My Flexor Digitorum Longus and a Blanket

Last week I ran four miles on the treadmill upstairs in my parents’ room, I have never run that long before and I felt a bit of triumph pumping in my veins. Unfortunately, little did I know, but triumph really hurts the arch of your right foot when you are finished. Every time I take a step, I feel a little prick below my inside ankle, like a rock is stuck in the inside of my shoe. I usually forget about the hurt foot and reach down to get the blasted rock out of the inside of my shoe, but realize I’m not even wearing one.

Yesterday, I had the genius to “walk it off,” but on the treadmill, and more like running. It didn’t help.

This morning I woke up; and with my head face down in my pillow, I lazily slapped around my night stand looking for my cell phone. It said 8:30AM. Having gone to bed at 2:00AM and no job to show up for, I desperately tried to go back to sleep. But now, instead of a prick in my imaginary shoe, my foot was being strangled by an imaginary foot murderer. I limped up the stairs, half asleep, hoping that someone would notice and offer to pamper me. No such luck.

I flopped into my chair and opened the google-gate of information. After investigating many pictures and explanations, I determined that my foot pain was attributed to my flexor digitorum longus: the tendon that connects to the big toe, wraps underneath the ankle, and reaches up to the calf. It mirrored the pains in my foot. I felt so accomplished, like a combination of Monk and House.

With pride, I told my dad my differential diagnoses (I learned that one by watching House). He suggested I find a heat pad and take some Tylenol. I looked in a couple of closets in vain and thought that maybe if I laid on the couch to think about where I saw it last, I’d think of where it was. Obviously, I got distracted looking out the window, and I traced the artificial clouds back to the airplanes going to and from BWI airport. I heard my dad walking into the kitchen and back out. His footsteps stopped. I couldn’t see him because I was wearing my gray sweatshirt and the hood blocked my view. He came over and peeked around over the couch.

“I thought you were sleeping.”

“Nope, I’m just looking outside at the airplanes.”

“Oh ok. Well here you go; I thought you might need this.” My dad put a blanket over me, and made sure it covered my feet.

With his twenty-two year old son lying on the couch, thinking I was asleep, my dad showed me how much he loves me. I cannot remember a time in my life when I felt such a strong connection with my father. The thought led me to ponder all the times he must have shown his love when he thought I wasn’t paying attention.

With a blanket to cover my feet, I smiled.


iBo said...

Eric, this reminded me of a journal entry that I read of myself at this time last year. My dad and i were driving somewhere, and he was worrying about my passport, my grades, and a million and a half other things that I in shut-down-holiday-don't-think-about-anything-mode was not worrying about. But he said something to effect of "I'll do anything I can to help you with getting a car" and I realised that He really would do just about anything for me. This of course applies to both of my parents, whom I deeply love and admire, and it's hard for me to recognize that their constant worrying and nagging is because they love me.

Kaitlin said...

Parenting and treadmills seem to be the blog trend these days.

I always love your posts, Eric, and I really related to this one. I don't think I mentioned in my latest post that although home does not feel the same, I am realizing more and more of my parents' love for me. Sure, we are "adults," living lives of our own, but we are still our parents' children, and I believe their desire to nurture and uplift is as strong as ever.

The image of your dad tiptoeing into a darkened room to cover his sleeping son with a blanket is just super touching to me. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. A bit unrelated to the rest of my comment, but way to go Eric!!! Four miles!!! Wanna run a race with me next fall?

Crystal said...

I admit to saying "aww" inside my head after reading this.

Hey Eric, you want to join me in my New Year's resolution to stop being so distracted?
So far I've caught myself once, and then I got distracted by congratulating myself on not letting myself get distracted.
It's a work in progress.

Eric James said...

Heck yeah I will join your New Year Resolution! I find myself thinking so fast about so many different things, sometimes I think I am a super computer; but then go so lost in the metaphor, forget whatever it was I was thinking about.

P.S. A bit unrelated to the rest of my acceptance of Crystal's offer, but thanks Kaitlin! My brother said the best way to stay fit is train for a half-marathon using www.runnersworld.com. Now I realize that my foot doesn't like half-marathon training and would rather stick to my other routine. If you'd like, I'll ride a bike next to you as you run.

Katie said...

I liked this post, Eric. parent-child connections are great, especially when they build from previously-unnoticed acts, and then are recognized. I've experienced that too.