Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh My Achin'...

“What’re you in for?” I asked an acquaintance I ran into while at physical therapy the other day.

“Bum hip,” she said, hobbling toward me as she winced. “You?”

“More like what am I not in for,” I groaned, pointing to my swollen knee and rubbing my aching lower back.

Seems I’m doomed to serve a life sentence in rehab (physical, mind you, not addiction-related), what with my perpetually disabled everything. And so far there are no signs of potential time off for good behavior. It’s gotten so bad, that I’ve had to triage my aching joints to capitalize on the hard-to-obtain appointments with the physical therapist to help mend my injuries-du-jour. I’d already had a standing date with a fabulous PT to work on my always-nagging lower back issues, but when I tore my meniscus (that’s in the knee, for all you age-related injury neophytes), all of a sudden the back issues had to take the back burner, in order to figure out how to work with a niggling knee problem instead. Like a medic on the war front, I’m dispatched to relegate the least of my injuries to the back, while refocusing on the worst of the worst just to get out of the line of fire and remain as intact as possible. Shame, too, because I always looked forward to my PT appointments for my hobbled back, as the therapist was masterful in loosening up those culprit hip flexor muscles that were causing my back to misbehave in the first place. And while the pleasure/pain factor was at a premium during that deep-tissue work (at times deep enough to nearly land me on the threshold of tears), the end results were worth the pain.

Sometimes I love physical therapy. Like when they hook you up to that fabulous e-stim and get your muscles tingling with the electrical zap being transmitted intra-bodily. Throw in one of those ultra-heated therapeutic warming pads and I’m sleeping like a baby in no time flat. But now the bum knee demands e-stim with ice, not such a stimulating event. Well, actually overly stimulating, as I sit there with my teeth chattering, watching my muscles jump involuntarily with the zap and counting the minutes till the torture is over.

Now, while all of this “kneecapping” (i.e. being cut off at the knees by physical limitations) is easily attributable to the lamentable deterioration of a body due to wear and tear (also known as aging, in layman’s terms), I fear that much of it is my own stupid fault: it’s thanks to me behaving as if I’m eighteen rather than not-quite-forty-eight. Refusing to accept that maybe kickboxing isn’t such a good idea at this point, for instance.

Although sometimes it’s due to other circumstances I should have controlled. Take, for instance, the Sam’s Club injuries. Who here hasn’t thrown out some bodily part while lugging an item far bigger than we need to purchase while shopping at Sam’s? Come to think of it, that’s how I originally threw my back out, years ago: hauling cases from shelf to cart, then cart to car, and finally car to home. Buying something in product-on-steroids volume that I don’t even need a case of, but only because it’s the only way you can purchase it for cheap: a gross of this, a palette of that and whammy, you’re wounded. The irony is that the cost savings of Sam’s Club acquisitions should go directly into the medical-insurance-physical-therapy fund, because guaranteed you’ll ultimately hurt something lugging that stuff around and need medical treatment for it, the cost of which will far exceed the ten percent you saved buying it there in the first place.

I’m convinced it’s no small coincidence that Sam’s Club sells bottles of Advil large enough to supply a small hospital for a month: most of their customers probably need the pills simply to ease the pain and inflammation from shopping-related physical damage. They might as well put Don’t Forget the Advil reminder poster at the exits, right by the little old folks who swipe those receipts with a highlighter marker to ensure no theft (God forbid the megalithic retail chain lose a buck or two along the way). I’m thinking the real theft is in Sam’s Club stealing my well-being away from me by forcing me to act in the capacity as a virtual longshoreman, hauling enormous cargo needlessly. Maybe Sam’s needs to contribute to my insurance bill at this point.

I remember as a child hearing my “elders” lament their age-related failings: the aches, the pains, the feet that hurt when rain was in the forecast. And I distinctly recall my smugly thinking at the time, “Well, if they’d only been more active and taken care of themselves they’d not be in this position.” Little did I know my cockiness would come back to bite me, dammit. More like chronically wound me. Trust me, I’m paying for it. And you know what they say about payback. Not only does it rhyme with witch, but it hurts like a rhymes-with-witch as well.

A little addendum to this: a day after my physical therapy appointment for my knee, my insurance informed me I had run out of allowable physical therapy appointments for the year. And so we limp along...

Please be sure to look me up at where you can link to my Twitter and Facebook pages as well!


  1. Jenny! Oh, girl, so much to relate to (and laugh about) in this post! I am so there, too, at the ripe old age of 46. Even being on deadline has me whining about my aching shoulders, stiff neck, and cramping fingers! Motrin is my drug of choice so if they sell humongous-sized bottles at Sam's, I need to go and wrap myself up one for Christmas! (And I do think Sam's should consider offering massages and/or PT in their stores if they want people to keep buying 40-packs of stuff.) Hope your bum knee feels better. Thanks for starting off my morning with a chuckle.

  2. It seems I'm always offering to kneecap people for other writers but now you've given new meaning to the term.

  3. Sorry about your health troubles, Jenny. I didn't know you had a new book out. I really like the cover.

  4. Right with ya! But Jesus girl you're looking good so keep limping along!

  5. Oh, Jenny, you make me laugh! My left knee has decided it has a voice of it's own and never lets me forget it, so I totally relate.

    What's with the new book?!?

  6. My knees are starting to hurt, now that you mention it. And my head aches. And my writing hand feels like it may be coming down with something. Is it too early for a nap?

  7. LOL you guys crack me up! Thank you so much for stopping by, especially because I am so lame I don't seem to do so myself (maybe, er, um, spending too much time rehabbing myself?!)
    Have a great weekend!

  8. Oy! Having just sprained my ankle yesterday a half-mile into an unpaved-trails run, I feel (a version of) your pain!

    The extra-large bottle of Motrin is on my shopping list today...

  9. Oh, Jenny! Thanks for your post...I can definitely relate to knee issues and injuries. My attempts at jogging caused a few problems (I always knew running was bad for me -- LOL) and it took a while for them to heal. Hope the aches ease for you soon, too ;).