Every few years–since my show choir days, actually–I’ve had issues with my left hip.  Too much tango dancing? You’re not walking tomorrow.  A rough, 4-mile hike uphill at Hanover? Sorry, kid–you’re gonna ache for days. 

I’ve had it looked at now and again. It’s my stupid IT band that’s the problem. For those not in the athletic know, the IT band is an overcompensating tight-wad of a ligament.  It’s one of the longest in the body, stretching up the length of the outside of the thigh from the iliac crest* (the edge of the hip bone) and down to the insertion point at the tibia below the knee.  It supports the alignment of the knee as it undergoes weight-bearing and stress from lateral flexing (like a tango twist).  Mine does a sucky job. 

That long white strip of fibrous tissue is the IT band. Illustration credit: SportsMD.com

I recently started running again, with the intention of pushing myself to join a running group at the hospital where I work.  So I’ve been training, increasing the duration of each run every week.  And I wasn’t stretching well enough, apparently, because that IT band got tight and a little achy.  When I set up tables for a hospital event on the 17th of April, I started feeling shooting pains in my hip, which I later learned was a result of my IT band rubbing and snapping across the  femoral epicondyle as my bent  knee moved from a flexed position into an extended position while I lifted displays and moved tables around.  By the time the event was over and I’d hit the fifth aisle of the grocery store during my after-work errand, I was seeing stars behind my eyelids and gritting my teeth. 

I came home with what I’d managed to stuff in my basket, and then I laid myself right down on the floor until I could get to bed. It literally felt like my whole hip was spasming with heat and needles, stabbing down the top of my thigh. I was crying like a baby.  I admit it.

And Mom was a mom–that means she brougth tissues, ice, and Oxycodone.

And, oh, blissful pharmaceuticals! I finally slept several sleep cycles through for the first time in days, waking up in a puddle of melted ice and a mildly throbbing hip.  It was great.  

And I felt like my lesson had been learned: I need time to stretch before running myself ragged, both physically and emotionally.

Then Mr. J called—yes, that Hispanic guy I went on a date with in Dating File #2 that I reallly didn’t want to see again–and he KEPT calling, even after I texted him and told him I was nursing an injured hip and planned on sleeping the weekend away under the fuzzy blanket of painkillers and anti-inflammatories.   Apparently, his English either reallly sucks, or he can’t take a hint.  He called seven times and left three text messages.

The upside is, he gave up after his tenth attempt and after he left a bratty voicemail message about how I obviously couldn’t appreciate/respect his concern for me enough to call him back.  ::Blah, blah, blah, insert the tiny whine of a miniature violin played by a Siamese cat in a sombrero. . . ::   I might have fallen for his guilt trip if he hadn’t stepped in his own trap by ignoring/disrespecting my obvious wish to be left alone to sleep and heal.

So, for those of you who’ve been asking what happened to Mr. J, there’s your answer:  Gone in a huff.

In the days following–full of intense time at work planning for another event, one of our biggest annual PR events (c.1,00o guests), to boot–it occurred to me that, while it was a good thing for this communication cut to happen in the case of Mr. J at this time, I’d run this script before with men during times of stress.  And that’s not a good thing . . .

While I’m sure many of you would agree that it’s understandable that, with my father’s death looming in the background, I was a bit of a basket case over these past months, and especially in the final year of his life.  But that makes two years now—TWO YEARS–of a running streak of failed relationships usually caused by my own flake-outs and inability to handle romantic relational stress on top of the major transitions in my life. 

Apparently, I, like my bitchy IT band, don’t handle being put through too many paces at once without the chance for some downtime to stretch, grow, and recuperate. 

So, I’m trying to figure three things out with God right now:

1.   How can I get the downtime to gently stretch myself emotionally in a relationship?

2. How soon can I do number 1, based on my emotional recuperation from the major changes in my life and the PTSD-induced effects of caring for my father during his dramatic decline and slow, drawn-out, suffering-filled death?  (Seriously, people, if I’m ever terminal with cancer, just shoot me or give me an OD of something. I’m not going through the organs shutting down/brain-chemistry-and-mind altering scary shit my dad did as he died.  And I’m not putting my kids through the nightmare of witnessing that, either.)

3. How am I ever going to encounter a potential mate in my current work life scenario, and how am I going to trust God during the waiting period?

I don’t have any answers to any of these questions, really, just hopes.  God only knows–and I’m trying to trust him again.  Ironically, Anne Rice is helping me do that.  That’s right–vampire authoress-turned-Christian-Anne Rice.  I’m reading Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the first book in her religious series exploring the childhood and youth of Christ.  Fascinating?  Yes. I’ll be writing more about it once I finish.  It’s definitely worth your read, just because of the wrenching humanity of the young Jesus coupled with Rice’s intense historical research that places him in probable ways amidst some fascinating circumstances surrounding the early Jewish rebellions against Rome.  Picture Jesus as a precocious child who knows too much and too little all at once and often feels overwhelmed and very small—and very human–during a brutal time in history that did little Jewish boys no favors.  Oh, and he occasionally spaces out and sees angels, which freaks people out.   I’m in chapter 10 of 30 or so.  We’ll see what happens.

To read more about Anne Rice’s conversion, visit her website here.