Sunday, March 27, 2011

Middle Age is a Bitch!

I have finally had to admit I am middle-aged. It isn't easy when you have been in adolescence for thirty years. I get hurt all the time for no reason. I find myself in doctors’ offices for a problem that I never even noticed before. It's like a hangover I don't deserve. Every time I turn around, there is another $2000 in bills. I have bruises without a clue as to where they come from. Cuts and scars appear on an hourly basis. I am afraid to move; I might get hurt.

My latest injury (?) was a rotator cuff injury. Technically doesn’t injury mean you did something to hurt something? Well I didn’t do anything. I was quietly living the “middle-aged housewife/ mother” nightmare, I mean, uh... dream. I noticed I was having trouble moving my arm that it did not go away. I tried to tell my doctor I had tennis elbow in my shoulder. He diagnosed it as rotator cuff injury. That means tennis elbow in your shoulder. He sent me to a sports medicine doctor. That's good, right? I get to play some game or something. I thought the new doc would give me some medicine to make me run faster and jump higher, or at least kill the pain. All I go was a shot in the arm, a very painful shot in the joint. I was not running nor jumping anywhere.

Like most of the other body parts and injuries, I have no idea what it is until I break it. Well I don’t know Jack Shit about medicine, but I know pain. A rotator cuff injury hurts like a sumbeech and the shoulder is painfully frozen in place. So, what I thought was a hurt arm because I “slept funny” has resulted in weeks of physical therapy, three times a week. My son thought it was cool because baseball pitchers get rotator cuff injuries. He thought I would meet some famous athletes like CJ Wilson, Cliff Lee or Colby Wells. Well, I didn’t. I ran into some grumpy middle-aged and old people, but a few especially lovely people.

It gets humorous when we would go into physical therapy and act as the others cheerleader or nemesis. Therapy became a competition on equipment once I got involved. I sat down at the hand bike (They named it, not me) and a nice lady was being seated beside me. She was new. I felt obligated being a familiar patient to make her feel welcome. Gina had the same problem. She was an athletic middle-aged woman of good spirit. I smiled and told her to watch Derek, her therapist, as he was sadistic. I waited for her to start and asked if she wanted to race. She said, “You’re on.” A friendship was born. My therapist cheered for me as Gina’s cheered for her. The whole group got involved. I burned 6 calories and got .2 mile. Gina had 5 calories and .1 mile. In Gina’s defense, I had been in therapy for a week and half already. They kept us together for competition. Gina was the reason I tried harder. I had to kick her ass. Physical therapy on Wednesday usually turned into lunch with Gina. We will remain friends.

There was an old geezer using a cane. He had an interesting face and a devilish smile. I once thought he rather enjoyed the pain of physical therapy. He smiled when he hurt. He had knee replacement surgery. He explained they cut his leg into twice during the surgery, and he had completed rehab. This was his last step. Well I grew fond of the old geezer, Carl (name changed to protect his privacy). We began to tell how we were injured when the therapists were away. I told him I was innocent and did nothing to cause my injury. Carl said he thought he knew what caused his bad knee. I unassumingly asked “What?” Well, I fell right into his trap. He was a riot. He wasn’t worried about jogging or walking again. Not my boy, Carl. It was the sex that bothered him most. He told me he thought the “constant stress” on his knees during sex wore one knee out. I worried about his wife. Seems he was married to a younger woman. He was 72 and had a 40 year-old wife. He could not have sex to his satisfaction, and it was wrecking his life. When I suggested he should have tried alternate positions, he rolled his eyes. He began explaining the Kama Sutra and tantric sex. I felt absolutely guilty listening to the old man talk about sex, but I listened. I listened to every word. I listened close. I did mention that I am a middle-aged housewife/mother, didn’t I? Finally, Carl was in his last days of physical therapy and almost ready to resume a normal sex life.

One day as my therapist was stretching my arm muscles, I shrieked in pain. Carl scolded him (I thought).

"Sweet Mother of God," he yelled, "you are killing her." I was feeling all warm and fuzzy because Carl came to my defense. I was wrong.

Next, he asked, "Does her husband pay you to do that? I have a twenty if you'll do it again." My pain vanished as we all laughed like hyenas.

Gina, Carl and I became quite a trio. We gave the therapists hell and they had to be nice to us. They would get fired. Carl tried to hire me to do his leg exercises. I agreed to do them for free if he would do my shoulder exercises. When they called for me to do my job, Carl went, and I politely took his place with his therapist. We refused to do the correct exercises and called the PT’s "sick, twisted, sadistic angels of mercy". Gina was laughing too hard to do any therapy. What should have taken 45 minutes to an hour became a two hour session of therapy. I get re-evaluated next week. I might graduate. Strange as it sounds, I am going to miss the little family we became for a few weeks.

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