Yesterday was my 58th birthday and I was never so glad to say goodbye to a year in my life. Oh sure, lots of good things happened to me this past year, but my old body seemed to have 57 varieties of trouble.
It was shortly after my 57th birthday last year that I began to notice pain in my hip. I went to my chiropractor, my orthopedist, two physical therapists, my family doctor and even had x-rays and no one could figure out what was the matter with me except possibly some arthritis. I was told that someday I would probably need to have a hip replacement, but until then I would just have to learn to live with the pain!
Things went from bad to worse when I began construction of my new tennis court in April. It had been 15 years since I had done much heavy labor and my body was in no way ready for it. I began to have incredible pain in my knee, IT band and the quadriceps of my right leg.
It got so bad that I could barely stand up for more than a minute without excruciating pain and my legs hurt so much at night that I couldn’t sleep. Then in July I tore the cartilage in my left knee in my last-ever tennis match on a hard court. (Although I didn’t know that until I finally had an MRI 4 months later.)
Fortunately, as chronicled in some previous columns, I was able to find temporary relief of my pain through trigger point massage and eventually permanent prevention of it through the addition of Vitamin B-12 supplements to my diet. It also turned our that the cartilage tear does not require surgery and, with the help of my bicycle, my left knee is almost back to its pre-injury state. Still, 57 will long be remembered by me as the year my body hit the wall.
As I turn the corner to start my 58th year, however, I am filled with optimism. In addition to playing indoor tennis twice a week, I have returned to the basketball court after a 7 month absence. On one of my first days back, one competitor even commented that I was playing at “mid-season form!”
The biggest problem with physical disabilities is that they can prey on the mind. You begin to wonder if you will ever recover the normal use of your body or whether this is as good as it gets. I know that old age is not for sissies, but at least now, I also know that I have a few more years before I’m ready for the scrap heap.
It’s all up from here!