Saturday, September 25, 2010

One should never ask: 'What else could go wrong?' . . .


. . . Unless one is prepared to get the answer.

I certainly wasn't.

My post-op visit*, scheduled for 9:10 am today actually began much closer to 11 am. It seems that a members of a professional basketball team in town were seeing Dr. Top-Flight Knee Surgeon and staff for their preseason check-ups. And they were ahead of me. That, in and of itself, would make for an interesting day. Such a fascinating gallery of tattoos and swagger.

But there's more.

Eventually, my turn came around, and it appears I am making FANTASTIC progress -- despite the frightful amount of "cushioning" that's gone missing in this particular joint. The hope is that the surgery will help stave off the need for bionic knees for a while. But best of all, even when the time comes that I do need bionic knees, I can still keep mushing. Halleluja!

Still, it got me thinking.

Every injury I've had in the past 3 years can be traced back to one thing: my passion for dogs. And the question soon bubbled up to my consciousness: Am I crazy or WHAT? At which point I remembered when EarthDoctorSon was writing his college application essays. One particularly elegant piece of prose described his passion for soccer and why, despite 2 very serious concussions, a broken nose, surgery to repair a deviated septum, umpteen sprained ankles (which recently required a very delicate surgery), broken bones in his feet, and bruises -- to name a few -- he continued to play.

His explanation: joy and drive.

With him, I came to understand that when a person finds the sweet spot where body, mind, and soul converge, the person is simply so euphoric in that "zone," that it infuses every fiber of his or her being, taking over like a viral bodysnatcher. Such a person will find a way past any barrier to reach that zone again and again.

Hey! That's how I feel, too, I realized.  And while I'm not an elite athlete, never will be, I have experienced that zone through mushing, through the fluid beauty of flying across wintry landscapes, deeply connected through joy with my canine companions. Yes, I'm definitely crazy. Crazy in love. Crazy in love with a pup who is maddeningly driven by an instinct that defies efforts to confine him. Crazy in love with a sport, that like many many others, can lead to injuries, injuries I'm willing to sustain but equally committed to preparing to the best of my abilities not to sustain.
Exhibit 1

When I got home from a lonnnng morning at the orthopedic clinic, I could hear the distinct wailing of Ginsberg. No biggie I thought. He always wails when he hears us come home.

But the wails were not at all typical. Actually, they were whimpers.

While I was away, Ginsberg, the 8-month-old escape artist Alaskan Husky pup, had begun to disassemble his crate, one heavy-gauge wire at a time. The thing looked like a mini tornado had passed through. Wires hanging all akimbo, whole quadrants missing, even a chewed up carabiner tossed a few feet away from the mangled crate on the floor.


He had managed to wedge his arrowhead-shaped skull into one of the smaller rectangular holes he'd created. There was no backing him out either. I checked the tightness and it wasn't compressing on his throat, but still, I tried to calm him down so he wouldn't doing anything else so nutty.

Charlotte, with her hot pink hopalong cast, and Cora, with her ever-present look of "If you don't take care of this, I will," hovered around nervously. I left him for a sec to find my puny jewelry wire cutters. But they didn't even make a scratch. So I called our friend Brian -- the one who Mr. B let in last Monday and forgot to lock the door when he closed it, the unfortunate omission that led to the Great Escape -- because Brian possesses every tool known to man. He came over in a jiff with the Mack Truck of wire cutters, and within minutes, unstuck Ginsberg.

 Ginsberg, ever the resilient pup, blasted out, headed to the door, and clearly needed to do some business. But once back in, he was sniffing his mangled crate, sniffing Brian, and harrassing the girls, most definitely ready for the next adventure. Eerily, though, he watched with the attention of an apprentice as Brian attempted to reassemble the crate. I could swear Ginsberg was memorizing Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 so that if he was put back in the crate, he'd reverse the order: Steps 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 BLAST OFF!!!

"Hmmmm . . the potted plant has possibilities."
It's times like these that I feel like
I'm living in an Indiana Jones film.

