Goes to doctor. Hears "fraying," "fluid," and "rest." Learns should have rested elbow long time ago. Should not have flipped tires while injured. Hears "hand surgeon" and "splint." "Soon as possible."
Looks in the mirror. Waves. "Bye, bye, muscle."
Is heartened by idea of strengthening lower body while rehabbing elbow. Begins regimen.
Throws out knee.
Decides needs power over body in some fashion. Starts diet. Feels like skinny self of yore; is reassured that identity is not wrapped up in size of muscles.
Is introduced by young man to his young friend as "badass" for being his favorite spotter. Admits can't actually spot bench press today, nor tomorrow. Is sorry not to live up to "badass" description. Worries will never again be referred to as "badass." Makes bargain with God: Will give up boxing if healed up, will join convent right after dominating old people's division on the deadlift. Will stop saying "badass."
Rejoins water fitness class. Notices a return to class every fall. Wonders why injuries always occur in fall, when allergies have subsided and can actually breathe and do cardio if not injured.
Finds exercises that can be done with 2-pound dumbbells. Pretends is bodybuilder "cutting" weight.
Passes through stages of grief:
Anger: Is convinced everyone in gym is exercising out of spite. Reassures self does not need muscle, is smarter/better educated/does not have weak chin.
Acceptance: Realizes error of ways and feels urge to save all souls from same elbow fate. Preaches end-time warnings ("Woe to you who bend wrists during curls!").
Joins older ladies in pool again. Hears worse troubles of others; feels bad to despair over elbow. Trivial, meaningless elbow. Becomes all Buddhist about injuries. They were meant to be.
Crawls out of bed and can't put weight on knee. Spends day in stage of Despair. Wants chips. Reminds self self is "cutting." Decides to "cut" tomorrow.
Is convinced same condition is occurring in good elbow. Wonders why specialist has not called back. Is determined to be own physical therapist. With one hand, begins to google "pt certification."
Remembers is more artsy than science-minded. Writes on blog instead.