Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Sunday 16 March 2014

Pride Comes Before a Fall

Britta Huegel
Dear You, 
"A beautiful leg can't be disfigured by anything", said my posh orthopaedist, as he almost tenderly put a black mobile leg brace around my left ankle.
I am very thankful to him: he gave me an instant appointment, managed to get an appointment at the MRT-center the same day - and supported not only my ankle but also my moral.
"If you are lucky, only the front ligament is slightly torn. If not, you need surgery."
"I feel that it is only slightly torn," I chirped - not my usual pitch, but I was in pain.
And I was right - Lucky Me!
What had happened? Well - it wasn't "pride", it was haughty impatience. It was the first time that I went jogging+walking in my new Nike shoes. Pink. Sold to me in the new Nike shop that has opened on the Tauentzien-Kudamm in Berlin. I told the guy what I wanted them for. They were not cheap. I was no beginner at jogging. But he convinced me of the merits of the 'new technology', when I asked whether they weren't a bit "soft".
So out I went - with my new Nike+Fuel-Band on my wrist (I'll tell you about that in another post). I just reached the first corner of our street, waited because a cyclist neared from the left. He was a bit slow - so I gave him a (nice) little Royal wave of the hand, meaning: "Hurry up, slug." Then I tripped - over the extremely high kerb (I know that one - but I was distracted, and the new shoes gave no support).
Landed on all fours. (Six, to be precise: my knees got their bump too). Being trained, I fell quite well, and my gloves protected my hands.
But I have to say: I never had that feeling before: I was literally swept off my feet - at the angle of 90 degrees, or so it felt. Swoosh!!! 
The cyclist stopped, came back. "Everything OK?" It wasn't - but I would not tell Him (IF I finally managed to ever get up). "Everything OK?" he repeated doubtfully, when I said 'yes', but needed some time to get up. Then I walked - hahaha: euphemism, I hobbled back to our house. Felt like being 14 again (partly at least) - the burning on my knee was a well known though long forgotten pain: I have grown up very quickly, and being long and slim I often hit the ground then. I hit it so often that till today I have an inclusion of a itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny little piece of cinder from the Messegelände in Bremen (fair grounds) under one knee.
Back to 2014: in front of our house I stopped. Stood. Thought. Thought of two friends who had accidents with their ankles a few years ago. And still labour at them.
I listened into my body. In my head wailed Tom Petty: "No, I won't back down." And so I moved on. The first two streets were - well - painful, but I had the feeling that something began to assort itself. Well - I'm tough. I did my tour. A bit slow, of course, and a bit pale maybe, and freezing more than the temperature would indicate. Shock.
At home I wiped away the (not so much) blood on my knee. Kept moving, alternating with putting the leg up. In the morning: a very fat cute foot. And a visit to my cute orthopaedist...
What I thought really funny - and I told him, ("As long as you can laugh", he said) - was, that at the moment after the MRT-diagnosis - front ligament only slightly torn - keep your leg restful - cool it - get lymph drainage - use Mobilate gel and the leg brace - my fuel-band started to blink:
"Go, Britta, Go!" it glared.
I did - and it gets better every day.

Britta Huegel

PS: And I am oh so glad that we visited Son and Daughter-in-Love in Munich before my accident. We are so happy: both have had got their doctorate in Law - and to celebrate that occasion I could still wear High Heels. Bliss!

PPS: Nike will kindly take the shoes back tomorrow and select other ones for me.

Sunday 9 March 2014

"Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!" Macbeth

                                                                    'The Princess and the Pea'  by son, aged 5 

Dear You, 
I consider buying one of the new Sleep-Tracking Apps - you know I'm easily fascinated by new technical gimmicks. I tend to "Jawbones" by Nike, which is also a fitness tracker band.
What held me back was:
a) my vanity aesthetic sense - they hadn't the turquois band I want, only drab ol' gray ones.
b) my various experiences of not being that talented in programming high-tech computer devices (though I can still charm a young salesperson to do that for me - the only difficulty is (look at point a): I won't tell my age :-)
c) and: the experts are not very convinced that they work. If you impersonate a 'William Styron' and just lie still and stare into the starry, starry night, the app thinks you sleep, because you don't move.
Do I need a 'Jawbone'?
A few years ago this question would have been met with polite disinterest. I went to bed and slept like a baby. Come to think of it: like a stone - I remember that a new born baby wakes up every four hours.
Nowadays I still have the very fine hearing of a fostress - in Germany we have the expression 'Ammenschlaf', sleep of the fostress, meaning: you wake up to every light disquieting sound. That is a good thing when you have to look after a baby or little child - but it is absolutely unnecessary in a person whose child has just reached the ripe age of 30 and lives in Munich.
I am overhypersensitive (look at the picture above), but I am clever (Yin and Yang...):
- when at 4 o'clock in the morning the central heating rushes into being, I successfully mesmerized myself to change it into 'white noise' - thus I learned to ignore it (after I listened to a real 'White Noise'-CD on Amazon - I knew that that sound would keep me wide awake because it sounds like our central heating...)
- I eat the recommended banana in the evening (and run an extra mile in the morning)
- I drink a mug of hot milk with honey
- I tried lavender oil, but I can't stand the smell
- being old-fashioned I never in my life used medication, (though Evelyn Waugh's mixture of "bromide and crème de menthe" sounds interesting) and will not start now; I believe that the body will fetch up in sleep some day (even if in form of a nap).
AND: why should I doze myself off when the reason is definitely extrinsic, not intrinsic?
Our old neighbour living above our heads has a bad hip now and thus leans on a thumpy stick and his orthopaedic shoe sounds on the wooden floors like a horseshoe - and he has to go to the loo at least three times during the night, and then his not-elf-like wife gets up to rush to the far away kitchen with a fit of the most evil smoker's cough I ever heard? And one of them snores - oh yes, you can hear that... But these are all things you reasonably can't complain about. Our huge flats are constructed in a way that you can run around in circles - and they do: in none of all the rooms on the 180 square metres is a corner which they don't stomp through at night.
None. But I would feel silly to ask them to use a special trail at night...
Husband sleeps sound and well. His hearing isn't quite as good as it was. (Yin and Yang again :-)
I believe Russell Sanna, the executive director of the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine who says: "The reality of sleep is often at variance with the perception of sleep", meaning, one overestimates the time you lie wide awake at night. 
But please don't tell me that in the morning! 
I can prove my sleepless time by the pages I read of the very -- soporific tome of household-wisdom, "Home Comforts" by Cheryl Mendelson. It has 884 pages in very small print, and very detailed descriptions about Ironing Temperatures, Spills and Stains, Fabrics That Work and other delightful profound topics - I admit to feel a bit drowsy now when I write them down...
I try to work hard to change the stomping into 'white noise', and suppress my urge to rush and administer first aid help for a suffocating smoker... but till I reached that stage, I'll read on. Oh, interesting: the chapter on "Poisons, Hazardous Substances and Proper Disposal of Hazardous Household Wastes"...