Nearly five months ago, I turned 60 years of age. I wrote about the event previously, noting that I really didn’t feel like a 60-year-old (without exactly knowing how a 60-year-old is supposed to feel, of course).
So far, it has not been smooth sailing.
Shortly after my birthday, a long-dormant medical condition returned with a vengeance, and it took more than a few visits to the clinics in Rice Lake and Marshfield to get it under control. Then came the knee replacement surgery, which was as challenging as I anticipated, although somewhat better than the procedure I’d undergone on the right knee in February 2012. This knee’s rehab went well, though, and as for the other issue, I was put on a new long-term medication near mid-January. A couple weeks later, some rather serious side-effects started manifesting themselves, causing me to miss work and reducing my writing time to almost nil.
Just as those symptoms began to clear up, I spent the evening of Feb. 14th at the Rice Lake High School gymnasium, broadcasting both ends of a girls/boys basketball doubleheader. I’d done DHs a few times in the past, but this time the pace was so quick that I was not able to as much as rise from my chair except when the National Anthem was played before both games. When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted by a sharp pain in my left hip.
I went to work but had to leave in mid-afternoon due to the pain. By evening, I was running a 103-degree fever and the pain in the hip was so intense I could not walk. Sue came home from a church meeting, prepared to rush me to the hospital, but by then the fever had subsided and we decided to tough it out at home. I missed the next two days of work, spending all of Friday morning in the clinic, trying to get everything figured out. The fever had abated by then and the pain had lessened, somewhat, but the best the doctor could come up with was a pinched nerve in the hip. The only cure was alternating rest with movement. He turned down my plea to at least give me a stick to bite on.
The sick leave days combined with the Presidents Day holiday to give me a five-day weekend, but it wasn’t an enjoyable one by any means. I had to bow out of a couple hockey broadcasts, and began to contemplate the possibility that my days as a free-lance radio broadcaster might be coming to an end. I had to miss another day on the 23rd when I drove to Marshfield to consult with the docs there, although I was able to do a basketball game on the air that night from Cameron, a small town just south of Rice Lake that has two of the area’s best boys and girls basketball programs.
The writer strikes back.
I wasn’t about to take this lying down, of course, even though sometimes that’s exactly what I had to do. I started working with my personal trainer on Feb. 22nd and he showed me some stretches and foam-roller exercises that brought near-immediate relief to the hip. I had a couple acupuncture sessions; my daughter Kim had purchased a package of sessions for me as a Christmas gift, and I used to them to great effect in speeding up my knee rehab. I am now a great believer in the value of acupuncture. By the first of March, things were looking up. By the next week, I was able to get in what I considered to be full sessions at the gym and the pool. As of this writing, the pain is minimal.
February wasn’t all bad. There was Valentine’s Day, which Sue and I celebrated the previous Saturday, the 11th, with a ballroom dance class at 4everFit. We joined more than a dozen other couples in learning the tango, and everybody had a fine time.
One unexpected but welcomed byproduct of all this is that I have lost weight, some 23 pounds since our trip to China last year. I am still about 35 pounds above my high school playing weight, but I was pretty skinny in those days. The weight I’m at right now feels just right, and Sue thinks so, too.
The middle of March is here. Although we got an inch or so of snow the other night, the winter has been relatively mild, at least by northwest Wisconsin standards. As this is published, I am in Madison, where last night I called the Cameron-Darlington game in the state Division 4 basketball semifinals. It was a notable broadcast in that it was my last. (More about that in days to come.) I did a lot of walking in downtown Madison yesterday, climbed a lot of stairs at the Kohl Center, and this morning I awakened a little stiff and sore. But a morning stretch got the blood running, as they say, and now the day can begin. And thanks to Jackie at Wildsong Wellness and Tony at 4everFit, not to mention my doc who got me on the right path with the hip pain—“Keep him moving,” he told Sue as I lay there on his examination table at the clinic on Feb. 17—I’ll be enjoying it (almost) pain-free.
Maybe being 60 won’t be so bad after all.