My son and I like to roughhouse. We love playing football at the field at the end of our street, which lately always seems to turn into some sort of Braveheart battle scene. We play basketball. I go hiking in the woods with my dogs. We ride bikes, climb trees, wrestle. I’m pretty much his tackling dummy/stunt guy. Everything he wants to do, I’m game.
But… my back.
At forty-five, I guess I might need to slow down a bit. But I tweaked my back over the holidays (could’ve been the street hockey goal he got for Christmas). I never stopped doing what we do, until I couldn’t do what we do.
I gave it a day, then two. By day three it was still bad. I couldn’t walk or sleep, and my posture was crooked. My wife, a lady I watched give birth to a child without the help of any epidural or medicine at all, was hardly sympathetic to my whining. The next day I called the physical therapist.
My appointment was three days out, so by the time I walked up the street, feeling darn good about magical healing powers I might add, I was considering cancelling altogether.
I mean, this stuff was for old people, right? Ladies in walkers, old men with new hips, that sort of thing. I was only a bit sore, at least until I coughed and almost cried.
The therapist welcomed me in. We’ll call her Tara. Before I could tell her I thought it all might be a waste of time, Tara pointed out the way I was slumped to the side—which I totally thought I wasn’t doing.
She looked me over, and to my horror didn’t laugh me out. Didn’t tell me to go run off with the young bucks. Nope, she asked me to lie down. She looked me over. I kept on about how I was fine. Tara said she had to get “Jim” because he was a strong guy.
Odd, I remember thinking. Why would she need a strong guy?
Before I could think much more about it, Jim walked in. A barrel chested guy with broad shoulders and a penchant for rolling his neck, he looked me up and down holding back a smirk. He told me lie back and relax and grab the sides of the bed, as he began admiring my shoes. He straightened my legs out, as I sat back and laughed.
Oh, okay, I laughed, telling him all the silly stuff my son and I do together, I mean, you know how--WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU JUST DO TO ME?
Jim yanked my leg with the force one might use to start a lawn mower. Something clicked, and after my initial shock, I noticed and immediate difference. “That ought do it but maybe we should do one more,” he said, a wild look in his eyes.
I walked out with a second appointment. I was feeling like an old man. I mean, my back was significantly better but gone were those awesome days in my twenties when I’d hurt myself and wake up the next day good as new.
But I’m on the mend. Just no more hoisting my kid up on my shoulders. And I’m not ready to give up Braveheart football or street hockey or much of anything else. No way. I’m armed with new muscle activating techniques, some youtube stretches and strengthening exercises. I mean, as I’m writing this, I feel ready to go...
To my next appointment.