I think I am fast approaching my own physical cliff. I know. I know. The debt crisis that all the news outlets are reporting has to do with the “fiscal cliff,” but those dire predictions got me to thinkin’. And that’s not always a good thing.
I looked up the word “cliff” and I found that it is sometimes rendered precipice, rock face, crag, bluff, ridge, escarpment, scar, scarp, ledge, or overhang. Some of those actually apply to me.
I started thinkin’ mostly as I was driving today to my seventh physical therapy session. It’s a long story, but I’ll keep it short.
I play tennis. And I pulled my hamstring.
Wait. That’s too short. I’ve left out too many incredible details. Here’s the longer version:
About a month and a half ago my doubles partner Chip and I were playing a regular season match against Chris and Chris (they both have the same first names, but don’t look at all like each other and aren’t related as far as I know). They are a strong team and I anticipated that Chip and I would get beaten pretty badly.
Imagine my excitement when we won the first set on my serve! It was a glorious victory with the last point being decided by our hitting lobs and their hitting overhead smashes which we miraculously returned! The stronger of the two Chris’s (or is it Crises?) tried to smash the lob I hit to him and he completely missed it. We won the 1st set — on my serve!
The very next point was composed of Federer-like down-the-line drives, a couple of drop shots, and then a deep smash down my forehand alley. I sprang into action, chasing down that shot, and felt like I got shot in the buttocks. Actually, it was my upper right thigh, but I wanted to use the word “buttocks.”
I knew almost immediately that I had “pulled” my hamstring. Now, I like bacon and pulled pork and sausage, but I’ve never eaten hamstring. I just know that IT HURT! I could hardly walk up to the net to shake hands and, as they say in the pros, “retire” from the match.
At my ripe old age of 62, I try not to use the “R” word, ‘cause I want to keep teaching ‘till I’m in my 90’s. But I had no choice (kind of like a supralapsarian Calvinist) — I had to quit then and there. Bummer.
Here’s the irony. I had faced that same team of Chris and Chris about two months before with a different partner (Gil) and I had had to retire with severe tendonitis. Imagine my embarrassment of having to retire a 2nd time within two months to the same doubles team. You can’t, can’t you? Did you at least try to imagine?
Hence, my seven sessions of physical therapy for my pulled hamstring. Today’s my last session. Physical therapists are great people — and excellent torturers! They were widely used in the Korean war to victimize the Allied troops when they ran out of bamboo shoots. Rumor has it they also were deployed during this country’s last presidential election.
All this to say: I think I’m going over a physical cliff. I’m learning from my tormentors — I mean my physical therapists — that I need to warm up my muscles before I play a match. But first I have to find them — and that’s not always easy. I have found that my muscles and tendons are a lot easier to find once they are strained, or pulled, or torn, or broken. THEN I know where they are and can take medication and do weird, almost kama sutra-like exercises to stretch them.
— Today’s blog is dedicated to the diligent and kind staff of Columbia Rehabilitation Clinic, Inc.