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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Love, Help and Hamstrings

I realize it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted. Not for lack of desire…just lack of time. Between work, appointments, a service project, a worship team audition and opportunities to get stuff done after work there has been little time for anything else. And oddly enough this week I have a lot of time to write.

Yeah….so…..about that…..

I sit here with some long lost friends nearby. It’s been years since I’ve had time to hang out with them…..7 to be exact. Isn’t 7 supposed to be a lucky number? I’m sure that’s written somewhere. Just not in my book.

We had an unexpected reunion of sorts. They were resting well and ‘aging nicely’ shall we say. So was I….I thought. I was still active, having fun and just enjoying life. Until a chance meeting. Okay…it was actually a rather forceful reunion that none of us had planned.

The stick hit the plastic sphere and hurled it heavenward quite a distance. Many marveled at it and spoke of its travel distance. Its flight was abruptly interrupted by a noise. A distracting noise that took everyone’s attention from it and the sphere fell quietly to the ground. Unlike the source of the noise.

Okay….let’s just get real…..

So when I changed churches in January one of the things I was looking forward to was making new connections and feeling connected. I was very open about this need and that I didn’t want to be on an island 30 minutes away. I knew God wanted me to be part of the new multisite launch and I was just holding on until the launch activities and team building took off. At the same time at the first few meetings we had I was feeling very awkward as I didn’t know anyone and my eating disorder behavior took over and helped me find a quick exit each time. I was shooting myself in the foot and I knew it. So when the first ‘official’ event of a picnic came around I let Travis, the leader, know of my awkward feelings and insecurities and how I had to challenge myself.

We had that picnic this past Saturday. It started out awkward and a few tears leaked out as I just felt on the outside looking in. And remember, anything involving food makes the anxiety level double or triple, so I was already in the hole. Within the first 30 minutes though, Travis nonchalantly helped introduce me to a few folks and the conversations started. Dinner started out awkward for all the aforementioned reasons and more. I sat by myself at a table because I didn’t want to interrupt the other conversations and folks eating as families….another gem of being single at a church where none of your family attend. That, too, was quickly resolved and things started relaxing.

Dinner done and it was game time. First it was ladder ball. Travis again invited me to play. That was truly enjoyable and my competitive side came out a bit. A quick break and then the question came ‘Sue are you going to play whiffleball?’ ‘Sure.’ And off I went.

Now mind you….I was on an All Star Softball team in 6th grade and have a 3rd place tourney trophy to prove it. I coached Parks & Rec softball for a couple years back in the 90s. And softball is one of my two favorite sports. And the competitive juices were already flowing thanks to a little ladder ball.

First at bat was okay…batted right handed. I’m ambidextrous so I switch hit. I got a single and ended up scoring after a few teammates got hits. Second at bat next inning was good. Batted left handed. Got a good solid hit. Didn’t score but knew lefty was the way to go. Some things never change. Next inning I was up again. Batted left. Wait for it….nope. No good. Let it go. Next pitch…yep…there it is….SWING! NAILED IT! TAGGED IT! SOLID HIT!

Yeah…..about that….

I didn’t see how far it ended up going. It was definitely out of the infield and possibly over the heads of outfielders (that will teach them to play me shallow). I know it was between first and second so probably could have dropped in for a nice hit. That’s all I know. Before I could reach first base something terrible happened. I was sprinting

for all I’m worth…because after all, I’m competitive. That is…I was sprinting until it felt like my right hip was dislocating. They say I grabbed it. I remember pulling up but not enough to go down or stop and unfortunately I ended up taking another step. By that one it felt like everything was collapsing on my knee. I went down and I went down HARD!

