A Sunny Wednesday Morning
The first part of my week is always the busiest. Part of it is because I teach 8 of my 14 weekly teaching hours by 10:00 on Tuesday morning. Then on Wednesdays, I gear up for another long one, four teaching hours with two office hours in between. Over the last few weeks, I’ve become accustomed to this routine, even if it is a little tiring. But on this Wednesday, I was beyond just putting one foot in front of the other. I was actually excited (on a Wednesday!) because I had an appointment when I got out of class at 4:40.
Karen, a former student of mine, was going to be my interpreter so I could go check out Curves, the gym for women. My intention was to find out if it would work for me, given a couple of issues, and if so, then sign up so I can start working out three days a week. She made the appointment for 5:00, and I was psyched.
Sidewalks in Taiwan
Many of the sidewalks in Taiwan are actually tiled, different kinds of tiles. The ones you see in the picture to the right are common in downtown shopping areas in Taoyuan and other cities in Taiwan. Some tiles in less commercial areas can be larger. These “sidewalks” are quite nice looking, and they are very smooth to walk on, almost like a tiled floor. Except that there are places where things are not totally level. As a result, it’s common to find steps or a wedge to adjust to these differences. For example, when we leave our apartment, we walk up four steps to the “sidewalk,” which then goes to the corner and continues to one of the restaurants we like to go to. On the second leg of that trip, we step down two steps to get to the same level as the restaurant.
Of course, if you’re traveling in an area you’re not that familiar with, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the steps and inclines. You do get used to it after a while. It’s also important to use a little extra caution when it rains, because these tiles can become quite slippery–some more than others, depending on the type of tile used.
The Best Laid Plans
It had rained Tuesday night, but the weather on Wednesday morning was quite sunny and pleasant. A nice breeze. It was time to catch the taxi to go to work. We walked along the sidewalk from the entrance of our apartment to the street about half a block away. When I was just a few feet from the two steps down to the street where the taxi was waiting, I stepped into a puddle of water left over from the night’s rain, and pretty much hydroplaned and landed on my backside after first dropping to my knees. After I caught my breath, I tried to get up with some help.
An important fact for those who don’t know my history is that I injured my left knee back in 2004. After several years, it deteriorated to the point where I got the knee replaced in January of 2011. I even had the surgery done here in Taiwan. I’ve been so delighted with my replacement knee. But when I tried to stand up on Wednesday, the pain in the left knee was pretty bad. In fact, I wasn’t sure if my leg would support me. Luckily, Dave had run back inside to get my cane. Just before he got back, I tried with Mac’s (the taxi driver) help to stand again, and I was successful. With the help of the cane, I was able to maneuver enough to get into the cab.
With ibuprofen and my husband’s help, I made it through my classes. (At our university, if you miss classes, you have to make them up, so I just wanted to finish them.) I did, and the students were quite cooperative. In the meantime, my colleague Jean was able to go online and make an appointment with my surgeon for the next day so that I could see whether or not I had done any damage to the artificial knee.
Off to the Doctor
Luckily, I was able to schedule an appointment with the doctor for late morning on Thursday. That allowed me to teach my Thursday morning class and head to Taipei for the appointment. Thankfully, the x-rays showed that I had done no permanent damage to my artificial knee. I also got an all clear to go back and try Curves as soon as the pain subsided enough that I wasn’t uncomfortable. Funny thing, the pain is much easier to tolerate knowing that I didn’t do any damage!
During the trip to Taipei and back, I was reminded how wonderful it had been to not need a cane, as I had before and immediately after my surgery 2 1/2 years ago. But Thursday’s news was wonderful. The x-rays showed that the knee was fine, and that once the pain subsides, I will be able to retire the cane again.
With the fall happening on the very day that I was planning to go to Curves, it would have been very easy to just give up on that project. After all, it requires a taxi ride downtown two nights a week (when my afternoon classes end). Then a 30 minute bus ride home. On Friday, it involves a bus trip both ways. But two weeks ago, I made an intention to check this out. Most other forms of exercise are currently not possible for me. Curves provides a different approach that I think will work.
Aside from enlisting Karen’s help with social support and interpreting, and working out a taxi and bus schedule around Curve’s hours, I had also worked in a reward for Friday’s (working a couple hours in a downtown coffee shop before coming home) and a productive use for my bus travel time (listening to MP3 files from Farther to Go!). Obviously, I had put a lot of thought and attention on this project; now it was time to persevere. So, I now have a tentative appointment for NEXT Wednesday at 5:00, and we’ll try this again.
Now, I’m off to persevere on other matters, like posting more on this blog.