I e-mailed my friend Nancy about the day's events, and I think she captured the essence of my life these past 2 weeks in one sentence:


"You live a life of adventure without leaving the house!"


She's right. But I'd really like to take that adventure outdoors (in a truck), add some snow, hook up my exuberant Ginsberg, and bliss out together running along a beautiful forest trail. And by the looks of it, I am making fast enough progress to get to that point in as soon as 2 weeks.

But I guarantee you this. I will not ask: "What else could go wrong?"

And if you have any ideas on where to find a crate made of kryptonite (or titanium), I'm all ears!

*A very special shout out to my friend Terry who toted me to the clinic and waited around for hours.


Yours truly,


Kathleen Kimball-Baker
Manager, Disaster Recovery
The Accidental MicroKennel
Minneapolis, MN
Safe dog-sledding opportunities
available at your own risk®

17 comments:

Mary said...

That boy needs to get dome of his energy burned off! Lets do the dog park and tire that boy out! Mary

A Mom on Spin said...

thank you for using my favorite word. . . "akimbo"!

It aptly describes my life and sounds like it describes yours as well.

steven said...

kathleen - my oh my what a story of courage and then too i really liked the piece about knowing it's gonna hurt but it's the sweet spot that drives you on. been there, doing that!!! steven

Derrick said...

Why Kathleen, you wouldn't have it any other way!

ellen abbott said...

What a dog!

Barb said...

You should have called Ginsberg Murphy!

Rudee said...

You are correct...one should never beg trouble. If you ask, it will come.

I hope your knee is better, soon, and may your pooch soon be completely exhausted from pulling a sled and learn to rest between expeditions!

Kathleen said...

@Mary: I'd LOVE to do that. But I can't chase after him yet to correct any bad behavior. I could hang onto Rizzo, Glacier, and Hazel while YOU boom your alpha voice and make him shape up. We know he responds well to you. What do you say? Sunday? PLEASE?

Kathleen said...

@Spinning Mom: ya know, I thought about you when I wrote that word. Tickles me that you spotted it! Am coming over for a visit in a sec!

Kathleen said...

@Steven: You're so kind. Courage? Really? I've heard others say that and I just don't see it. But I'm so grateful that YOU do. And, oh, that sweet spot . . . so happy you know what I'm talking about. I dream that everyone finds theirs as well. Thanks for the visit!

Kathleen said...

@Derrick: It's spooky how well you "get" me and we've never met. I LOVE YOU!!! I'm sorry I've been away from "Musings" for so long. There's a hole in my heart because of that. I shall be paying a visit very soon!

Kathleen said...

@Ellen: Hard to imagine that little fluff ball turned into the Kracken, isn't it? But he truly is just as sweet as the day I brought him home. If he weren't, well, let's not go there...I've so much to catch up on Inside Ellen's Head, which is one of my favorite places to visit. Soon!

Kathleen said...

@Barb: LOL!!!! Actually, I think Ginsberg fits. HOWWWWWWWWL. You are such a dear to pay me a visit. I hope to reciprocate very soon. Wait - GINSBERRRRRRRG--GET OUT OF THE TRASH!!!! So, what was I saying?

Kathleen said...

@Rudee: That's what I'm talkin' about, sista! Happens every time. Kinda like how just one day after I say to myself "Hmmm. I've haven't been sick in a while. Isn't that great?" BAM! Aaaaaaah-choooo! What is up with that?

Thank you for the good wishes. The knee gets better day by day--if I listen to my body. I've just HAD to write some of these things down, so I've been getting to bed way too late and I know that's not good on the healing front.

Progress, not perfection as "they" say . . .

I'm itching to get over and read Leo stories. Be there soon!

ladyfi said...

Life is an adventure - and yours seems to be full of them! Take care of your knee and those cute dogs!

Anonymous said...

E 'vero! Penso che questo sia una buona idea.
Condivido pienamente il suo punto di vista. Ritengo che questa sia un'ottima idea. Pienamente d'accordo con lei.

Janie said...

Ginsberg and Marley ( of Marley and Me) have a lot in common. He needs a Super-Crate.
I like the new signing moniker.

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