The Amazing Chafe

It burned! It hurt soooooo bad! The seam of the spandex running shorts had given way and was extruding the dimply fat from my thigh like fresh, shiny brilliantly white bun dough…..

The constant swish, swish, swish of fat meeting spandex over the past 21 kilometres had chafed the skin into a glossy sheen – I had suffered a chafing injury unlike anything I could have imagined.

The endorphins from the marathon training run were racing their own marathon through my body, thankfully keeping the pain receptors from firing. I declined my post run Tim Horton’s coffee with running pals and headed to Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy for burn ointment.

I attended the counter hesitantly….not knowing how I should phrase my conundrum to the young male pharmacist. “Um…..I am looking for a cream?”

Brilliant question Judy! How concise and to the point, “looking for a cream”.

To his credit, the Pharmacist responded appropriately with, “What type of cream?”.

Pain receptors were now beginning to fire and I changed my position, affecting a military type of stance with legs far apart so my injured skin could breathe. It was the “I pooped myself” stance.

“I….errrrr…I burned myself? I think I need some type of ointment or dressing?”

I am not certain why I am ending everything with a question mark, but perhaps it was because I didn’t quite know what I needed. Was a chafe a burn?

“What did you burn?” he asks, his eyes flickering over me quickly in assessment.

I lean forward into the counter, “I have a chafing injury…my thighs rubbed while I was running. The spandex tore and um….the skin kind of came out and….it rubbed against the other spandex. It hurts”.

Credit to the Pharmacist, he didn’t blink or even react, he simply opened the little half door that separated him from the masses and efficiently walked down the aisle and returned with a box containing a burn dressing. “When you get home, remove anything that could cause more irritation, and once it cools down, use this dressing. It will protect, soothe and keep it from blistering”.

I returned home and got undressed as quickly as possible. Removing the spandex shorts was a challenge as the material was encircling the fat from my thigh so tightly that removing it was difficult. Imagine pulling a ring off of a fat finger…..same analogy. I reached over and tore the fabric further, giving my skin immediate relief and allowing me to remove the shorts.

I hop in a cool shower, knowing that I needed to get the sweat off my body, but realizing that the pressure of the cool water hitting the burn would be painful.

The cool breeze from the fan blowing directly onto my burn was sweet relief

I couldn’t imagine toweling off so I stood in the bathroom dripping dry. I put on a sundress but left the panties off, the thought of anything accidentally touching the burnt skin leaving me breathless.

I grabbed pillows from the bedroom and the floor fan and headed to set up my nest in the living room. The pillows for comfort, the fan for pain relief. Leaning back onto to the couch and the pillows I placed my legs (spread eagled) on the ottoman with the fan blowing onto my lower extremities.

Ahhhhhhhh……sweet heavens that felt amazing. There I sat for the remainder of the Saturday afternoon, until Hubby came home from work.

The chafe eventually scabbed, and peeled and to this day there is a scar on the inside of my thigh. A marathon training war wound of sorts, a permanent badge of courage and marking a time in my life when running was my love.

I call it, “The Amazing Chafe”.


When Hubby leaves the nest……..alone

When Hubby leaves the nest…..alone

So my husband just called me to tell me about some excitement at work………

The phone rings and I immediately recognize the crackle on the phone line as his phone syncs with his hands-free device.

He only works about 20 miles from town, but strangely it always seems like we are having one of those CNN satellite interviews with a 2 or 3 second delay.

“Good morning!” I answer cheerfully because well….he is at work and I am at home drinking my coffee and enjoying my day and I want to sound grateful.

“Judy, you will never believe what just happened!” he said breathlessly.

Worried enough to put my coffee cup down and switch the phone to the other hand, I say quietly, carefully enunciating each and every word “What!…What just happened?”.

After 31 years of marriage I still can’t pin down when something is an emergency or not. I mean, he can calmly call me and say, “Hey, you will never guess what just happened” and it could turn out to be that he just stabbed himself in the upper thigh with a filleting knife and was now driving himself from his ice fishing location into the hospital whilst compressing the wound with a diaper he found in the truck.

“Hey, you will never guess what just happened” is also a phrase also used for happy things like, “I just rescued a baby deer that was stuck in the ditch”.

So….forgive me if I prepare myself for the worst-case scenario.

“You remember yesterday when I told you that I had poked that hornet’s nest outside the door of the building?”

