see if she agrees with my determination.

Basically, I have learned a few things. First, I can’t take my husband to the river when it is foggy, no matter how gorgeous it is. Second, even though I feel like I have been paying closer attention to my body, I am not doing enough. Thanks to my physical therapist asking me, I have been trying to notice what comes before, during, and after my pain. I guess I need to ramp up my mindfulness in all areas. I also need to remember to work slowly and steadily.

I am hopeful that beautiful days can teach me something, and my patience will pay off in the end.


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