My left shoulder hit the ground as did my head. My glasses were twisted like they were a pretzel. And my leg hurt. I remember saying “Oh it hurts! It hurts!” I honestly wasn’t sure if my hip had dislocated so while both teams came over and tried to figure out how bad it was and what I needed to have done (I heard one person say ‘should we call the squad?’), I laid on the ground on my left side and didn’t move. I had to figure out if I was going to pop the joint if I rolled over. After a minute or so I decided to roll over, laid there a couple more, and was carried off the field to a waiting picnic table bench. A number of folks got 3 ice packs for me (now we know why we had 2-3 of the 10 pound bags of ice!) and had them under my right thigh, on top of my right knee, and under my neck and left shoulder. If I didn’t know better I would think I was in a freezer! It was a work of art to get the glasses back to a usable-for-now condition.

The entire group came to the shelter. I kept telling them to go back and play as did someone else so they continued the fun. I never liked being a party crasher! 🙂 But I certainly felt the love and concern….remember an hour earlier I was almost in tears from feeling out of place and was arguing with myself internally why I couldn’t make the usual eating disorder excuse exit. I laid there for probably a good 20 minutes or so, texted my bro to tell him have crutches ready for my arrival home, and eventually got help sitting up. The headache was real….and then the low grade nausea started in.

There had already been multiple discussions about if I should go to a medical facility. I was thinking about it as I laid on the field when it happened. We even looked up a couple on a phone. When the nausea hit it went from ‘maybe’ to ‘she should.’ There was a bit more discussion but in that time the nausea started to ease and I passed all the tests they were throwing at me. A bit longer and I said ‘I really want to just head home.’ This was the next point of discussion as I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of driving 30 minutes after all that had happened. Right after it happened I had been told ‘we’ll get you home…don’t worry about that.’ Again…body life and body love. Ended up Krista, campus pastor Travis’ wife, drove me home in my car while someone followed behind to bring her back. Krista said it took 10 minutes into the drive home before I started to sound more like myself and more alert. I think the Advil they gave me was kicking in so the pain was dropping.

So I spent Sunday lying on my bed with an ace wrap, ice and pillows…and my reunited friends Peg and Leg nearby. Monday at work was a challenge but I made it through. Tuesday (yesterday) I thought I could ‘be strong’ and get back out on the floor to do a quick count of one product line (boss said if I was on 1 crutch I could be on the floor). I quickly learned that wasn’t the best decision in my life. By Tuesday afternoon I was finding my orthopedic who had treated my other knee injury in the 1990s and got an appointment for Thursday morning. I behaved today (Wednesday) with a new set up at the office and kept my leg propped up and with ice a good part of the day. Only problem is it still likes to swell. Here’s what it looked like when I got home and here’s how I’ve been icing part of it as I type. And here’s the bruising on the back of the leg that made me call the doc. And because my left knee is my weak knee it likes to try to go out on me when I sit so I have a wrap on one leg and a brace on the other. And don’t forget Peg and Leg!

ice 3

On Sunday I had a super cool text exchange with Travis. It was very nice of him to check in and see how I was doing. I had joked at the park that I wouldn’t be at the group training the next day. I was even told by Krista that if I showed up they would drive me right back home! LOL

This little exchange….and quite honestly his last 4 words meant the world to me. The texts say it best.

Yeah…about that…..God is cool!

text 2

For more thoughts on ‘about that’ from Jenn and Leisa (respectively) go to and

8/4 Doctor update:

My leg is a severe hamstring pull with all the colors of the rainbow running down the back of my leg. He said it would probably stop around my ankle. I am on crutches until I can walk on it without pain. No lifting (obviously). He said it will take about 6 weeks to heal and I may still be bothered by it after that. I start PT 3x a week for a month on Monday and I go back to see him right before Labor Day. I’m on prednisone first and then a strong anti-inflammatory after that. Right leg is wrapped and my knee brace is on my left leg as that is my bad leg and the knee tries to go out when I sit due to overcompensation….so brace on one, wrap and neoprene sleeve on the other. Season ending whiffleball injury. I take my multisite whiffleball competition seriously! LOL

At least the pelvis xray was clear so nothing detached….due to the locations of pain and all the bruising (and I told them it felt like my hip was dislocating when it happened) there was some concern. I am thankful…really didn’t want surgery!

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