Because She Was Hypermobile

The morning of April 12 started out like most of my mornings have looked since I’d started sleeping in the bedroom again two weeks prior. I woke up around 6:00am, made my bed, then started my way down the stairs to the middle floor of my three-story townhouse.

Unfortunately, I only made it down the first two stairs before disaster struck. As I put my left foot on the next step, I felt my knee buckle. Before I could react, I was on my butt, sliding down the staircase. When I stopped about halfway down the stairs, I sat for a moment and tried to catch my breath. When I tried to stand up, I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg without excruciating pain or the same buckling feeling in my knee.

I spent most of that Wednesday trying to convince myself it wasn’t that bad while also doing everything I knew to help it (ice, elevation, NSAIDS), but by the time the kids and I got home from church, my knee was incredibly swollen and impossible to bend. So, I decided after I got the kids to school on Thursday morning, I’d go to the closet urgent care that was in network.

As I went through multiple exams, x-rays, and physical therapy over the next month, I couldn’t help but think about Emily. Partially because I wanted her there with me through the appointments (I’m a big baby), but also partially because out of the two of us, this was a much more common issue for her.

My Elastigirl

I’ve mentioned before that Emily was a dancer. She was also a second degree black belt (which I totally bragged about all the time because I loved telling people that my partner wasn’t just gorgeous, but also a badass). Both of those activities help you with agility and flexibility. However, I’m pretty sure in Emily’s case it was her natural flexibility that made her so good at these things.

Emily could bend and stretch in ways I’ve never seen before. She once crammed herself into a contortionist’s box at the Ripley’s museum, she could lift her foot from the ground onto my shoulder, and constantly sat in all sorts of weird positions. It was pretty impressive.

I knew she was flexible, yet every time she’d do something I’d never seen her do before, I would make a huge deal out of it and ask her how she could do those things. Sometimes she’d say, “Wait, that’s not normal?” To which I’d look at her and respond, “Do you want to see me try to do that?” (My attempts always made her laugh.)

Being Bendy Ain’t Easy

Emily’s flexibility was awesome at times, and it definitely had its benefits for me sometimes (use your imagination). However, it also came with a high cost — frequent injuries.

Her ribs would slide, leaving her in extreme pain until she “shifted them back.” She’d frequently hyperextend joints, twist ankles, and more. After a 12 hour shift at the hospital, she’d almost always come home with tons of tension in her hips and back, which meant I spent many evenings massaging her with my hands and a massage gun.

I hated that she had to deal with chronic pain and frequent dislocations. But, somehow, she took it all in stride and often pushed through.

I remember one weekend in particular. The kids were with their dad, so we decided that I’d pick her up from work and we’d go camping Friday night. We went somewhere that we could walk along the river, and she never once complained. The next morning, she mentioned her ankle, and when I asked, she said, “Oh, it started hurting like Friday morning at work, but I was scared if I told you, you’d insist we not go camping because you wouldn’t want me to hurt it more.”

I can’t blame her, because I did have a tendency to want to take care of her and probably overreacted at times because I worried, but goodness. When we went to the doctor on Monday, he said the injury she had normally only happens in serious runners or people with connective tissue disorders.

As usual, she loved being rare… Not.

She Can Have Her Bendy Breaks Back

I’ll be honest, as I sat on the stairs crying because of my knee that Wednesday morning last month, I said out loud, “Emily, this shit is not funny!” Now, logically, I know it’s not her fault. But out of the two of us, my injury was much more an Emily thing to do, so I’m totally blaming her.

I definitely never want to injure my knee the way I did again. However, it does make me wish Emily was here because she would have known exactly what to do and would still be taking care of me now because she knows what it’s like to dislocate something.


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