Staying strong: Catching up with Kim"burly" Joines

Tyler Austin Bradley
By Tyler Austin Bradley
December 22nd, 2010

Now is the winter of our missed intent. 2011 is rapidly approaching–the time of the year when we take stock of our last 365 and submit ourselves to a brand of torture not condoned by even the nastiest masters of rendition and rough interrogation: we beat ourselves up for not penning that novel, slap our wrists for being wooed away from career advancing meals with power brokers and their boring spouses. In short, we pull our hair out at the thought of 2010’s squandered opportunities, flagellant, self-inflicting.   “Why me? Boo hoo!”   Well, quit your whining, Quivering Lip. This has been a beastly year for local superhero and paralympian Kimberly Joines, but you won’t hear her moaning.   A quick check in and catch-up with KJ revealed an indomitable spirit and champion ‘tude despite the trials of a year that appeared hell-bent on bringing her down. Scribbling notes as quickly as Joines charges gates, it struck me early on in the interview that Ms. Joines’s first name could as easily be spelled “Kim-burly”: this is one tough lady.   “2010 was one of my worst years ever,” KJ nods. Seated in her super comfy lower R-Town living room, I peek at the gallery of X-rays from past injuries that grace her sitting room walls. Da-ang! Fractures, pins, hinges, yow!    “In January I had my appendix removed. In Germany.”   And not because they have world-renowned appendectomy specialists in Germany either. Joines was traveling with Team Canada when the gut pain started. Due to board a plane the following day, admission to das hospital revealed what was going on and an emergency mid-Atlantic appendectomy was thankfully averted: a hot towel and an Advil wouldn’t have cut it.   After hurdling the language barrier (“Ve haff much insurance!”), Joines was admitted to the hospital, relieved to have a doctor that spoke perfect English. The surgery went as efficiently as one might expect via a navel incursion of near robotic precision; the Germans call it, “Blinddarmoperation,” like they could do it with their eyes closed.   “After (the appendix was removed) there was a four week recovery,” Joines explains, the offending organ left in Germany despite the assurances that she could take it with her.   Referencing the X-rays on her wall, she jokes that “Soft-tissue” isn’t her thing. Following her recovery from the appendix surgery, it looked like Joines was ready to take on the world.    “Then, in February, I broke my hip.”   The hip injury was the principal thing that sidelined Joines during the Olympics, and it continues to frustrate her speedy recovery. Adding insult to injury, though, was an additional injury/surgery shortly after the hip.   “In March I had my rotator cuff operated on. So, in the space of three months I had three major surgeries.”   Despite three months in a power chair, her shoulder initially in an immobilizer sling and then slowly brought back into play, KJ looked prepped to rejoin the circuit early this season.    “In November I was in Nakiska, but the hip was giving me problems. I’ve had to modify how I’m positioned in the sit-ski, so I went to Edmonton to have my equipment rebuilt.”   And then Greyhound got involved.    Perhaps you’ve heard that song about United Airlines breaking guitars… if not, here it is.     In the case of the bent and battered sit-ski, while no song has been composed as of yet (working on it), what Joines describes as a rectangular roll-cage at point of manufacture somehow became a hideous quadrangular parallelogram in transit.    Way to go Greyhound. As if bouncing back from injuries isn’t frustrating enough. Despite the trials of the past year, though, Joines is upbeat and positive about what 2011 will bring. Her focus on physiotherapy, yoga, core strengthening and Christmas spirit (she emphasizes that her house has never looked so festive) is keeping her not just sane, but focused and driven.    For anyone coming back from an injury, she has several recommendations.   “You have to occupy your mind and do what training you can. Be busy,” she advises.    And busy she has been; Joines has been attending plenty of Team Canada events despite her current injured status, and has been engaged in public speaking/presentations in cooperation with her sponsors, too. At last weekend’s Haywood-Teck NorAm, she awarded medals to those on the podium. Pressed on her desire to be back in the fast-lane, Joines is reflective.    “It would be great to be competing right now,” she notes, “but there’s no point in being a pouter. And as far as resolutions go, I’m just going to tighten up my boot straps and work as hard as I can.”   Any other advice?   Joines smiles, no hesitation. “Don’t break your hip.”   Any more holiday wishes?   “Eat, drink, be merry. Peace, love and powder turns.”   Cheers to that.    Merry Christmas, Rossland, from one of your shiniest stars. Thanks KJ–and best of luck in the new yea

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