Aches and pains

Published 8:57 pm Friday, June 7, 2019


Coffee with Mimi

Sometimes it is tough to get out of bed in the morning. Actually, it is not getting out of bed but taking the first step that is the real test. For the most part, swinging the legs over the edge of the bed and sitting up is not such a challenge. If the bed is raised off the floor the extra inches for the historic effect, feet may just be dangling. You don’t quite know yet what will happen when your feet hit the proverbial, or real, floor.

Email newsletter signup

At this stage of my life, hitting the floor running is just a state of mind. Rarely does mind over matter actually occur. My mind is ready, but my body is a bit behind and prefers to ease into it.  Medical professionals remind us that what we do to our bodies, accidentally or on purpose, will generally come back to haunt us. I hoped that would not be the truth, that I would somehow transcend those potential pains and sail through to the end. But, reality hits.

The sources of the aches may have been many years ago, but they return at times egged on by changes in the weather or a spur of the moment physical activity, for which I may not be well trained. This could be the unwise choice of day full of yard work in really awful weather, or a lack of attention to the terrain and my surroundings.

Every ache and pain has been earned. Each one has a memory. 

There is the diving board accident at age 10 which resulted in full out surgery to remove the bone from my big toe. In this day and age, one can hardly imagine such an injury would be more than a momentary issue. But, I have a two-inch scar and can’t bend the digit. So what, you say? Oddly, stubbing that toe is remarkably painful and the scar is sensitive. 

Then there is the broken foot which was acquired when simply walking across a parking lot and the broken ankle from playing with the new puppy. I broke a couple of ribs playing pick-up basketball with my students. And, two shoulder dislocations. Those were the result of falling while running. Thankfully, both dislocations were in the same shoulder. 

My aches and pains all bring back memories of good times — times when I was young, and even just recently. They are, in the grand scheme of things, trivial. They aren’t truly life-altering.  They do, however, teach me lessons. I’m mature enough to accept it. 

If I want to do things I have always enjoyed, there comes a time when it is wise to think ahead and exercise good judgement.That was a tough moment for me. The teenager mentality in me lived a long time.

Perhaps it was the by-product of teaching for so many years. When you spend 35 years of your professional, adult life with kids, you do start, or continue, to think like them. When you are in the heat of the battle, you do what they do. More likely, you do what you want them to do.  It’s not a good teaching moment to tell a kid hiking is good for their health, if you aren’t willing to hike the talk to prove your point.

And, it turns out hiking, running, swimming, gardening or just getting off the couch and going outside is good for health.

But, ouch!  Sometimes getting out of bed, or for that matter, getting comfortable in bed after a day of activity, is a reminder that adjustments need to be considered. 

It is spring! We had a fairly mild winter: one which allowed more days of outside activity than usual. My step counter got a reasonable workout as I could walk many days. I honestly did not get much running in.

I did not mention that I have fallen multiple times when I did not break or dislocate anything.  There must be some law of physics which says an older object hits the ground harder than a young one.

It seems, however, that health benefits can be attained in many ways. I will start running again now that there is more daylight available. Frankly, I enjoy it. But, I can kiss my goal of ever running a nine-minute mile goodbye. I’m OK with that. 

Because my step counter, which is equipped with a pulse reading feature, tells me I am maintaining an acceptable heart rate doing pretty much what I want. I can get out of bed in the morning. I just need to walk a bit more slowly to stretch out the body parts. The shoulder joint has good days and better days and days on which I should have known better.

I can mow the grass; I just can’t mow the entire yard and trim and weed the garden all in one day.  Doing what I want, aches and pains and all, is just what I want.