After checking website upon website, downloading MTA maps, and cluttering my phone with what-to-do-in-NYC apps, my vacation plan was complete. A neatly arranged spreadsheet organized my daily agenda. I simply had to wait for the weekend to arrive to start exploring the city. Little did I know that the capricious New York weather had a detour in store. The wind was insane that Friday. It blew in all directions. I had to wrestle with my hood to firmly secure it in place. My head hung low, cutting a path against the wrath of the elements on my way to the train station that morning. The surrounding buildings were shielding me from the worst. Approaching a major intersection, I saw that the street signs and traffic lights hung skewed to the west and rain visibly fell sideways as if Earth had been tilted onto its side. By the time I got to the platform it felt like I’d been through a few cycles in the washing machine. I was damp, dazed, and disheveled. Before reaching the elevator nook to seek shelter, a strong gust of wind bashed into me. It almost picked me up and carried me away. Thankfully, a bench broke my fall. I collapsed over the frigid metal frame. When I stood up in an attempt to restore some of my dignity, a bruise was forming underneath my jeans. This unexpected injury was going to derail my plans. How could I possibly walk up a storm in NYC for ten days, when I could barely make it up a flight of stairs without grimacing in pain? My mind was churning. If I didn’t mitigate this drawback, I risked wasting my time nursing an injury. The answer lied in Patrick.
Patrick frequently participated in Ironman races and marathons. Thus, I assumed he’d be well versed in managing muscle pain. Once at the office, I darted to his desk and asked for advice, “What kind of ointment can I use to heal a bruise?” He simply stared at me without uttering a word. Perhaps he was surprised; I did just barge into his office, offering no hello or good morning. I explained my predicament. To my dismay, he stated that there were massage cream for muscle aches, Ibuprofen pills for pain, and cold presses for swelling, but no bruise-away medication. I panicked in fear of having to eliminate a large portion of my activities. As I limped over to the break area for my morning coffee, I bumped into Imke. Originally from Waldenbuch, Germany – home of Ritter Sport Chocolate, Imke has been living in the US for fifteen years. She looked at me and asked,”What’s with the sourpuss, aren’t you going on vacation? You should be glad that the week is almost over.” I told her about my dilemma. She gave me her signature smile and said not to worry, she had a magical cure. In Germany, she had access to various homeopathic remedies. Whenever she visited, she’d bring back ample supplies, especially a certain herbal cream for bruises and muscle pain as her sons frequently suffered from sports related injuries. She went to her car and came back with a tube of the miracle cream. She ordered me to apply it immediately. And magic it was. By the end of the day, the dark purple coloration on my upper thigh began to fade. Some pain and tenderness persisted, but it was bearable. Furthermore, the toe-numbing cold of December weather had a soothing effect on my bruise. I took this as an omen that my ten-day adventure would proceed uninterrupted.