It’s a Crime

“We use this stim machine to help people
who have trouble contracting their adductors.”

As the physiotherapist tapes rubberized electrodes covered in super-cooled, super-goopy gel to my inner thigh, preparatory to running a super-buzzy electric current through them and into said thigh, there is no hiding from the truth: I am one of those people who have trouble contracting their adductors. Super.

My failure is, perhaps, not surprising: I only just found out about them. It’s not just that the name is new to me: Who even knew that there were muscles on the inside of the thigh?

I do have a passing familiarity with my quads and hamstrings in the same general area, although I wouldn’t call it a strong bond. Indeed, “strong” isn’t a word that leaps to mind when I think about any of my muscles.

It seems so unfair. It isn’t as if I’m, you know, inactive.

Red and yellow kayak; woman sitting therein, on bright, sunny day.

The undeniably active Isabel Gibson.

Of course, in southern Ontario our kayaking season is short.

“I know it’s time to stop for the season when I fall out,
and the water is so cold that I throw up.”

– Overheard in a kayaking shop

Me, I stop just short of that point — OK, maybe well short — which means I must go kayaking, oh, about 10 times in a season. OK, maybe in a good season.

But wait! There’s more! Every winter I go for a few hikes in the Sonoran Desert.

Ocotillo cactus in leaf, creosote bushes, and dead cactus.

Undeniable evidence of hiking in Sonoran Desert.

And every day, winter or non-winter, I try to get to 10,000 steps: Some days I even succeed.

Yet, somehow, all this undeniable activity has been insufficient to offset the hours I spend sitting at a computer, what with work, blogging, and generally messing about. Or, for that matter, the evening hours in front of the TV, doing crossword puzzles and generally messing about.

But my poor adductor performance isn’t my fault: I’m pretty sure they’ve been abducted.

“Officer, put out an all-points bulletin.”

“Mumble, mumble.”

“What’s that? You need full names to issue a missing-muscle report? Well, I’m pretty sure the whole famdamily is gone: Brevis, Longus, and Magnus Adductor. Minimus usually hangs out with Magnus, so I suppose he’s gone, too.”

It can’t possibly be that my brain doesn’t know where they are, having never really had to, you know, talk to them before.



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6 Responses to It’s a Crime

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Last Tuesday, going down a steep gravel trail to the waterfront, my feet skidded out from under me. I landed on my right shoulder. I’ve spent this last week discovering exactly how many muscles there are in the shoulder that control arm movements. By doing exercises incessantly (at the dining table, watching TV, walking the dog, getting the mail… — Joan tries to ignore me) to move that arm just a centimetre further than the last time, I’ve regained most of its use. But there must be, umm, several trillion muscles weaving under and over each other around that one joint alone.
    We are very complex creatures, we humans.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim – Yikes – that’s your second fall (that I know about). Cut it out! We were on the Olympic Peninsula last week, clambering over barnacle-encrusted and seaweed-slimed wet rocks at low tide. The possibility of a fall was ever-present in my awareness, and so, of course, I didn’t. They prefer to strike when we let our guard down, I think. As for the exercises, they do help. If only they didn’t take so much time . . .

  2. I’m told that the muscles needed to be exercised after a hip operation respond exceedingly, abnormally fast. Something we can all look forward to! …

    Maybe you guys are TOO active. Hmmm?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Yes, indeed. Or we can, at least, tell ourselves that they’re responding abnormally quickly – 90% of the game is half mental, as (I think) Yogi Berra said.

  3. Alex, 30, took his first supported steps with the now only semi-paralyzed right leg a couple of days ago, day 20 following his stroke. I was more excited than when he took his first baby steps 29 + years ago. I am encouraged to learn from Norman Doidge’s first book on the plasticity of the brain that simply thinking about moving muscle produces a significant amount of the neural effect on the muscles as actually moving them. At an even more mysterious level, my thinking about his moving muscle apparently enables him to do so. Wonderfully made, indeed!

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