In America, we have this game we call “Twister“. I’ve played it once I think. It involves colors and placing your hands and feet on the appropriately colored spot when signaled to. Usually someone winds up attempting some impossible position and falls down. The goal is to be the last man standing.
Well, lucky for me, I don’t have to get out a board whenever I feel like playing Twister. In fact, I don’t even have to feel like playing it. My life is one giant Twister game. Or so it seems. Allow me to clarify.
One time I was visiting Tabitha and exploring her town on my own. I met up with one of my college friends, and he and I decided to tour the sites. Somehow, we managed to go in and out of a lot of buildings which had stairs but no railings. I kept reaching out for his shoulder to use as support every time we went down the stairs. He knew about all my health issues (being my classmate and all), but finally I just blurted out, I fall so easily. I’d rather not risk falling while I’m on vacation because it takes SO long to heal. He said that it wasn’t a problem and that he was glad I had told him so that he could be sure that I didn’t fall while we were out. Fast forward about three months and I was emailing him to tell him that I hadn’t been paranoid and that I had actually fallen and twisted my ankle walking in my own house. I think it took about six months to recover from that. And that was three years ago!
Well, unfortunately, my life continues to enjoy the game of Twister (it seems.) Over the weekend, I was playing with a little girl and somehow my knee started killing me. Come to find out that I had tried to use my knee as a ball and socket joint instead of a hinge joint and wound up twisting the tissue all in there. I’m sure the chiropractor thought I had done something super amazing but I’m fairly certain that all I did was stand up from the couch.
The problem with having a connective tissue disorder, especially one with a collagen deficiency, is that your muscles just don’t bounce back the way that they’re supposed to. One could get used to it except that the failure isn’t consistent. Most of the time it’s somewhat wrong, but occasionally it’s really, really wrong. And you don’t have any control over when that happens. Suddenly you go from just walking to scrambling to find your balance and not trip over ten other things on your way to the ground. Add a muscle relaxant in and you’re asking for trouble.
I’m forever grateful that my parents signed me up for gymnastics back in the day. I can’t stand being upside down (which is about half of gymnastics), so I never got very far, but I did learn a very valuable skill that I use all the time: how to fall without hurting yourself. We practiced “falling” off a balance beam and landing in a neat tuck position. We practiced swinging off the bars and landing on our feet. We ran up to the vault, jumped on it, and then practiced jumping off of it and landing in the perfect position. And it turns out, if your life is a constant game of Twister, knowing how to land is very important.
Hypermobility == a lifetime of playing Twister, with yourself, for no points whatsoever. Since I have no desire to be an eternal couch potato, I’ve resigned myself to being careful and sometimes just being in the healing era. Oh, and owning up to the problem occasionally, especially if it’ll help prevent injury.