The Young, The Older, and Tissue Resilience

Several weeks back, my husband and I walked to a wonderful local theater to take in a play. We have season tickets and do this about four or five times a year. That night I was feeling a bit "young" and decided to wear these shoes to the show. It was just three blocks away...


On the way, my ankle did a little mini-twist and I thought, "uh oh, this may have been a mistake." We made it to the intimate theater and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Then we headed out to return home.

Less than a block away, I totally hit the deck. The brunt of the fall was received by my right knee. My gallant husband rushed in to help. And a lovely older neighbor couple was right behind us. They all bent down to make sure that I was ok. Though my ego was a bit bruised and my knee was throbbing, otherwise I recovered fairly quickly. Being a South Florida girl, barefoot walking the rest of the way home made the most sense. 

The next day was Sunday, and I went to church ahead of my family. We most often walk the one-mile distance when we head out on Sunday mornings. I drove that morning, but the rest of the family followed behind on foot. When I met up with my family, who had walked 1.1 miles that morning, I saw that one of my daughters was wearing these shoes.

I turned to my husband and said, "Did she walk all the way from home in those?" "Yes" was the reply. This daughter knew what had happened to me the night before. Maybe she wanted to prove to herself that she could do this thing that her "mature" mom could not. Maybe there was another reason. But it sure did make an impression on me. I reminded her that I always wear comfortable walking shoes (except for the night before!) when I walk further than a block and then change when I arrive at my destination. She flipped her hair and smiled. 

At the end of church, I offered her a ride back home. She accepted it. I don't think that walking 1.1 miles in 3 inch heels was all that comfortable. But she was definitely not going to confess that to her mom.

A few days after this shoe situation, I was at the office of my physical therapist, Todd. I told him this story. He said, "That is what we call tissue resilience. The young have this, but only for a time." I have long come to accept the fact that tissue resilience is in my distant past. The frequency and number of reasons that I end up on Todd's table are exhibit A that tissue resilience has left the scene for Tricia Wilson. I am just happy when I can get out of whatever pain my aging tissue and body have to offer me each six months to a year. Sometimes it is one big juggling act to address the physical therapy needs that pop up and cycle through. I have had to learn the hard way to listen to my body and address things before they get too painful.

Several weeks after my girl walked 1.1 miles in 3 inch heels, she did a great deal of walking in the city of Chicago. She wore her "fake" Target red converse shoes and began to experience discomfort. She still insisted that wearing her 3 inch heels was not uncomfortable. Is she just scamming me? I made an appointment with our orthopedic doctor. 

The doctor looked at her foot and pushed around to see where the pain presented. We have an upcoming vacation where we will be walking quite a bit. The doctor then told her that her converse, Nike, and Chaco shoes were all fine. But if the pain returned, she should actually wear a shoe with a heel on it. My daughter looked up hopefully and said, "Can I wear my 3 inch heels?" The doctor smiled and replied, "I am actually talking about a 1 inch heel - like maybe a flip flop or something like that." My daughter and I caught each other's eye and smiled.

Tissue resilience is for the young, and I am glad that she gets to have her days of living in such a wonderful place. But she is not invincible and needs to also begin listening to her body and what it has to say to her. I hope that she learns this lesson at an age well before her mom did. Tissue resilience lasts only for a short time...

---To read more about my own resistance to listening to my body and the hard ways that I learned of the critical need for self-care, look for my book Adopting Grace: A Parenting Journey from Fear to Love. I have a whole chapter entitled "Surrender to Self-Care." Launch date is September 12. More info coming in days ahead.