• Lynn McWhorter

How many healers does it take?

I realized recently that I have a lot in common with Humpty Dumpty. No, I don’t look like him yet, but the Oreos and chocolate chip cookies and Bluebell Homemade Vanilla aren’t helping. I’m talking about how it takes “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men (and women)” to put me back together again.  More and more frequently.

I used to be able to dance fifteen hours a week, work out two hours, and spend two hours getting deep tissue, therapeutic “massage” (when you think of a massage you probably imagine something pleasant and relaxing.  To understand the kind of bodywork I need in order to keep dancing you should imagine being drawn and quartered–over and over again). In other words, in the past, when I was younger, fifteen hours of dance required two hours of Pilates/weights/cardio and two hours of “massage.”

These days, I only dance six hours a week, but it takes eight or nine hours (not counting the time I spend walking around with ice packs wrapped around my knees) to put me back together again. I work out five hours a week with a trainer–weights, Pilates, Bodyblade, TRX straps–trying to stay strong enough and flexible enough to dance. Then I pay people to torture me (the drawing and quartering massage) at least three hours a week so I can go back to the dance studio and twist myself into more impossible positions–positions I’m supposed to maintain while we move gracefully across the floor.

And, the more years I dance, the more various body parts complain. (I fear that some body parts are trying to give up altogether). For example, my right knee has required extra care and attention ever since my (former) surgeon turned a simple meniscus repair into a serious microfracture surgery and I ended up on crutches for two weeks and out of the dance studio for four more weeks than I’d expected. I would not have agreed to that surgery at that time IF I had been given a choice.

Recently, most likely because the right knee has been troubled, my left knee has become less stable although I have to confess that my poor execution of the new foxtrot feather technique has probably contributed to the left knee problems.

Then there’s my thumb. It’s harder and harder and significantly more painful to grip with my right thumb (do you think that trying to keep my thumb vertical while my right elbow is parallel with my right hand and both are higher than my shoulder could be part of the problem?  Me either).

And then there’s my neck. And my lower back. And my right foot.

On the other hand, the good news is that so far my rather vast team of women and men seems able to put me back together again. It just takes longer and longer and longer and longer. . . .  Sigh.


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