I nod in response on my end of the phone; whether or not I actually listened to him yesterday and paid any attention to what he was saying was irrelevant at this point.

He must have realized that fact as well, because he didn’t wait for an acknowledgement, he just continued talking. “Well today I knew that I was going to have to deal with the nest because it can’t be left there…..someone is going to get stung. The hornets out there are not hornets like when we were kids; these white faced hornets are angry buggers and easily pissed off. They act like you do when you suddenly have no Wi-Fi….hahahahahaha”.

Yeah…you are funny Bob.

Chuckling to himself at the funny he just made, “So, I park the truck a ways away and I leave the door open in case I need to have an escape plan. I look for my long stick that I used yesterday but for some reason I can’t find it anywhere. Crap! Like Tom Cruise in Top Gun I realize that it’s too close for missiles, I’m switching to guns and I have to go to Plan B which is: a shorter stick. I reach behind the seat to look for my snowbrush that I KNOW is there because, have I told you I am like the last Boy Scout? I am always prepared. I am so prepared I have a snowbrush in my pickup 12 months of the year. Anyway…..I find my snowbrush and begin psyching myself up for the crash and dash. Coveralls have been zipped and snapped up to my chin. Hardhat is in place. Shoelaces on boots have been knotted and then knotted again. Gloves are on. Safety glasses are on. I am goin’ in.

Realizing that this story time with Bob is going to take a while, I put the phone down and place it on speaker so that I can continue drinking my coffee.

“Wow….what happened next?” I say, hoping to match my excitement to his level of excitement and relaxing a little because the story wouldn’t be taking as long if there were any arterial bleeds.

“Well….like I said, I left the door of the truck open in case I needed to escape and I creep up to that hornets nest and I can hear them….they are mighty pissed off at something, which is ridiculous because it was a beautiful day and that proves that they are crazy because there was nothing to make them angry. Yet.”

At this point the phone crackles and gets all staticky (new word I just made up) and he pauses his story until it clears again.

“So, I get close enough to the nest and realize how short the damn snowbrush really is and figure that I basically need to be directly underneath the nest in order to knock it down. I look at the truck and judge the terrain (level but lumpy with gravel) and distance (30 feet) and hope like hell I can make it to safety unscathed and unstung. At this point, every muscle is tense, like a Olympic runner and I am prepared to Usain Bolt my way to the truck”.

I am completely engrossed in his story. Will the hornets survive? Will Bob survive? Will he make it to safety in time? Why does he get himself in these situations? I am at the edge of my seat and wish I had popcorn.

Sensing that he has me completely engaged, he decides to go all in, “I suddenly decide to go for it and I hit the nest whilst simultaneously pivoting and springing forward to launch me back towards the truck, hoping to outrun the angry hornets. But……just then….SNAP! SNAP! The sound is like a gun shot and I immediately find myself on the ground writhing in pain”.

“Oh my goodness! Were you stung? What happened?” My mind is racing with possibilities.

“Well Judy…the unthinkable happened. I pulled not one, but two muscles in my leg, and down I went. It must have been because I was so tense and in hindsight, I probably should have done some stretching. Frantically, I begin dragging myself towards the truck because I am certain that the hornets are a heartbeat away from attacking me”.

Pipe in the song “The End” by The Doors (Apocalypse Now).

A weird noise interrupts the conversation and I get a bit irritated until I understand that it is the sound of me snorting with laughter. Thankfully I had placed him on speakerphone because it allowed me to cover my face to attempt to disguise the noise. I don’t want him to think that I don’t care……

“When I was about 20 feet away I managed to get to my feet and limp to the truck. My right leg was stiff in spasm and I walked like I had just filled an adult diaper.”

“What about the hornets? Did you get stung?”

“Pfft…the hornets ignored me completely! It was as if they knew that there was more chance I would hurt myself than hurt them. This being over 50 sucks… know that? If I was ten years younger……well….it would have been different”.

I could not contain the laughter and I began to whoop and snort at the same time which elicited sharp flatulence that scared the dog.

“Oh.My.Gawd. You are a sooooooo funny”, I am completely relaxed now because I know that nothing horrible had happened, that my stiff legged hubby would return to me this day.

“Yeah….it was funny wasn’t it” and Bob chuckles with me, knowing that the story was pretty darn funny. “Do we have any of that muscle rub stuff? It really does hurt”

“Of course we do sweetheart…..of course we do”.