So my bionic immune system let me down this week. I knew it was a matter of time, what with the immune-depressant effects of never sleeping ever.

First Anna displayed very un-Anna-like behavior, namely moping about the couch and falling asleep in front of the TV at 5 p.m. even though I was letting her watch God’s personal gift to her… H20, the show on Nickelodeon with “real mermaids.” I also offered her chocolate and juice to stay awake, and she slept through all these offers of life’s bounty. That meant she was sick.

If this doesn’t stir your heartstrings and make you ask why I’d be so mean as to not let her sleep, you’re probably a parent.

H20, in case you don’t have a three-year-old daughter obsessed with the possibility that she may one day turn into a “real mermaid with a fin that swims underwater,” is an Australian teen soap opera with girls who turn into mermaids when they go in water. It’s a horrible show in all respects and aimed for an audience at least a decade older than my child. So she asks me a million unanswerable questions about the plot line (nobody can explain that crap) and waits patiently for them to sprout their tails.

Imagine Saved By The Bell, but Australian, and worse.

So then I knew she was down for the count but being the kind of non-sensitive kid she is, she never tells me what’s wrong or what hurts so I can only guess. She’s basically the inverse of the toddlers who cry because the tag on their shirt bothers them. The only thing that makes her go apoplectic is getting sticky, but that’s a completely reasonable reaction to being sticky and I do it myself.

Then Henry started refusing to eat and being extra-exceptionally cranky (terror alert was red) and then my throat started hurting and I went, oh, that’s why he doesn’t want to eat. So now I’m sick and Henry is sick and Anna is better and I don’t know if it’s the flu or not because the pediatrician’s office has a completely useless flu test that takes five days to get results from. My husband is not as sick because he enjoys taking copious amounts of pharmaceuticals at any sign of a sneeze.

I have a pretty decent immune system and I thought I was golden, missing out on lots of colds Anna brought home from school. But this flu-like virus bested me this time.

So here I am, making sad little half-assed computer printouts of Valentine’s Day cards for preschool, cursing all those moms who insist on baking, like, individual French chocolate souffles with Disney Princess Cordon Bleu ice sculptures for the four-year-old set (really, moms?) and watching H20 and drinking black coffee. If anyone thinks I’m making heart-shaped foodstuffs for any meal today, they are very, very, wrong.

Oh, and I’m on exercise rest for a week  because the orthopedist diagnosed me with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome. Say that ten times fast, then cry with me over cookies. Sucks to be a chronic exerter. So there’s that. Is it next year yet?

Medical Mystery Headcase

In my continuing quest to amass a full collection of obscure sports injuries, I am trying to self-diagnose the weirdest one yet.

My shins are numb.

Like, since Friday night. I had two really great weeks of working out, lots of days in a row, starting to feel fitter. I guess I tempted the workout gods again. Thursday night I ran a little preblizzard three mile nightrun. Friday I did a weights class since my husband was home in advance of Blizzardopalypse Nemo and I wasn’t going to let a chance to go to the gym go to waste. Saturday night I waded through the foot of snow in my dad’s driveway to use his treadmill. Three miles, felt great, no pain. On Sunday I did a great Spin class of one, just me, myself and trying to average over 200 watts on the bike. I did 216 for 45 minutes for a post-baby power PR. Felt fine. Lovely, even.

But in the middle of Friday night I woke to find my right shin was numb, like it had fallen asleep, from my ankle to my knee, in a sort of ellipse where I guess my anterior tibia muscle is? I didn’t think anything of it and even worked out the next two days (see: above). Sunday night my LEFT shin started in with the numbness. No pain, nothing, just a weird sensation of tingly pins and needles and numbness that won’t go away with anything, icing, massage, Ibuprofen, nada.

I posted this on Facebook (of course) and a doc friend said maybe I should go to the doctor ASAP so that set my hypochondria brain a-buzzin’ but then I called my trusty brother-in-law/emergency room doctor who said it was fine and I should only get worried if it lasted a month. So…I waited for it to go away but so far it hasn’t. Google believes it may be exertional compartment syndrome, but why the numbness hasn’t stopped with cessation of activity confuses me.

I ran, and biked, and lifted, and played for years injury-free before this recent pregnancy and I swear, my body is just falling apart right now. I’m going to pretend any and all injuries that happened/will happen since I got pregnant until a year postpartum are just freak things that will magically go away later. Like the tendinitis I had in my wrist after baby #1, and the plantar fasciitis I got this time around (seems to be gone already).

Because Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (and the recommended surgery that goes along with it)?

Say it with me now: Ain’t nobody…

So here’s a confession: I am a bit of a hypochondriac. More specifically, the Google catastrophic-thinker variety. You’d think knowing that about yourself would be the first step to defeating it, right? But no.

Hello, I am a hypochondriac. I also wore Uggs with bike shorts, because, hello? It was a blizzard and I was going to bike. Indoors.

See, the hypochondriac’s dilemma is that sometimes you might actually have a malady that needs medical attention. But you’re scared everyone will think you’re, um, just being a hypochondriac.

So I don’t know what the hell to think. I’m going to a sports doc today and will report back later. I know you want to know what happens in the end, like those medical mystery case studies in the New York Times magazine.

Have I traveled to any exotic countries lately? Namibia perhaps? Any vacations in the Maldives?

No. I have, however, apparently been developing a major wicked big lower front of leg musculature, I guess from cycling and the way you drop your heels with heavier gear. I think the constant flexion and muscle growth was too much for my I guess size extra small fascia? Why does my damn leg fascia have to be extra small when the rest of me is now small creeping towards medium?


Perfect Storms

When I was a kid, I loved extreme weather: snowstorms, hurricanes, blackouts. Anything that promised to take everyday mundane life into an exciting surreality was total fodder for my fantastical, escapist, bored-at-school brain. I remember staring out the old smudged school windows in junior high biology, imagining the thrilling things that would come to pass, after the next Blizzard, Tornado, Zombie Apocalypse SuperFlu hit. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy junior high biology, but I enjoyed imagining the practical applications of biology to an exciting drama in my head more. Who would survive? What would we eat? Would family mutts go feral?

I was obviously not alone in this hobby. See: every disaster movie ever made. But then we grow up, and we learn that natural disasters are just that, disastrous, and they hurt us in grownup ways. People get hurt, houses get ruined, lives get destroyed.

But sometimes that imp of the perverse still lingers deep down, that 12-year-old dork who wants to spend the night sleeping in the museum because no one can get home. I bet some boys would imagine video game hijinks would then ensue, while I was content to picture our town covered in snow, or water, or everyone gone except a few survivors, wolves and tumbleweed invading the empty, silent streets. Sure, it would be sad, and I’d miss people and stuff, but wouldn’t that be cool?

Maybe as adults what we enjoy is that rare camaraderie that big, collective events bring. Now, finally, suddenly, everyone is talking about the same thing on the Facebook feed. We feel part of one coherent community, and for once the enemy isn’t each other, but it’s that Hurricane. Or the elements. Isn’t that how we were meant to live? A big group hunkered down against the lions and tigers?

No one wants anyone to get hurt, or lose property, but barring that, we revel in the work and school closures. In the weird timeout of being stuck at home, taking the kids sledding, or driving down to see huge waves lashing our familiar shorelines, life seems, well, just a little bit more lifelike.